PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to retain a newly created national monument in northern Maine but he may recommend some changes.
Zinke told the Associated Press that he's not recommending removal of any of the 27 monuments that are under review but some could be changed. Details on any proposed changes weren't immediately available.
People in the Katahdin region reacted immediately. “I felt very strongly that he was going to come to that decision anyway,” said Marsha Donahue. She says she was relieved to hear Interior Secretary Zinke sided with the new national monument but says she still has her reservations.
While Donahue is still on the fence, others in town say they are pleased and happy the wait is over.
“I'm so over this whole ordeal,” said Jamie Renaud. Renaud and her husband own the Appalachian Trail cafe in downtown Millinocket. The two have always been proponents of the monument and the economic growth it could bring.
“We understand how communities that embrace outdoor recreation are successful and have had a hard time understanding why this community hasn't moved along a little faster.” Said Renaud.
His recommendation for the 87,500-acre (35,410-hectare) Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument came a year to the day that then-President Barack Obama formally announced the land designation.
President Donald Trump has accused previous administrations of turning a 1906 law that lets the president protect federal land into a "massive federal land grab."
In Maine, the monument run by the National Park Service is supported by a majority of Maine's congressional delegation but Republican Gov. Paul LePage is vehemently opposed.