Obama creates new national monument in
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[August 25, 2016]
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama on Wednesday designated 87,500 acres in Maine's North Woods as a
national monument, as the administration prepares to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the National Park Service.
The new monument includes mountains, forests, and the East Branch of the
Penobscot River and will serve as a protected area. The White House said
the designation was completed in honor of the centennial anniversary of
the Park Service, which will be officially observed on Thursday.
"The President is quite proud that this piece of beautiful land in the
United States will be protected for generations to come," White House
spokesman Josh Earnest said at a press briefing.
The monument was donated to the federal government by conservation
philanthropist Roxanne Quimby's foundation. Quimby co-founded natural
care product company Burt's Bees.
Obama has protected more than 265 million acres of public lands and
waters during his time in office, more than any other president in
But, Republican lawmakers have criticized his use of executive authority
to set aside land as national monuments. They argue he has circumvented
Congress and local groups, who should have more say in the process.
Rob Bishop, the Republican chairman of the House natural resources
committee, blasted the establishment of the Maine monument.
"The only votes taken on this proposal, at the local and state level,
have demonstrated opposition from Mainers," Bishop said in a statement.
"If the president cared about local voices and improving our National
Park system, he would have done this through the public process and not
behind closed doors."
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President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn of the White House
upon his return to Washington, U.S. after visiting flood damage area
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Critics of the monument argue the designation could open the door to
more federal restrictions on use of the land and eventually threaten
neighboring logging operations.
The White House defended the decision to protect the area in Maine.
"The administration worked very closely with the officials in Maine,
both to reach this determination and to make sure that the concerns that
were raised by Mainers in the area were addressed," Earnest said.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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