Time for monument option?
Is it time for those of us who support a Katahdin Woods and Waters National Park to look at the national monument option? Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin have been reluctant to get behind this economic opportunity for the Katahdin region. Without their help introducing and shepherding legislation through Congress, Roxanne Quimby’s ruggedly beautiful landscape on the East Branch of the Penobscot River will never become the gift to the American people that it well deserves to be — especially with the anti-park sentiment in the northern Penobscot towns of East Millinocket, Medway and my hometown of Millinocket.
Our two senators and our representative could very well continue Hamlet-like to contemplate the effect their support for a park would have on their political careers well beyond the final act of the play. If that is the case, the economic benefits of Quimby’s great gift will surely pass us by.
Therefore, it is clear to this park supporter that the decisive action of the executive branch is now needed. With a stroke of the presidential pen, Katahdin Woods and Waters would assume national monument status, an important step toward national park designation. Some of our greatest parks have started out this way. Grand Canyon, Olympic and Acadia national parks are examples, as is Grand Teton National Park, which became a national monument after the congressional approach proved nonviable. It may turn out that one sympathetic president will be easier to deal with than three hesitant Congress members.
Paul Corrigan Jr.
LePage is dangerous
After many decades as a tourist, I moved to Maine because of its great natural beauty and the community’s stewardship of this legacy and resource. I am shocked at Gov. Paul LePage’s shortsighted and dangerous politicizing of funding for the balanced use and considered protection of Maine’s forests and farmlands — as evidenced in his refusal to access available federal funds and to release state bond funds for the Land for Maine’s Future program. Shortsighted in that LePage’s blackmailing, bullying and truculent obstructionism threatens Maine’s natural and thus financial future. Dangerous, in that by overriding voters he undermines our democratic process for all Mainers — independent, Democrat, Republican or nonvoting.
I am aware of the necessity for community participation to facilitate good government. But it was not until I moved here that I became familiar with how difficult it is for ordinary citizens, advocacy groups and even legislators to work with a belligerent and autocratic elected executive.
While I am shocked at LePage’s environmental policies, I am dismayed at the voter apathy and spoiler campaign that gave him a second term to implement them. I also would suggest those who gave candidate LePage a pass on his “amusing” style failed to understand it as an indication of his inability and unwillingness as an official to “work and play well with others.”
I realize that people are very busy and that “the system” is discouraging but, as evidenced by the continuing threat presented by LePage, and the bipartisan attempts of legislators to mitigate the damage, your vote can, for better or worse, make a difference.
Stop wind fast track
In 2008, many rural Mainers found their communities abruptly rezoned for industrial wind development without their knowledge or participation. This year, the Legislature passed a law creating a process that allows residents in the Unorganized Territories to remove themselves from the “expedited permitting area” where industrial wind development has been fast tracked. Unorganized Territories residents only have six months to take advantage of this opportunity. After June 2016, the opportunity will be gone.
If Unorganized Territories residents want to regain the ability to have a say in the development plans for their community, they must make use of this temporary avenue for removal from the expedited permitting area. Per Public Law 2015, Chapter 265, Unorganized Territories residents who are registered to vote in Maine may petition to remove from the expedited permitting area all or part of the community in which they are registered. Petitions must be filed on an official form developed by the Land Use Regulation Commission, signed by at least 10 percent of registered voters residing in that community that voted in the most recent gubernatorial election, and the Land Use Regulation Commission must receive them between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016.
For more information or to start this process, email Tim Beaucage at Timothy.Beaucage@maine.gov, call 287-4894, or send mail to 18 Elkins Lane, Harlow Building 4th floor, Augusta, ME 04333.
There’s no time to waste. If residents want to be involved in the future of their hometown, they must get involved now.
Karen Bessey Pease