Jun 12, 2014

FOPB joins renewed call for Searsport MEGA dredge EIS

Citizens tell Feds: Prepare an environmental impact study and smarten up dredge plan before risking New England's top lobster ground - to benefit two foreign oil interests!

PENOBSCOT BAY.  Plans for expansion dredging of Searsport Harbor came under fresh fire today, as a bay area land trust and other opponents of the project renewed their call for the US Army Corps of Engineers and Maine Department of Transportation to perform an  Environmental Impact Study on the controversial project before further action is taken.

Islesboro Island Trust today released a report by prominent consulting firm Dawson and Associates that notes that the agencies have not considered less damaging alternatives, nor considered the impact to bay fisheries of the release of large quantitities of methylmercury into Penobscot Bay water column.

The Dawson report suggests maintenance dredging the entry to 35 feet rather than 45, and instead and deepening the layover berths next to the piers to 45 feet.  The report says  

"97% of projected shipping benefits identified by the Corps in their proposal would be achieved using this alternative, the report says, "but would require substantially less dredging than the Corps’ proposal."

Ron Huber, executive director of Friends of Penobscot Bay lauded the report.

"Our state and federal governments need to take the concerns of Penobscot Bay area citizens seriously." Huber said.  "This project could radically change the lives of people who fish Penobscot Bay. And those who beachcomb, swim and sail it. "

FOPB's concerns are the same as other dredge critics"
the mega-dredge could bring mercury, then methylmercury resuspension, reduce primary production by bay seaweeds and microalgae by turning the water nearly opaque for up to a year, & could stimulate increased coastal industrial growth in the upper Penobscot Bay estuary.   
"With the river dams coming down, this estuary needs more protection, not less"   he said.   "As more and more seafood species come up Penobscot Bay and down Penobscot River, this estuary, as the transition crossroad for them, must be kept ecologically sound." 

For more information about the Dawson report contact Steve Miller, Islesboro Island Trust 207-734-6907iitsmill@gmail.com

End

"Friends of Penobscot Bay: People who care about Maine's Biggest Bay."

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