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Texas and Louisiana File Challenge to Block Federal Regulation to Shorten Red Snapper Season

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Two states have filed a challenge to block a federal regulation that would shorten the fishing season for red snapper.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office have filed a legal challenge asking a federal district court to block a proposed federal rule that would shorten the red snapper recreational fishing season in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The states’ lawsuit alleges that the National Marine Fisheries Service is attempting to improperly use its emergency rulemaking authority to single out Texas and Louisiana since the states’ rules for fishing in state waters do not mirror the rules for the federal season.

Before the enactment of the emergency rule, Texas’ 2013 federal recreational red snapper fishing season was estimated to be between 22 to 27 days. The rule would reduce it to between zero and 12 days.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates this proposed rule could amount to a loss of as much as $1 million per day for each day that the red snapper fishing season is reduced.

“It is unacceptable that the federal government would abuse its power and claim an emergency exists simply to punish states like Texas and Louisiana because they have rules governing red snapper fishing in state waters that federal officials disagree with,” said Abbott.

“The federal government’s actions amount to a blatant attempt to force Texas and Louisiana to surrender their own regulatory authority and conform to federal regulations. Texas will not acquiesce,” Abbott continued.

The lawsuit also claims that the emergency rule is not based on scientific justification, but is “an attempt to impose the federal government’s will on states when federal bureaucrats disagree with state regulations.”

The states’ petition for review of the red snapper fishing rule is available here. 

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