Apr 9, 2012

Sears Island: Senator Thomas asks MDOT Commish for $4 million port dredging "matching funds"

The Maine  legislature's Transportation Committee met today to talk Port and Harbor money in their part of LD 1907 , the supplemental budget.  Listen to  Senator Douglas Thomas (5 minute MP3) trying to get MDOT deputy commissioner Bruce Van Note to rechannel  4 million dollars in the agency budget to be "matching funds" to qualify for $10 million federal dredging money "for Penobscot Bay". 

As he would freely admit, the  reason Senator Thomas cares about dredging in Penobscot Bay is because he  promotes  the wants of  containerport interests who have their greedy eyes on the wetlands-heavy west side of Sears Island. In the picture, he wants the area dredged in between the words Saltmarsh and Eelgrass.  (The dotted-line box is existing federal dredged area servicing Mack Point)

The deputy commissioner said under the new reorganizing of the port and harbor budget with a little budget juggling, but Thomas has to find the juggleables himself within the budget to pull the 4 million bucks together. Not much of a chance this late in the legislative session. "Help us find that money" he pleaded.

(Recording starts with the chair opening the meeting, then snipped straight to Senator Thomas' five minute discussion with deputy commish Van Note, which was originally 41 minutes into the worksession on LD 1907.

The committee also voted to allocate $10,000 to the Callahan Mine Cleanup fund - the continuing federal/state effort to deal  with one of Penobscot Bay's worst  pollution sites. 

1 comment:

Randall Parr said...

So it looks like the tourism economy is going to be hammered twice: once by poisoning our seafood with mercury and other toxins by dredging and again by increasing the lodging tax, meals tax, and general sales tax to pay for being poisoned.

Do the fishermen expect that tourists will love to eat poisoned lobster, clams, or fish?