We are at risk of losing something very special: President Trump wants to reverse the hard-earned protections for two of New England’s natural jewels – the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Your voice is urgently needed, and will make a big difference. For just a few weeks, the Department of Interior is accepting messages from the public about national monuments.
Let the Department of Interior Secretary Zinke and your U.S. Senators know you want New England’s national monuments to remain protected for future generations to enjoy. The deadline is July 9 – please take action now!
Our country’s national monuments, both on land and at sea, help define who we are by telling the story of our historical, cultural, and natural heritage. In New England, we are proud to have the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine available to us as public lands and waters.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument contains four seamounts – extinct underwater volcanoes – as well as three canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Scientists have demonstrated it to be a hot spot for many species, from endangered whales and puffins at the surface, to fragile, slow-growing corals deep in the canyons and on the seamounts. Hundreds of thousands of people, many local businesses and organizations, and elected officials are in support of this monument.
Extensive public input led to the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument, including a year for people to provide input to the Department of Commerce through an online comment portal, public meetings attended by government officials, and extensive consultation with dozens of stakeholders, including the fishing industry. The Obama Administration listened to commercial fishermen and reduced the proposed boundaries to the minimum area required to sufficiently protect the scientifically important area, and even grandfathered in lobster and crab fishermen for many years.
The same is true of the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument, which underwent a yearlong public process and enjoys overwhelming support. In addition to the Maine Congressional delegation’s support for leaving the designation of Katahdin Woods & Waters intact, many of those who initially opposed the designation now support it.
Rolling back protections or shrinking the size of our monuments is sacrificing some of New England’s most special and vulnerable ocean and lands and would put our natural, cultural, and scientific resources at risk. It is the Interior Department’s obligation to support the protection and conservation our public lands and waters. Our current national monuments must remain protected for generations to come and for the benefit of all Americans.