Governor Paul R. LePage on Wednesday delivered remarks to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, which convened for a field hearing in Northern Maine. The hearing at the East Millinocket Town Office was held at the request of Maine’s 2nd District Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, focused on the proposed unilateral national monument designation in the North Woods by the President.
“It is through meetings like this, and not through rallies with bussed-in supporters, that those in Washington have a true opportunity to hear from those that would be affected by this proposed National Monument designation,” Governor LePage said. Governor LePage has stated his opposition of a National Park in Northern Maine and now a National Monument. The residents of East Millinocket, Medway and Patten have all voted strongly in opposition to federal control in the Katahdin region.
There is also opposition to this proposal on the state-level. In 2011, the Maine Legislature adopted a Joint Resolution opposed to the creation of a National Park and a feasibility study concerning a National Park. This year, the Legislature revisited this issue and enacted legislation, which the Governor proposed, withdrawing the State’s consent for exclusive federal jurisdiction over a National Monument in Maine.
In an effort to find compromise, the Governor has repeatedly said the State of Maine would accept this property to be included in the State’s public lands system. However, the Quimby family has spent millions of dollars on lobbying, focus groups and polling in an effort to convince the President this cutover woodlot is worthy of National Monument status.
Wednesday, Governor LePage urged members of the House Committee to seek reform to the Antiquities Act, which supports limiting abuses of the law.
“I am not aware of a better case study for Antiquities Act reform. It seems the law could be grounded by requiring some local or state-wide support or affirmation of a National Monument designation. The way the law stands now, however, there is really no check on the President’s power by those affected,” said the Governor.