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PNS Weekend Newscast - July 22nd, 2017 


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Last Day for Mainers to Comment on National Monuments Review

An early review of thousands of comments shows Maine residents overwhelmingly support maintaining the status of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. (TR Kelley/Wikimedia Commons)
An early review of thousands of comments shows Maine residents overwhelmingly support maintaining the status of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. (TR Kelley/Wikimedia Commons)
July 10, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Monday is the last day for the public to comment on the future of Maine's Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and 25 other national monuments that are under review by the U.S. Interior Department.

Mainers don't need to wait to learn the outcome, however, because the numbers already show overwhelming support for keeping the Katahdin Woods monument as is. Pete Didisheim, advocacy director with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said his group has reviewed all the comments by Maine residents filed up until the July 4 holiday.

"192,000 comments have been submitted; and 99.96 percent of them support the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument," Didisheim said. "They don't want this monument taken away."

He added that there were only 67 comments filed so far in opposition to the monument.

Maine Governor Paul LePage remains a vocal opponent of the monument, which was designated by President Obama. LePage said local stakeholders didn't get enough say in the designation process.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered the review of about two dozen monuments to examine whether they were designated with enough public input and to reconsider their size. Didisheim said Maine's is the only monument under 100,000 acres that is under review - primarily because of the governor's efforts.

"LePage pushed to have our monument added to the list, using that assertion that there hadn't been sufficient public outreach," Didisheim said. "If anything this public comment period is demonstrating the public feels like they were involved, and they're strongly supportive."

To date, more than 1 million comments have been filed nationwide. They are being taken until midnight Monday night, as part of the national monuments review process, online at regulations.gov.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME