The Katahdin monument is a great addition to Maine. LePage should stop fighting it.
We get it.
Gov. Paul LePage doesn’t like the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which President Barack Obama designated by executive order in August. But, it exists and is already drawing people to northern Maine and spurring local economic activity. It’s past time for the fight over this monument to end.
LePage, of course, is not ready to move on. He told a radio station on Thursday that he was traveling to Washington, D.C., in the next couple months to testify before a congressional committee about why the monument near Patten should be undone.
It is far from the first time he has called for its elimination. Last month, LePage sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to undo the monument designation “before economic damage occurs and traditional recreational pursuits are diminished.”
First, a president has never undone a monument designation, and it doesn’t appear that the president has this authority. Several attorneys general dating back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s have issued opinions finding that presidents lack the authority to abolish national monuments, according to a 2016 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Congress has the power to abolish national monuments, but has done so on only a couple of occasions. That’s because as national monuments, which often later become national parks, prove their economic benefits, local opponents become supporters.
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