Please join me in asking Maine’s senators and representatives to oppose the Republican Party’s latest attack on the national monuments that past presidents have gifted to U.S. citizens.

President Trump’s order to review the last 20 years of actions taken under the Antiquities Act is yet another block in the wall his administration is building between those who would profit by exploiting federal lands, and the majority of Americans who say they want public lands and national monuments and parks protected for future generations’ use and enjoyment.

President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, then created 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon, and preserved over 1 million acres that U.S. citizens and visitors from abroad will benefit from in perpetuity. Several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman, also took the time to review and preserve other natural treasures for future generations.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. President George W. Bush preserved 140,000 square miles in the Hawaiian Islands. President Barack Obama acted to preserve Maine’s own Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada.

As National Geographic observed in December, “Never heard of Bears Ears? You may be missing one of the western U.S.’s most scenic places. A desert landscape of raw beauty and immeasurable cultural value in Utah, the area known as Bears Ears has received designation as a national monument by President Obama.”

National monuments are owned by all, for the enjoyment of all, rather than leased by the federal government to the highest bidders – generally those who would dig, drill, extract and pollute.

For ourselves, our children and future generations, let your politicians know that national monuments are one of the perks of being a citizen in this great country, and we want more, not fewer.

Robert H. Hamblen