Maine governor pushes back at feds on right whale protection

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills says a federal plan aimed at protecting endangered right whales represents an “absurd federal overreach” and she’s directing the state to come up with rules with a lesser impact on lobster fishermen.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered Maine to create a plan to reduce the number of trap lines that could entangle right whales.

But Mills wrote that Maine’s lobster industry is not the “primary problem” and that there’s a “disturbing lack of evidence” connecting the Maine lobster industry to recent right whale deaths. Six have died in recent weeks in Canadian waters.

Maine’s congressional delegation is backing the governor. The delegation said a “science-informed and equitable solution” is needed to protect the whales, which number about 400.

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