Governor pushes back at feds on protection for rare whales

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Janet Mills says a federal directive aimed at protecting endangered right whales represents an “absurd federal overreach.”

She says she’s telling the state to come up with its own proposal with a lesser impact on lobster fishermen.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants Maine to present a plan in September for reducing the lobster industry’s threat to right whales by 60 percent.

The plan would mean reducing by half the number of lobster trap lines that could entangle whales.

But the Democratic governor says that Maine’s lobster industry isn’t the “primary problem” and that bureaucrats shouldn’t undermine the industry with “foolish, unsupported, and ill-advised regulations.”

Maine’s congressional delegation, which supports Mills, says a “science-informed and equitable solution” is needed to protect the whales, which number around 400.

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