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Collins Pushes Commerce Department To Negotiate With Canada On Regulations To Protect Right Whales

Susan Collins
Sarah Silbiger
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Washington.

During an Appropriations Committee hearing on the Commerce Department, Maine Senator Susan Collins urged federal officials to negotiate with the Canadian government over its rules aimed at the protection of endangered right whales.

Collins says there has not been a single injury or right whale death caused by Maine’s lobster industry since 2002, but there have been seven fatalities in Canadian waters since 2017. Collins says the Commerce Department should do more to negotiate with Canada so its regulations match those Of Maine.

"Maine lobstermen and women have a long-standing commitment not only to protecting the sustainability also of lobster, but to protect the right whale,” Collins says.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo assured Collins that she will raise the issue with her Canadian counterpart, particularly since 5,000 small businesses in Maine are at risk from proposed federal rules designed to preserve right whales.

“It’s really unfair that the lobster industry in Maine is at risk of having to endure burdensome, perhaps unworkable, new regulations when they simply are not the problem,” Collins says.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.