Second District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s legislative push to limit President Obama’s authority to designate national monuments does nothing to address the Katahdin region’s downward spiral.

As he knows, no president would sign such a bill, and the Supreme Court has negated similar efforts in the past.

It would be more constructive for Rep. Poliquin and the rest of the congressional delegation to factually assess how the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Park proposal can benefit the Katahdin region and Maine as a whole, because it can’t possibly hurt.

Rep. Poliquin is also incorrect in asserting nobody knows how many jobs would be created or lost with a national park designation. In fact, a study reviewed by the state’s top economists predicts that 450 to 1,000 jobs would be created.

Maine is losing hundreds of jobs a month in forest products work because of mill closures. How many state and federal dollars have already been spent to bolster the Katahdin region’s economy – with these results? The national park proposal provides actual private-sector dollars – not more unsustainable taxpayer handouts.

Lamenting the good old days isn’t productive, nor is waiting for hypothetical investment from a forest products industry that is setting Maine communities adrift. We need to act now to ensure thriving, rural communities that can afford to educate the next American generation. Anything less, to satisfy a political minority or a shrinking industry, is irresponsible.

The congressional delegation’s inaction in the face of overwhelming support, from across Maine, does nothing more than pit neighbor against neighbor, Republican against Democrat.

Grandstanding legislation aside, Rep. Poliquin has done nothing to introduce or welcome an alternative plan. Rather, he and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King seem to be relying on steadfast opposition to a concrete proposal that’s brought economic prosperity to every other location where a national park has been created.

Anita Mueller