May 18, 2015

Grimmel: Recent state and consultant documents approving their Mack Point steel scrap export operation plan.

We made inquiry of DEP for the chief  paperwork that must have been shared even if  only in digital formats - a trend that MDEP  encourages as paper use reducer.

DEP included the following staff  in the email conversation
"Kuhns, Mick" <>, "Kavanah, Brian W <> "Reynolds, Scott" <>,
"Wood, Jana" <>, "Wood, Gregg" <>,
"Ladd, David" <>

Jana Wood was tapped to answer FOPB's request . Here are the  four critical documents she supplied:

4/17/215 Notice of Intent to Comply w/ Maine Multisector General Permit 1 pg
4/17/215 GeoInsight  Storrmwater Pollution Prevention Plan cover letter (1 pg)
4/17/215 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan  55 pgs
4/28/15 Stormwater permit authorization by David Kuhns, Maine DEP 2 pgs 

Here is Wood's explanatory text accompanying those documents:

"The record consists of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prepared and submitted by Geoinsight consultants for Grimmel, application for Notice of Intent and MDEP acknowledgment letter to confirm permit coverage. 

"The permit for Grimmel was issued under the guidance of Alex Rosenberg, Region 1 EPA and include EPA rules for Sampling the stormwater for additional parameters that currently the Maine MSGP does not require, see page 17 and 18 of the SWPPP.  I have asked the consultant to convey the request to Grimmel that I want to be involved and inspect the site as scrap metal being delivered to the site for shipping.  The typical inspection program that we conduct is annual to bi-annual but in this case with so many eyes on Grimmel, I plan to conduct inspections more often to keep a close watch on the activity and stormwater recordkeeping required by the permit. 

Jana Wood
Industrial Stormwater Inspector
EMRO, 106 Hogan Road
Bangor, Maine 04401

May 17, 2015

Grimmel scrap metal export dock application approved for Mack Point

From Waldo Villagesoup/Belfast Republican Journal

Grimmel scrap metal application approved

EPA concludes 'mercury not a concern in this application'
Photo by: Jordan BaileyGrimmel Industries was granted approval to operate a junkyard -- stockpiles of scrap metal -- on leased property at Mack Point by Searsport Planning Board May 11.
SEARSPORT — Final approval for a scrap metal storage operation at Mack Point was given May 11.
Planning Board members unanimously voted to approve the application by Grimmel Industries LLC following a brief public hearing, during which residents voiced concerns about mercury as well as air and water quality.
Grimmel submitted a letter to the Planning Board April 29 with documents requested by the board, including best management practices by Sprague Energy Corp., on whose property Grimmel will operate.
Attorney Brian Rayback, speaking on behalf of Grimmel, said the company chose to abide by tougher federal standards in regard to its SWIP, or Solid Waste Implementation Plan. He told board members the Department of Environmental Protection granted Grimmel its own stormwater permit.
“This approval only applies to the discharge of stormwater,” he said. “We are not seeking to discharge anything else into the water.”
Rayback said there was a discussion about metals dropping into the water and the company has designed new “curtains” to prevent transfer of metals from contaminating bodies of water. A magnet is also used to clean up the water in the case of any loose metal, which is valuable to the company, he said.
Residents wondered why the DEP did not have a public hearing before issuing Grimmel's permit; Rayback clarified a hearing is optional but the agency is always open to accepting comments on proposals.
“It's inherent in the nature of that that it's a quick turnaround time,” he said. “We worked closely with the DEP because we knew this would be under scrutiny.”
Resident Ann Crimaudo said she had a letter from the federal Environmental Protection Agency stating a hearing would certainly take place before a permit was issued. She said she understood the board could not do anything about the lack of a hearing but wanted the EPA letter included in the record.
Ron Huber of Rockland, executive director Friends of Penobscot Bay, encouraged the Planning Board to consider strict monitoring of the operation. Steve Tanguay shared his concern staffing levels at the local and state level are too low to adequately monitor contamination levels.
Rayback noted neither EPA nor DEP guidelines include monitoring for mercury levels, an area of concern repeatedly brought up by residents.
“EPA concluded that mercury is not a pollutant of concern in this application,” he said. “… It's a very difficult thing to monitor for and we agree. … The DEP general permit says you don't have to monitor for mercury or any other metals if you're a scrap metal dealer. … We are confident we can meet the standards.”
Rayback later said the company does not plan to monitor or test for mercury.
“If Grimmel isn't doing anything harmful, they don't have anything to worry about,” Selectman Meredith Ares said.
Rayback said he has little knowledge of the mercury testing process or its associated costs.
“It's not as simple as setting the baseline and imagining it as a constant level,” he said.
Sprague Environmental Compliance Manager Jason Littlefield said the EPA believes acid rain is to blame for random shifts in mercury levels.
“It takes years to come up with some sort of baseline,” he said. “ … It's a difficult pollutant to come up with a source.”
Rayback discouraged the board from attempting to create monitoring guidelines on its own.
“We don't have anything to hide; we don't think we are the source of it,” he said. “I'm worried about setting up a testing program that's scientifically defensible.”
While the application received conditional approval in February, the board voted again on the conditional items — unanimously agreeing the conditions had been met — and also, upon the advice of town attorney Bill Kelly, on the application as a whole.

