September 20, 2017
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St. Clair hopeful about Maine’s national monument after Interior secretary briefing

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN | BDN
Lucas St. Clair (from left), Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce President Gail Fanjoy and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listen to business owners during a breakfast.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke telephoned the leader of the effort to create Maine’s national monument after recommending to President Donald Trump that the land remain under federal control.

Zinke briefed Lucas St. Clair for about 10 minutes on Monday, St. Clair said. Zinke shared few details about the recommendations he gave Trump last week regarding Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and 26 other national monuments.

But Zinke did say that “he is confident the outcome will be something I will be happy about,” St. Clair said Tuesday.

“He mentioned that the White House will review it but that he is going to ensure that the conservational and recreational qualities of the monument will not be jeopardized. All and all I am really enthusiastic,” St. Clair added.

Trump ordered the review in April, saying he felt that previous administrations had used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make land grabs. He tasked Zinke with determining the legality of monument creations or expansions since 1996.

Sources briefed by Zinke said last week that his report advises Trump to keep keep the monument’s boundaries intact, while making “some changes on allowable uses.” Those new uses could include allowing demonstrations of historic logging practices, another source said. It’s not clear what Trump will do with Zinke’s recommendations.

The report has still not been released, but Zinke told St. Clair that it would be made public “soon,” St. Clair said. The Bangor Daily News on Thursday filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report with the Department of Interior.

St. Clair’s family donated the monument land, about 87,562 acres east of Baxter State Park, to the nation on Aug. 24, 2106.

The family has created a $20 million endowment for the monument that has funded about half of the monument’s nearly $500,000 in costs since its creation, monument Superintendent Tim Hudson said.

 


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