At Rep. Poliquin’s Request, House Committee Will Hold Hearing on His and Rep. Pingree’s Bill to Resolve Boundary Issues and Harvesting Disputes at Acadia
WASHINGTON – At the urgency of Congressman Bruce Poliquin, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on his and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s legislation to make important revisions to boundary policies at Acadia National Park (ANP) and to resolve recent disputes between local harvesters and the National Park Service (NPS) in and around the park. First introduced in January, Poliquin and Pingree recently introduced an amended bill after receiving feedback from local community members, Friends of Acadia, the National Park Service, and other stakeholders. Senators King and Collins have introduced an identical bill in the Senate.
“This bipartisan and bicameral legislation is a comprehensive solution in resolving boundary and traditional harvesting issues at Acadia, and I am extremely pleased the Natural Resources Committee has answered my request for a hearing and to move this bill forward in Congress, "said Congressman Poliquin. “In the past months and years, I’ve made sure to hear from, meet with, and understand the perspectives of groups on all sides and of all different interests in these discussions—from holding a roundtable discussion with local wormers and clammers last summer in Ellsworth to meeting or talking directly with Acadia National Park officials and local town officials. This comprehensive legislation has received input from all stakeholders and I am pleased to work with the entire Congressional delegation on this.”
“I am pleased that a hearing on this legislation has been scheduled so that we can soon reach a resolution that supports the needs of residents and those who make their living harvesting on the flats near the park,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “I am grateful to Mainers who have provided input on this legislation and especially for the clammers and wormers who’ve shared their stories about this issue. I am thankful for Rep. Poliquin’s leadership on this issue and am glad to join him working toward a solution.”
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m.
In September, Congressman Poliquin called on the Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on the bill.
In 2015, ANP was deeded more than 1,400 acres on the Schoodic Peninsula by an anonymous donor. This was a welcome gift from the local towns and communities. It was only after the land was transferred to ANP that the NPS informed the public that the legal authority they used for the transfer came from a 1929 law that many in the Bar Harbor area believed had been repealed in 1986, after successful efforts to pass a law that set boundary limits on the park. The boundary law was crafted due to growing concerns about the size of the park and its impact on the tax base.
The local towns and residents were extremely concerned when they learned that ANP relied on the 1929 law for the Schoodic transfer because it could potentially set precedent for the NPS to use it again. Residents contacted the Maine Congressional delegation to express their concern and request for a repeal of the 1929 law, while at the same time keeping the Schoodic land transfer.
In August 2016, Congressman Poliquin hosted a roundtable in Ellsworth with local clammers and wormers to learn about the challenges their industry is facing and to commit to protecting traditional access to Maine’s waters and woods, including the harvesting of marine resources.