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Maine governor refuses to post road signs to new national monument

The newly created Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will continue to be anonymous to motorists in Maine. According to the Portland Herald Press, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the Maine Department of Transportation to delay installing signs on Interstate 95 and on local routes until the review of 27 national monuments ordered by President Donald Trump comes to a conclusion.

While a spokesperson for the governor said that it would be premature to install signs before the review finishes, some proponents of the newly minted national monument point to the governor’s support of President Trump as the real reason.

“It would be imprudent to spend taxpayer dollars on signage if we are unsure that it's moving forward,” Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot told the Portland Herald Press.

But the newspaper also points out that Gov. LePage has long opposed the creation of the national monument, which President Obama did in August 2016.

The Portland Herald Press also tells how LePage has called the area the national monument protects a “mosquito area,” questioning its importance and beauty. “To my knowledge, Governor LePage has never even set foot [here] and yet he insults our region by calling it a 'mosquito area'. The monument has brought new energy to our towns and helped unify the region,” local business owner Jon Ellis was quoted by The Guardian as telling the Associated Press.

Katahdin Woods and Waters was able to be made a national monument because of the generous purchase and donation of the land by Roxanne Quimby, the Burt’s Bees founder. Her son Lucas St. Clair also sees the possible destruction of what his mother tried to do as a poor move by the governor.

“It’s one of the most irresponsible things he could do for the region," St. Clair told The Guardian. “To place signs to show the way to the national monument is a simple thing. It could even be [done with] private money. But he has refused to allow that to happen. It’s a sophomoric and petty way to behave.”

The public comment period on the review of these 27 national monuments is open until May 28. Comments may be submitted online at regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the search bar and clicking “Search” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.

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