Mar 26, 2009

Sears Island litigant calls MDOT's response to suit "encouraging".

Legal actions continue in Maine Superior Court over State's Sears Island Partition Plan.

Rockland. A man suing the Maine Department of Transportation's over its January partitioning of Sears Island into port and conservation easement zones today called the response filed by MDOT's hired private lawyers on March 23rd "encouraging."

"MaineDOT violated the Maine Sensible Transportation Act (STPA) by planning an enormous and enormously destructive container port project, said plaintiff Ron Huber of Rockland, "without taking a single look at the ecological and health consequences of doing so." Huber sued MaineDOT in February (pdf)

"I find their argument - essentially that a containerport is not officially a transportation facility, and thus the Sensible Transportation Act doesn't apply, to be encouraging in its lameness, as it shows the agency has no real defense to the charges I have brought against it."

The state has filed a motion to dismiss Huber's lawsuit, a motion to consolidate his suit with two similar lawsuits and a motion to avoid having to divulge state documents related to the easement.

It is not surprising, Huber said, that MDOT's response to the lawsuit spends so little time defending its actions and so much on challenging his legal standing. "They've got no excuses. Along with the STPA, Commissioner Cole violated Maine's Site Location of Development Act and the Maine Constitution. All he can hope for is that somehow the judge won't allow the case to be heard. But my case and my legal standing to bring it are rock solid, so that's not going to happen."

Huber also said it is very significant that Maine's Attorney General has declined to represent MDOT in the lawsuit.

"MDOT has been hung out to dry," Huber said. "When former MDEP Commissioner Dawn Gallagher got caught having illegal dealings with a polluting company, she too was forced to seek outside counsel for herself and her agency. The blatancy of the lawbreaking here by Maine DOT Commissioner Cole must have been too much for Attorney General Mills to stomach."

"Let's put it this way: the AG's office isn't even on the court's cc list about this case. This is completely unheard of when an agency is in court over violations of state laws and the Maine Constitution."

Huber said he will file his responses to MDOT's filings over the next three weeks..

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