BREAKING: Poliquin Requests Meeting with White House on Potential National Monument Designation

BREAKING: Poliquin Requests Meeting with White House on Potential National Monument Designation

Congressman Poliquin sends letter to White House emphasizing the importance of hearing from local residents, local employers and local stake holders

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Maine’s Second District Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, sent a letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Managing Director Christy Goldfuss requesting a meeting to discuss the White House’s potential unilateral designation of nearly 100,000 acres in the Katahdin region as a national monument. CEQ is the office within the White House that makes recommendations to the President about national monument designations.

 

In his letter to the White House, Congressman Poliquin writes:

 

“I am requesting this meeting because I fear that the voices of the local residents— my constituents— are not being heard at the White House, leaving only the current land owners and their Washington lobbyists the opportunity to make their case for a national monument designation in Maine’s Katahdin region.

 

“You may be aware that Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and I sent a letter to President Obama on November 20, 2015 urging him against designating a national monument in Maine. Recognizing that the President has the legal authority to unilaterally bypass the legislative process, our letter urged the President to incorporate nine conditions to any monument designation on the land in question if he should choose to sidestep the Congressional process and act alone.

 

“Of the nine conditions we outlined in our letter, we asked the President to consider selecting the U.S. Forest Service as the agency to oversee any monument designation of this land. It came as a surprise that the Director of the National Park Service responded on behalf of the President more than two months after we sent our original letter.

 

“It is important for the White House to hear from the local residents, employers, and stake holders on this issue.  Just this past summer, two of the local towns overwhelming voted to oppose a national park in the region– the Town of Medway voted 71% opposed, and the Town of East Millinocket voted 76% opposed.   These landslide votes in opposition are especially noteworthy when considering that special interest groups in support of a national park—and now a national monument—engineered a massive and expensive campaign to drive up support.”

 

Earlier this month, Congressman Poliquin, along with Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, received a response to their letter to President Obama on the prospect of a national monument designation in the Northern Maine region.  The President’s response came from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.

 

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The following is the full text of Congressman Poliquin’s letter to the White House:

 

February 25, 2016

 

Ms. Christy Goldfuss

Managing Director

White House Council on Environmental Quality

722 Jackson Place NW,

Washington, D.C. 20506

 

Dear Ms. Goldfuss,

 

I respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss the White House’s potential designation of nearly 100,000 acres in the district I proudly represent in the United States House of Representatives, Maine’s Second Congressional District.

 

I am requesting this meeting because I fear that the voices of the local residents— my constituents— are not being heard at the White House, leaving only the current land owners and their Washington lobbyists the opportunity to make their case for a national monument designation in Maine’s Katahdin region.

 

You may be aware that Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and I sent a letter to President Obama on November 20, 2015 urging him against designating a national monument in Maine.

Recognizing that the President has the legal authority to unilaterally bypass the legislative process, our letter urged the President to incorporate nine conditions to any monument designation on the land in question if he should choose to sidestep the Congressional process and act alone.

 

The President did not respond to our letter, but instead I received a letter on his behalf from National Park Director John Jarvis earlier this month.

 

Of the nine conditions we outlined in our letter, we asked the President to consider selecting the U.S. Forest Service as the agency to oversee any monument designation of this land. It came as a surprise that the Director of the National Park Service responded on behalf of the President more than two months after we sent our original letter.

 

It is important for the White House to hear from the local residents, employers, and stake holders on this issue.  Just this past summer, two of the local towns overwhelming voted to oppose a national park in the region– the Town of Medway voted 71% opposed, and the Town of East Millinocket voted 76% opposed.   These landslide votes in opposition are especially noteworthy when considering that special interest groups in support of a national park—and now a national monument— engineered a massive and expensive campaign to drive up support.

 

Immediately following the vote, the park proponents and their lobbyists emphasized that voter turnout was low and thus not an accurate reflection of the local residents, but that is incorrect.  36% of eligible voters participated in these two nonbinding referendums. This is a significantly high turnout when compared to a 2013 referendum on other issues when less than 22% of eligible voters in East Millinocket and Medway participated.

 

Additionally, the park proponents and their Washington lobbyists have focused largely on a statewide telephone poll that shows 60% of Mainers support their national park proposal.  What the park proponents fail to disclose is that they paid for that poll without any consultation from our Office or the Senate Offices and that the questions asked did not include very important facts, including that much of the proposed land is owned by other private land owners who do not wish to sell.  Further, this poll asked about a proposed national park, not a unilateral national monument designation.

 

I know the President’s Administration has been accused of governing only by polls, rather than in the best interest of the American people. I hope you dissuade me, and others, of the notion that the White House is not simply governing by polls and you will eliminate any weight placed on any unverified private poll which was not conducted by or on behalf of the U.S. Government.  The two official votes in Medway and East Millinocket reflect the voices of those who actually live in the Katahdin region and should be given great weight.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration of my meeting request.  My scheduler, Carmen Fuentes, can be reached at (202)225-6306 or carmen.fuentes@mail.house.gov.  I will make myself available at your convenience so that we can discuss this important matter that would have long lasting effects on my constituents in Maine’s Second Congressional District.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bruce Poliquin

Member of Congress

 

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Click HERE to see a PDF version of Congressman Poliquin’s letter to the White House.

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