May 16, 2015

Maine DEP proposes going paperless with applications appeals and petitions Pub hearing May 21st Augusta.

Going digital?  DEP holds public hearing May 21, 2015, Augusta Civic Center on whether or not to "eliminate the requirement to submit an original paper document within five working days of an electronic submission.

This would be a change to DEP's  Chapter 2 Rules Concerning the processing of Applications and Other Administrative Matters 

The great Libraries of the past are for most part, no more. The insights, observation and wisdom  of ages, stored on cellulose & parchment  are long since gone up in flame, accidental or intentional.  

Maine DEP proposes to reduce  the amount of such potential tinder in its offices.  
Here's the detailed fact sheet and the draft rule with the proposed changes marked in .  If you take part in reviewing agency decisions on behalf of Nature of the People, you should take a look at these two documents and act accordingly
 Fact Sheet (PDF) :: Draft Rule (PDF)
Concise Summary:
The proposed amendments to Chapter 2 will facilitate the electronic submission of applications, appeals and petitions, and eliminate the requirement to submit an original paper document within five working days of an electronic submission.
Since initially posting this rule to public comment, the Department has identified additional changes to Chapter 2 that will help to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. 

The Department is now proposing to clarify the transfer of ownership provisions in this rule to allow for a more complete assessment of both the financial and technical capacity of a prospective licensee, before any license for a hazardous waste facility, solid waste disposal facility, waste oil facility, and biomedical waste facility license is transferred.

Public Hearing
Since the Department received at least five requests that a public hearing be held on this proposal, pursuant to 5 M.R.S.A. §8052(1), the Department is scheduling a public hearing to be held on May 21, 2015.

Agency contact:
Jeff Crawford
17 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
Public hearing: May 21, 2015
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, Maine 04330

Public noticed: February 19, 2015
Comment deadline: June 1, 2015

May 14, 2015

Gassing Rockland? City officials respond to Freedom of Access request on handling of the cogeneration plant proposal

Rockland city government officials have released the following documents relating to a proposed gas power-ed cogeneration plant. to Friends of Penobscot Bay.  
UPDATED 5/15/15 Received by Friends of Penobscot Bay May 13, 2015

Latest: Rockland Code Enforcement Officer John Root's response to FOPB's May 11, 2015 FOAA request. (22 page pdf)

Ciity Manager's response via City Atty to FOPB's 5/11/15 FOAA Request
Full 275 page pdf file click here
File broken into smaller sections for ease of reading
Part 3. 26 pages
Part 4. 27 pages
Part 5. 20 pages
Part 6. 25 pages
Part 7. 29 pages
Part 8. 23 pages
Part 9. 20 pages
Part 10. 33 pages
Part 11. 23 pages
Part 12. 19 pages to end.

Apr 30, 2015

Rockland rejects Big Gas April 29, 2015

On April 29, 2015 Rockland City Council listened to the people of the city from all walks of life and rejected a proposal to grant  an option for a Boston energy company  to buy and demolish City Hall and town  public services buildings and  build a large natural gas burning cogeneration plant.

