Collins, Poliquin oppose Obama’s unilateral designation of North Woods and Waters National Monument

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) voiced opposition on Wednesday to President Barack Obama’s designation of the North Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.

Collins and Poliquin both previously expressed reservations about the president’s unilateral decision to designate a national monument in the state and urged him to listen to local voices on the matter.

“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,” Collins said. “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.”

The designation raises questions from simple logistical matters to more complex questions about what the implications will be for taxpayers amid the National Park Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog, Collins added.

“These questions and many more will have to be addressed over the months and years ahead,” Collins said. “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.”

The new national monument must supplement economic development measures in the region and not become “an impediment” to productivity and recreational enjoyment of the region, Collins added.

Poliquin said that despite his opposition to the president’s unilateral action, he would continue to work with everyone involved to “move this project forward in the right way” to build a stronger economy and create higher paying jobs.

“All public officials must do everything humanly possible to help ensure local input as to how this new federal land will be managed,” Poliquin said. “Our local job creators — not Washington bureaucrats — know best how to use our working forests and provide proper access for industries to create more jobs including those in the outdoor recreation businesses, like snowmobiling, hunting, rafting, camping and so on.”

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