President Donald Trump will order a review of national monument designations, presumably including the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, on Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage will fly to Washington, D.C. to testify Tuesday before a House Committee on Natural Resources subcommittee in opposition to national monument designations created by presidential executive orders, the governor confirmed Monday during a press conference in Augusta.
“The Legislature in Maine said [it] didn’t want a national park or monument and he [Obama] went ahead and did it anyway,” LePage said Monday.
His preference, the governor said, would be for Trump to hire people from Baxter State Park to manage the monument lands, describing the 87,563-acre parcel as cutaway forest land.
“There is nothing that’s going to happen [with the monument],” LePage said.
Meanwhile, a senior White House official not authorized to speak publicly told the Utah-based Tribune newspaper on Sunday that Trump will order a review by the federal Department of the Interior of national monuments created by presidential executive order within the past 21 years to discern whether their size and scope are within the law’s intent. President Barack Obama signed an executive order creating the Katahdin Woods 87,563-acre monument east of Baxter State Park on Aug. 24, 2016.
Several of Obama’s orders creating monuments have come under fire from conservatives, including Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who say they were established through unilateral federal government edict, without state or local approval.
Trump’s order is not expected to change monument designations immediately, according to the Tribune.
LePage will testify on the Katahdin monument before the
Leading monument proponent Lucas St. Clair has said that the deeds involved in the transfer of his family’s land to the National Park Service would prohibit the transfer of the land to another entity.
A gift to the nation from St. Clair’s mother, Burt’s Bees entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, Katahdin Woods drew opposition from many Maine Republicans, including LePage, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, and some of the towns around the monument.
Since the designation, however, Katahdin region leaders have said they accept the monument and have vowed to work with park service leaders on it — perhaps an implicit nod to Katahdin Woods’ officials saying that the monument has lured new visitors to the economically-battered region. Monument officials said in November that 1,762 vehicles were counted on the main road in for the year, including 1,215 after Obama issued the executive order in August.
The yearly vehicle count exceeded the individual 2010 census estimates of the populations of East Millinocket, 1,723 people; Medway, 1,349; Patten, 1,017; Sherman, 848; and Mount Chase, 201 people.
Collins, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents southern Maine, said in February that LePage was wrong to ask President Donald Trump to reverse an executive order that created the monument and return the land to private ownership or state management.
Experts have said it is unclear whether a president can rescind an executive order creating a monument, but Congress can.