Outline of key points on the NHA legislation. Quotes from the bill, time line summary of previous attempts at Federal control, and brief summary of National Park Service abuse elsewhere in Maine.
Angus King's legislation S3932 turns all of Washington and Hancock Counties into a National Heritage Area. King is chairman of the Senate National Parks Subcommittee and is streamlining passage, bypassing hearings and public knowledge.
Almost no one in the area affected knows anything about this. The content of the legislation has not been reported in news.
The only publicly visible lobbyist, Sunrise County Economic Council, paid as the spokesman, is telling people the NHA is only a source of money with no government control or acquisition.
S3992 (§5 & 6) mandates comprehensive planning and implementation of broad resource protection, i.e., land acquisition and control , with government agencies. It requires planning for National Park Service “protection’ threatening private property.
National Heritage Areas (NHAs) were begun in the 1980s as an alternative to traditional National Park Service (NPS) population displacement and direct acquisition of private property with eminent domain. The intent of NHAs was for regions with widespread local support for permanent large land preservation, or historical parks, not under NPS power.
In practice NHAs vary in accordance with their enabling legislation and politics driving it. Many are little more than pork, but NPS reassuring promotional slogans do not change what S3932 says.
S3932 Downeast NHA legislation differs in its
- Explicit Federal requirement for broad land “protection” across a large rural area: from Acadia to Canada.
- Lack of prohibition on using NHA Federal funding for acquisition
- Explicit broad requirement to plan for expanded role for National Park Service acquisition, the opposite of the stated intent of NHA
S3932 Plan Requirements
Planning is to be done by unelected non-profits, with National Park Service approval and coordinated by Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC), who lobbied to have themselves put in charge.
SCEC is relying on the 'expertise' of Maine Coast Heritage Trust (and other NPS supporters) with a history of secretly collaborating with NPS for control over private property in downeast Maine.
Plan must produce a comprehensive “inventory” of targets for “protection”, broadly described as “an inventory of the natural, historic, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources of the Heritage Area relating to the themes of the Heritage Area that should be preserved, restored, managed, developed”.
The NPS insider lobby already knows the main targets it wants “inventoried” but isn't publicly revealing them now.
Plan “shall include comprehensive policies, strategies, and recommendations for the conservation, funding, management, and development of the Heritage Area”
The Plan must “include an analysis of, and recommendations for, ways in which Federal, State, and local programs, may best be coordinated to further the purposes of this Act, including recommendations for the role of the National Park Service in the Heritage Area.”
NPS requires that “the resource protection and interpretation strategies contained in the management plan, if implemented, would adequately protect the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the Heritage Area”
National Park Service role in the “protection” to be planned for i.e. acquisition, requires becoming a new unit of the National Park System (a National Park with full Federal powers of NPS).
SCEC is put in a politically privileged, subsidized position as spokesman for the entire area, and is to be taken as an authoritative source of public reassurances, told what to say by NPS insider political pros (called “partners”).
SCEC is to be paid (§10) up to $10 million in Federal matching funds (then renewed/increased). Plan must be approved by NPS to get the money.
NPS is to “make recommendations for revision of the proposed management plan” and “The Secretary shall approve or disapprove a revised management plan”. [“Secretary” of the Interior means NPS.]
SCEC actions must “give priority to the implementation of actions, goals, and strategies set forth in the management plan, including assisting units of government and other persons in (A) carrying out programs and projects that recognize and protect important resource values in the Heritage Area.”
Goals for the local economy are restricted to preservationism: the NHA is to “encourage economic viability in the Heritage Area in accordance with the goals of the management plan”.
False protection of private property rights
S3932 reassurance of protection of private property rights against the powers in the bill itself is largely meaningless: “Nothing in this Act - (1) abridges the rights of any property owner (whether public or private), including the right to refrain from participating in any plan, project, program, or activity conducted within the Heritage Area...” (§8)
- Land use regulation is under state authority, so can't be in the Act, and the planning for NPS acquisition is not yet implemented in the Act.
- Property rights are regarded as only what is left after restrictions or acquisition under current and future law. Land use prohibitions and NPS eminent domain, and turning people into vulnerable inholders, are not acknowledged as violation of property rights.
- The national Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 already requires states to “protect” areas proclaimed to be nationally significant.
S3932 “Findings” (§2) poetically pandering to a version of local traditions (that omits rural independence and property rights) provides no legal protection against the “resource protection” mandates (§5&6).
The History: Previous attempts
The S3292 NHA is devised to become the kind of greenline/NPS park acquisition and control as envisioned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and the National Park Service in the late 1980s for the entire Quoddy region.
NPS and MCHT had no local support other than their pressure group activists. The NHA is devised to give the appearance of local initiation and support for NPS through SCEC, which has been told to say that there is no government involvement.
MCHT and NPS already know their main targets across the two counties, which are not being disclosed for the NHA legislation. They don't want people to know they are targeted.
- NPS and MCHT were already secretly processing two National Natural Landmarks (NNLs) to take over the entire Cutler-Lubec coast and Great Wass Island at Beals. They were stopped after it was discovered (and a four year battle). Sen. Mitchell shut it down following an Interior Inspector General report finding that NPS was using the Landmark “national significance” designation program, without even telling property owners, to violate rights of thousands of property owners nationwide.
- The MCHT/NPS National Landmark planning was also used by NPS and its Washington lobby (publicly led in Maine by Natural Resources Council of Maine) to try impose a National Park on most of Washington County beginning in 1988.
- MCHT and other pressure groups arranged for expansion of the Moosehorn Refuge in the 1990s under threat of eminent domain, with previous obstruction of LURC permits before the expansion was announced or approved. It attempted to include the Cutler-Lubec coast. The Cutler reserve, bought with out of state money arranged by MCHT, was planned and expected to go to the Moosehorn.
- The Northern Forests Lands Study (US Forest Service) beginning in 1987 sought to greenline 26 million acres from the downeast coast to the Adirondacks in NY, intended to include several new National Parks. Legislation in Congress continued to threaten through the 1990s.
- MCHT began buying (with out of state and Land for Maine Future LMF money) surrounding private property for as much as it could get of the Cutler-Lubec coast, and elsewhere, after the Federal plans failed. In 2008 MCHT told the State that it doesn't want any “residential islanding” in its “landscape level conservation”. Butler Conservation, Inc. has also been buying up land for “landscape level conservation” and giving money to MCHT and other activist groups.
Acadia, Appalachian Trail, Maine Woods
New Acadia National Park boundary legislation in 1982 and 1986 gave Federal condemnation power to NPS at Acadia for the first time. (State condemnation was used for some of the land at Acadia before transfer to NPS in 1916).
Land sold by Acadia inholders to land trusts, under threat of NPS condemnation if they used their land, was transferred to NPS by Roxanne Quimby in 2016, calling it a gift. Some passed through MCHT to Quimby.
NPS and its supporters lie about the eminent domain, NPS has twice unilaterally expanded the Congressionally-defined Acadia boundary on its own, and NPS tried to shut down the traditional clam flats.
NPS has relied on eminent domain the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia; averages 1/2 mile wide. NPS tried to remove Saddleback Ski Area in western Maine for over 20 years (until 2001).
NPS and Angus King are now expanding the 2016 National Monument in the Maine Woods by 50% towards an enormous National Park planned by the NPS lobby beginning in the 1980s. After 30 years of politics implementation is beginning as an expanding Federal park.
Last Update: 089/07/22