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Editorial: Monument review a monumental mistake
Editorial: Monument review a monumental mistake
April 26 marks the one-year anniversary of the executive order signed by President Donald Trump, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to review the status of more than two-dozen of our sacred national monuments.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s review last year led to the slashing of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (more than half its land was taken away) and the near eradication of Bears Ears National Monument (just 15 percent of its original area remains). The fate of at least eight other national monuments remains uncertain.

Two months earlier, Maine Gov. Paul LePage had lobbied Trump to undo the designation of Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument as part of the review.

“I think it was a horrible, horrible decision and it should be reversed if it can,” LePage said.

LePage traveled to Washington to testify against the Katahdin monument while urging Congress to change the law to block future monument designations without state and local approval.

Despite LePage’s efforts, Zinke did not recommend scuttling Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, though he hinted that logging should be allowed. That would set an extremely bad national precedent, which would be challenged in court.

LePage did not succeed in getting Trump to kill the Maine monument. Feeling heavy pressure from business interests that were being hurt, he also had to relent this week and reverse his ban on road signs leading visitors to the monument.

However, as a consolation prize he did get invited to a dinner party at the White House this week with French President Emmanuel Macron. LePage took his daughter, Lauren, who is a political operative working to elect Shawn Moody as Maine’s next governor, to the black tie affair.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration wrecking crew continues to sell off our public lands for irresponsible development and to undermine our nation’s environmental laws and rules. In Maine, Lame Duck LePage continues to wage war against conservation in his final months in office. In the long term, both Trump and LePage will fail, but the damage they do along the way will take generations to repair. History is likely to assess their misguided leadership on conservation and environmental issues as a monumental mistake.

Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2018 (Archive on Thursday, May 17, 2018)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre
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