STATEWIDE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is one of 22 being reviewed by the Secretary of Interior -- in this case, the review will determine whether the designation was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.
But how will that be figured out? NEWS CENTER's Samantha York looked into it and found the unprecedented review of the Katahdin Woods and Waters should take about four-months. Its a process that is unclear to many people.
A statement released last week by the Department of the Interior says the Secretary will look at the 7 criteria and make sure the monuments line up with the Antiquities Act's requirements and original objectives. It also states that both Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump "strongly believe local input is a critical component of federal land management".
That's where you come in -- the Department says they want to hear your voice. Beginning May 12th you can visit http://www.regulations.govr and enter DOI-2017-0002 to express your opinion. You'll have 60 days to do so.
However, it was not stated how the public's input will affect the final decision or what happens to the land if the Secretary decides against the designation. Something Lucas St. Clair, President of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters group questions.
"Do they give it back to us, do they sell it off to the highest bidder, do they turn it into an industrial forest, do they turn it into a fish and wildlife refuge? I think there's a lot of legal components to this that this administration has not thought through" St. Clair said.
Governor LePage has been very vocal in his opposition about the monument since the beginning -- we reached out for his input and he said he was pleased with the decision and that "Ignoring strong and vocal opposition from the Governor, the Legislature and the people who live in the area certainly fits the criteria for review".
The Department estimates the entire process shouldn't take more than 120 days -- which means it could be a few months before this matter gets settled for good.
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