Nov 30, 2010

Sears Island: State legislators to submit a container port bill for unprotected third of estuary island.

A Sears Island intertidal area threatened by proposed port.
According to a November 22, 2010 article "Thomas will introduce bill for Sears Island container port" by Mike Lange of the Somerset Valley Weekly,  Maine state senator-elect Douglas A. Thomas is, in his own words: "...submitting a bill in this session to build a container port on Sears Island,”. Thomas has yet to return phone or email requests for elaboration.

So it is not clear: Is he proposing renewed soliciting of potential port applicants - unlikely to prove different from the state's recent  unanswered global call for port applicants -  or if he is proposing that  a state owned port be built there using taxpayer funds?

Thomas is quoted in the SV  as saying "We've been fooling around with this for 30 years. We've already made an agreement to put 600 acres of the island into a permanent conservation easement. That leaves 340 acres to build a container port.”  (Those thirty years include  these federal lawsuits  and several citizen uprisings, including one against Angus King's woodchip port plan, and Governor Baldacci's Sears Island LNG port plan.


BACKSTORY
On January 13th and  on January 15,  2009, as state representative, Thomas and several other legislators made their opposition  clear   to the Legislature's Transportation Committee chairs about Maine DOT's Joint Use Plan for Sears Island and Governor Baldacci's  Executive Order 24/fy08 (pdf) authorizing it.


However, at those two meetings, then-Transportation Committee co-chair Senator Dennis Damon brushed aside Thomas and several other returning and new legislators on that Committee,  and on  January 18th, Damon shoved through  approval of the JUPC plan (15 minute mp3):

No reaction yet from Joint Use Plan signers Friends of Sears Island, Maine Sierra Club, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Coastal Mountain Land Trust, Island Institute and others who supported the dividing of the public-owned island into a perpetual easement to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust of two thirds of the island , and  a western third dedicated to the  "marine transportation ".

Senator Thomas?  Tell us about your Sears Island bill, please!

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