WASHINGTON, D.C—U.S. Senator Susan Collins released the following statement today in response to the President’s designation of the North Woods and Waters National Monument:
“While I recognize that the President has the legal authority to designate national monuments, I believe he should not have used his executive authority given the objection lodged by the Maine Legislature, the lack of consensus among Mainers who live in the area, and the absence of Congressional approval. Bypassing Congress and taking this action without the support of the state and the local communities circumvented discussions of alternatives such as the creation of a national recreation area or management by the Forest Service—proposals that might have had broader support than the President unilaterally designating a national monument.
“This monument designation gives rise to a host of questions ranging from simple logistical matters to fundamental questions such as what will the impact be on taxpayers and whether the National Park Service, with its nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog, can afford to manage this new federal acquisition. While the Quimby family's promise of a $40 million endowment is generous, it is difficult to see how that amount can possibly cover the startup and ongoing costs of the monument area.
“These questions and many more will have to be addressed over the months and years ahead. This is typical of designations under the Antiquities Act, and is one of the reasons I have twice voted to express my concern with this unchecked presidential authority.
“It is essential that this new monument supplement economic development efforts in the region and not be an impediment to the productivity and recreational enjoyment of our privately owned, multi-use working forests. Last November, I joined with Senator King and Congressman Poliquin in a letter to the President articulating significant concerns about this proposal and listing several important items for the administration to consider. These conditions remain critical for protecting future economic activities in the Katahdin Region.
“I am committed to working with all the stakeholders – including the forest products industry, landowners, recreational users, and, most important, the Mainers who live in the Katahdin region – to chart a better economic future for this area.”