Thursday February 17, 2011 | 05:10 PM

The talk in Washington these days largely has been about proposed cuts in federal spending, but a Maine environmental advocacy group is lauding President Obama for attempting to increase funding for national parks.

A beneficiary of Obama’s proposed 2012 budget request to spend $900 million on the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund could be Acadia National Park, says Environment Maine.
The group notes that Acadia’s incalculable natural value is recognized by the Obama administration’s recently released America’s Great Outdoors report. Among the places administration officials visited while researching the report was Bangor, where they heard from Mainers about Acadia.
“We are thrilled to see the administration taking interest in protecting the places Americans care about most,” said Nathaniel Meyer, Field Associate with Environment Maine, in a statement.” “After all, one of the most prominent is here in Maine.”
Meyer says the land and water fund is almost never “fully funded” at the level of $900 million, with lawmakers often diverting offshore oil and gas royalties that are supposed to go into the fund for other purposes. The Obama administration’s proposed budget seeks that “fully funded” level, he says, adding that the House GOP-proposed budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year would cut back the fund nationally to $59 million.
If Obama succeeds in obtaining more money for the fund next year, among the potential benefits for Acadia could be $1.75 million to help buy 37 acres of private, undeveloped land around the Lower Hadlock Pond, Meyer said.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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