The son of Burt’s Bees entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby said he will defend Maine’s new national monument when he testifies before Congress next week.
Lucas St. Clair said he welcomed the chance to tell a House Committee on Natural Resources subcommittee about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. He will speak on May 2, as will Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who opposes the monument, committee press secretary Molly Block said.
Committee majority members believe the Obama administration stretched the meaning of the Antiquities Act of 1906 by creating or expanding 27 of the nation’s 86 national monuments or other forms of federally-managed land, Block said.
Some of the monuments, particularly those in Utah, have been massive, Block said, adding that it goes against the intent of the act.
“The intent of the law is fair and just,” Block said Tuesday. “If an antiquity needs to be protected, it should be protected, but it should have the smallest footprint possible and there should be local participation in the decision.”
The hearing might be a sign that Congress is considering scaling back the Antiquities Act. Several bills with that goal, including one from U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, have been introduced.
St. Clair said he doesn’t believe the president overreached, and called the consequences of the creation of Maine’s monument “incredibly positive.”
“Businesses are expanding and reinvesting in themselves,” he said. “Philanthropy dollars are coming in that have never come in before. It’s all very exciting.”
A half-dozen businesses have expanded in East Millinocket and Patten since President Barack Obama signed an executive order creating the monument on Aug. 24, 2016, he said.
LePage has said the monument designation came despite opposition from him, the state Legislature and several towns around the monument: 87,563 acres located east of Baxter State Park. LePage has claimed that the act requires presidents to get state approval, but the word “state” doesn’t appear in the law except in the context of “the United States.”