Green groups targeting blue-collar lobsters are largely funded by black money
Environmental groups that have waged litigation targeting the lobster fishing industry have been heavily funded by various liberal black money groups that do not disclose their individual donors, a Fox News Digital review of tax filings has revealed.
The organizations – the Center for Biological Diversity, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and wildlife advocates – first filed a joint federal lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2018, arguing that a rule issued by the agency years earlier had failed to adequately protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from lobster fishing gear. In April 2020, a federal judge ruled in favor of the groups, ordering the NMFS to issue stricter restrictions.
“Right whales have been entangled and killed in lobster gear for far too long,” said Kristen Monsell, director of oceans program litigation at the Center for Biological Diversity, at the time. “This decision sends a clear signal that federal authorities must protect these desperately threatened animals from more painful and deadly entanglements before it’s too late.”
Following this decision, the Biden administration moved forward with new regulations on lobster fishing equipment in May 2021. The coalition of environmental groups then filed another lawsuit challenging the new rule and , in July 2022, again received a favorable judgment from a federal government. to research. CLF lead counsel Arica Fuller applauded the ruling, saying it made it clear that “fisheries managers must do more to protect” right whales.
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However, as a result of the litigation and tougher rules, Maine lawmakers and business leaders have argued that thousands of lobster fishing jobs are at risk. Updated NMFS restrictions stated that fixed-gear fisheries like the Maine lobster fishery must reduce their risk to whales by 98%. The first restrictions were rolled out in May and further restrictions are planned for December 2024 and 2030.
“Friendship, Maine, is the name of the town I grew up in and live in now and where all previous generations of my family have fished and mined,” Dustin Delano, a fourth-generation lobsterer, told FOX Business in December. “Basically the lobster industry is the backbone – it’s what everything was built around and it’s pretty much the only option we have here. Without her, I don’t think there would be much left.
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Overall, Maine’s lobster industry — which by state law is comprised entirely of small businesses — provides the United States with about 90 percent of the nation’s lobster supply, making industry one first economic engine in the state, and stimulating other related industries as well. In 2021, Maine’s lobster fishery generated $724.9 million in revenue, the highest amount in state history.
The three groups that have led litigation in favor of greater restrictions on the industry have a long history of accepting funding from left-wing groups with unknown wealthy donors, according to a Fox News Digital review of tax filings.
For example, the Center for Biological Diversity has received millions of dollars from left-wing black money groups, including the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Patagonia Fund, and Pew Charitable Trusts. The center has received grants worth nearly $8 million from the Sandler Foundation, $1 million from the Wilburforce Foundation, $850,000 from Environment Now and another $815,000 from the Frankel Family Foundation, according to Influence Watch.
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One of the first benefactors of the Center for Biological Diversity was the Wyss Foundation, an organization founded by Swiss liberal billionaire donor Hansjorg Wyss. The foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the group, and Wyss has pledged $10 million, The New York Times reported.
In the past decade alone, the group’s annual revenue, which is mostly made up of grants and contributions, has jumped more than 300% to $27.3 million.
The CLF, meanwhile, has received grants from the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Walton Family Foundation, and dozens of other foundations. The Boston-based group has also accepted money from companies and other organizations, including Facebook, the Schwab Charitable Fund and the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation.
In 2017, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave CWF $4.3 million.
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And the Defenders Of Wildlife received funding from the Wyss Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. In 2018, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation awarded the group a $4 million grant.
Additionally, Defenders of Wildlife received $1.3 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which earmarked the grants for projects protecting endangered species and pushing for a moratorium on offshore fossil fuel drilling.
The Center for Biological Diversity, CLF and Defenders of Wildlife did not respond to requests for comment.