AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage sent two letters Friday - one to President Barack Obama and another to the congressional delegation - regarding separate proposals for National Monuments affecting Mainers.
In the letter to President Obama, Governor LePage expresses disapproval of a proposal to designate areas within the Gulf of Maine as a National Maritime Monument. The President has authority to establish National Monuments under the Antiquities Act.
This specific proposal would designate Cashes Ledge and undersea canyons and seamounts in the Gulf of Maine as a National Maritime Monument. This major change would negatively affect Maine fishermen from a variety of fishing sectors, including offshore lobstermen, tuna fishermen, herring fishermen and groundfish fishermen.
"Maine's economy is heavily dependent on natural resources-based industries and these types of designations harm working Mainers the most," wrote Governor LePage. "These National Maritime Monuments serve only one purpose - excluding commercial fishing activity from certain segments of the ocean."
The President has not provided a timeline for potential designation. In his letter, Governor LePage requests information regarding the timing. In a separate letter to the congressional delegation, Governor LePage reiterates his concerns regarding the President's authority under the Antiquities Act and access to Maine's natural resources.
"I am hearing more and more that National Park proponents are considering seeking a National Monument designation after their proposal was defeated at the polls in Medway and East Millinocket," wrote Governor LePage. "A National Monument designation makes Maine timber off limits to the forest products industry. As you all know, so much of Maine's economy relies on access to our natural resources. The President's authority under the Antiquities Act puts Mainers at risk by making these natural resources off limits."
Governor LePage urges the congressional delegation to resist both National Monument proposals. He also would like the delegation to take initiative to reform the Antiquities Act. The Governor says Maine's natural resource-based economy cannot afford to allow the President to continue to retain this unfettered power.