Healey to sue feds over ownership of submerged lands off Monomoy

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – It appears Massachusetts is headed for a legal showdown with the federal government over ownership of submerged lands off Monomoy in Nantucket Sound.

The federal government in March finalized a plan for Monomoy in which is claimed to own and control the 3,599 acres of land above the low water line that are part of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge as well as an additional 4,005 acres of submerged land and the open waters in Nantucket that are not part of the refuge area, according to Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office on Tuesday announced its intent to challenge the matter in court.

Healey’s office has notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it intends to sue the federal government to confirm the state’s ownership of the submerged lands.

The federal actions threaten the state’s management of the submerged lands and the related fisheries, which Healey says has been in place throughout Monomoy’s 72 years of existence.

“I’m very happy that the Attorney General is moving forward to defend the state’s interest in the waters west of Monomoy Island,” said Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) said in a statement. “It is unconscionable to me that the federal Fish and Wildlife Agency, with the mere swipe of the pen, can usurp state and local interest in this area.”