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A group of herring fishermen may put a hook in the Biden administration's power

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Jan 15, 2024, 4:02:19 AMJan 15
CAPE MAY, N.J. – Even far out on the open water, where Bill Bright
navigates his 140-foot fishing trawler in search of the Atlantic herring
that school below the surface, the federal government always feels
startlingly within reach.

Bright and other captains alert regulators before they push off. A
reporting system pings the boat's location throughout the day. And
sometimes Bright must bring a government mandated federal observer on
board whose job is to collect data about the catch and ensure the rules
are followed.

Bright doesn't mind those regulations. But he and his fellow fishermen are
adamantly opposed to a 2020 federal rule that requires them to pay the
salary of the observers they bring aboard – adding $700 a day to their

A yearslong legal battle between four family owned fishing companies and
the Department of Commerce over that rule will be debated at the Supreme
Court on Wednesday. One of the most important cases of the current term,
its resolution could spillover into other industries, significantly
weakening the ability of federal agencies to regulate the environment,
workplace conditions, food safety and other areas of American life.

Curbing agency power has been a decadeslong project of the conservative
legal movement. The government, its proponents say, wields too much power
to approve regulations with little or no input from Congress.

But for Bright, the case isn’t about some ideological crusade. Instead, he
said, it’s personal.

“I understand that this is a big political thing," said Bright, who has
been working in the seafood industry for 40 years. "But this is not
politics to me. This is about what's right. This is about what's right for
our fishery.”

Putting Biden on the hook
Federal courts – including the Supreme Court – have been clamping down on
attempts by federal agencies to make regulations without approval from
Congress for years. When President Joe Biden's administration attempted to
extend an eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was
rebuffed by the courts in 2021. When he tried to wipe out student loans
for millions of Americans, the Supreme Court knocked that idea down, too.

At the center of the dispute over the herring observers is a question of
how much deference courts must give to government agencies when they
approve regulations that aren’t specifically authorized in the law. Since
a landmark 1984 Supreme Court decision, courts have deferred to agencies
as long as their interpretation of a law is “reasonable.”

Lower courts interpreted a 1976 law related to the National Marine
Fisheries Service as permission to make companies pay for government
observers. That law gave the agency the power to impose regulations that
are ''necessary and appropriate'' to manage species. This law and
regulations were crafted to prevent overfishing.

Bright and his colleagues argue the law doesn’t say anything specifically
about charging the fishing industry for the observers. They are asking
the Supreme Court to end - or at least pare back - the deference courts
give to agencies in that situation. If the justices adopt the approach, it
will affect industries far beyond fishing.

“This case is not just about a few fishermen and a monitor,'' said William
Buzbee, a Georgetown Law professor who specializes in environmental and
administrative law. ''This case is a vehicle to maybe recast the way our
government works from top to bottom ... discrimination, food safety,
pollution, the ability to have safe fish - the ability to find fish - all
of these things will be affected by this court's ruling.”

In its briefing, the Biden administration has noted that the government
stopped the program last year. It warned of a “convulsive shock to the
legal system” if deference to agencies is overturned.

A trophy catch for conservatives
The debate over agency deference is often framed in partisan terms, with
conservatives seeking to reduce the power of the “administrative state.”
Ironically, deference was created in a case that cut back on regulations –
and it was applauded by conservatives at the time. In Chevron v. Natural
Resources Defense Council, decided in 1984, the court allowed the Reagan
administration to weaken clean air regulations.

But more recently, conservatives have argued the decision gave too much
leeway to agencies and not enough to the courts, which are charged under
the Constitution with interpreting laws.

"They began to say, 'This isn’t helping us. This is hurting us," said
David Doniger, the Natural Resources Defense Council attorney who argued
the 1984 case before the court – and lost.

Rather than overturning the 1984 decision, the Supreme Court could say
judges have to spend more time determining if a law is clear in the first
place. But if the justices rule agencies get no deference, Doniger said,
judges could impose personal policy preferences on rules governing air and
water pollution, food and drug safety, financial regulations and more.

“And if you get conservative judges in Texas going one way and then
liberal judges in California going another way, you're going to have
chaotic legal interpretations of the same or similar issues,” he said. The
Supreme Court will hear two cases involving the fishermen Wednesday: Loper
Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce.

Netting a win at the Supreme Court?
Bright and others in the seafood industry say they’re not opposed to
federal rules meant to ensure a healthy population of fish. After all,
their livelihoods depend on the sustainability of the herring, most of
which is shipped for use as bait in New England lobster pots.

“My grandfather got up every morning and he went fishing with no net
sizes, no mesh sizes, no quotas, no restrictions - he just went fishing,”
said Wayne Reichle, president of Lund’s Fisheries and the owner of two the
boats involved in the case.

Today, Reichle said, the industry has learned to live with an era of
regulation that’s changed all that.

“So the idea that we're out overfishing or wanting to overfish is the
furthest thing from the truth,” he said. “I can't stress enough how
important it is for us to have healthy oceans and healthy fish stocks.”

But, Bright said, there’s also the bottom line he needs to consider each
trip. He spends thousands of dollars on fuel every day. The boats and nets
and gear need maintenance. And sometimes he spends days at sea without any
income at all. Catching fish is never guaranteed.

“Every day you're out there, there's a high cost,” Bright said.

The challenges the industry is facing – the weather, the cost and the
rules – often seem at the top of Bright’s mind.

So, too, is the chance for success.

“Even now, when you have all these odds against you, when you come back
from a trip (with) fish there is not a better feeling,” he said. “It's
been for 40 years, and it’s still thrilling.”


Jan 17, 2024, 1:16:51 AMJan 17
useapen wrote:

> Bright doesn't mind those regulations. But he and his fellow fishermen are
> adamantly opposed to a 2020 federal rule that requires them to pay the

Who was president in 2020???


Jan 17, 2024, 12:29:45 PMJan 17
If they did not cheat so much, monitors would not be needed. So, the
industry needs to realize part of the cost of business.

Governor Swill

Jan 17, 2024, 7:18:48 PMJan 17
Fair enough.

The moon landing was real, Bigfoot does not
roam the northern forests and the 2020 election was not rigged.

GO TRUMP! Go farther! Farther! I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!

Heroyam slava! Glory to the Heroes!

Sláva Ukrajíni! Glory to Ukraine!

Putin tse prezervatyv! Putin is a condom!

Go here to donate to Ukrainian relief.


Jan 18, 2024, 12:11:43 PMJan 18
Governor Swill <> wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Jan 2024 17:29:43 -0000 (UTC), Bill <> wrote:
>> Gronk <inva...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>>> useapen wrote:
>>>> Bright doesn't mind those regulations. But he and his fellow fishermen are
>>>> adamantly opposed to a 2020 federal rule that requires them to pay the
>>> Who was president in 2020???
>> If they did not cheat so much, monitors would not be needed. So, the
>> industry needs to realize part of the cost of business.
> Fair enough.
> Swill

Hi, Harry. Still stiffing creditors?

Governor Swill

Jan 18, 2024, 8:50:19 PMJan 18
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