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Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance, Inc. v. Rhode Island Dep't of Envtl. Management

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20244
Nos. No. 08-2390, (1st Cir., 10/23/2009)

The First Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing a case challenging the constitutionality of regulations promulgated by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management imposing restrictions on lobster fishing in state waters. A fishermen's association initially brought the case in state court. But because the agency thought that it was obliged to adopt federal retroactive control dates in composing the regulatory scheme, it removed the case to the federal district court. The court denied the association's motion to remand and then granted summary judgment in favor of the state agency. The district court had jurisdiction over the action and did not err in denying the plaintiffs' motion to remand. There is an embedded federal question; answering it is necessary to a resolution of the asserted state-law cause of action; that question is both actually disputed and substantial; and deciding it in a federal forum will not tilt any congressionally approved balance of federal and state judicial power. As for the merits, the court agrees with the district court's reasoning and uphold its merits ruling for substantially the reasons set forth in that opinion.