LUBEC — U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree say the federal government will allow a boat launch ramp at a state park to stay open despite the shutdown but Gov. Paul LePage says it's still not officially open.
“The State has not received notification from the Obama Administration indicating that Edmunds Boat Launch is open," LePage says in a prepared statement.
Michaud and Pingree said in a statement Thursday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service won't prohibit the public from accessing the launch at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge for the remainder of the shutdown.
LePage said federal officials placed barricades to block the entrance to the Edmunds boat launch Tuesday. The governor's statement said the barricades were still up Wednesday afternoon.
“It appears that after my administration raised this issue on behalf of local fisherman, Congressman Michaud has announced federal agents will stop enforcing their barricade. There has been no official announcement that fishermen will not face legal ramifications if they cross this barricade," LePage said in a statement. "Mr. Michaud is not the President and he does not direct this federal department. The questions are then: why is Mr. Michaud announcing policy and why did it take my announcement of a visit for him to take action?”
"I am calling on the Administration to ensure local working fishermen have access to this critical boat ramp. It is a lifeline for local working fishermen and it is a disgrace that the federal government is interfering with that,” LePage said.
LePage is planning to travel to the state park in eastern Maine on Thursday.
“While not enforcing the closure is a welcomed decision, it is nonetheless a temporary fix, and Congress must vote to immediately end the shutdown and reopen vital facilities like this across the state and the nation,” Sen. Angus King wrote in a prepared statement.
The boat launch is part of the state park but accesses Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. All national wildlife refuges are closed to activities, including hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, boating, and conservation education.
Federal Government Refuses to Allow Maine?s Cobscook Bay State Park to Reopen, http://t.co/8sICp3iqx1— Maine.gov News (@mainegov_news) October 15, 2013
— Mike Michaud (@RepMikeMichaud) October 16, 2013