Full public speaking part of the meeting  44minute mp3

Separate speakers at  the meeting 
Speaker 1 Ron Huber Friends of Penobscot Bay 
Speaker 2 Joe P__? 48sec2
Speaker 3 Jessie Watson 1 min
Speaker 4 David Myslabodski 3min12sec
Speaker 5 Amy Files 2min30sec
Speaker 6 Sandra Schramm 3min 59sec
Speaker_7 Catherine Foghill 2min
Speaker_8 Wilkinson-Green 2min 6sec    
Speaker_9 Brian Fuller 2min 31sec
Speaker_10   Eric Herbert 3min 11 sec.
Councilor Clayton Williams
 casts the deciding No vote

Speaker_11 Charlie Jordan 57sec 
Speaker_12 Susan Paige 2 min 33sec 
Speaker_13  Brooks Winner, Island Institute 3min 13sec
Speaker_14 Terry Woodland 54drc
Speaker_15 Debby Atwell 
Speaker_16 Louis F___ 2min 9sec
Speaker_17 Maggie Trout 67sec
Speaker_18 James York 1 min 55sec  

The Bangor Daily News wrote
"The vote came after more than a dozen residents urged councilors to reject the agreement, citing concerns about environmental safety." Bangor Daily News story 

Island Institute rep supporting 
Big Gas & dismissing "Nimbys" 
at 4/29/15 Rockland City
 Council special meeting.
The Island Institute's representative (right )spoke in favor of "continuing the conversation" with the Boston gas company. He regrettably also tried to make NIMBY actions (NOT IN MY BAY) as an undesirable thing. There was no disclosure of the 'Tute's decade-long relationship with the windpower division of  the gasser wannabee, Energy Management Inc .

Apr 9, 2015

Maine Ocean Acidification Bill:legislative committee debates bill, "tables" it indefinitely.

On April 8, 2014, the Maine Legislature's Marine Resources Committee held a work session on   LD 493 Act to create the Ocean Acidification Council. A great deal of discussion on whether the government or the academic/NGO communities should host the Council led to a motion for "ought not to pass", but  then a motion to "table" the bill was raised and passed, suspends the motion on ONTP

Pt 0. Introduction by committee analyst Craig Nale 11min25sec
Pt 1. Rep Devin leads discussion 3min 18sec
Pt 2. DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher. 2min 40sec
Pt 3. Rep Pierce, Keliher, Rep Devin  6min 25sec
Pt 4.  Devin, Kumiega, analyst, Boone, Keliher  5min27sec 
Pt 5. Rep Pierce, Rep Battle, Devin. 6min 48sec
Pt 6. Rep McCrae Rep Sawicki 2min 15sec
Pt 7. Rep Sawicki, Commissioner, Kumiega, Pierce_moves_ontp. Blume moves_to_table_end. 7min 45sec

March 11 public hearing on LD 493 audio 
 March11, 2015 public hearing on LD 493

LD 493 OA Council Bill 
Written Testimony 2/11/15, 
17 items
Aho, PatriciaDEP
Bartovics, Becky LaytonSierra Club
Burt, AnneMaine Council of Churches
Devin, MichaelMaine State Legislature
Edwards, JaneWinslow
Gilbert, DeirdreDepartment of Marine Resources
Gray, JennMaine Audubon
Mook, WilliamMook Sea Farm
Nelson, RichardFriendship
Noyes-Hull, GretchenUniversity of Maine Augusta
Ramsdell, CathyFriends of Casco Bay
Rixon, WilliamFreeport Town Council
Smith, NancyGrowsmart Maine
Strause, AubreyMaine Water Environment Association
Thompson, SandyFreeport
Wheeler, RogerFriends of Sebago Lake
White, MeredithBigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Mar 18, 2015

Penobscot Bay Data Sources: Federal and State




EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online website

EPA Facility Registry Service 

A complete search and order tool for aerial photos, elevation data and satellite products distributed by the USGS.

USGS Satellite 
Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis)
Browser-friendly Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 4/5 TM, Landsat 1-5  and more data sets



Maine Department of Environmental Protection GIS Data

Maine NPDES permit list and links 

Maine DEP Maps and data

Maine DEP GIS forest cover & impervious surface cover



ME OGIS Map Server 

Maine orthoimagery viewer 

Maine DOT mapviewer

Beginning with Habitat  viewer   

Maine Dept of Conservation  

Scenic Resources data
* Searsport, Stockton Springs, Castine. AND Islesboro, Vinalhaven, North Haven and Associated Offshore Islands