Dec 13, 2005

Gulf of Maine: The Way (marine) Life Ought to Be

Get smart on Fisheries. Learn how abundant the fishes living in Maine rivers, bays and offshore were before the twentieth century's mechanized fisheries and pollution laid them waste.

How? Read more than 100 remarkable reports published by late 19th century researchers working for the Smithsonian and the U.S Fish Commission, as they explored and documented the fishing grounds off New England, the Maritimes, and Atlantic Canada, and the salmon rivers of Maine. And the fisherfolk who harvested them.

Nov 3, 2005

Sears Island - Maine DOT, Sierra Club, Islesboro Trust plans for island future?

The Waldo Independent. November 2 2005
DOT island plan blasted. By Peter Taber

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) once more stands accused of operating in bad faith with respect to the largest uninhabited and undeveloped publicly owned island on the East Coast.

This week environmentalists and neighbors who want to save Sears Island from intensive commercial and industrial development said they plan to take their concerns about the DOT's activities to Gov. John Baldacci. They said they'll remind him in an open letter of the assurances they said he gave them last year that all interested parties would be fully included in planning for the future of the island. Full story Click Here

Oct 20, 2005

Sears Island - economist, scientists discuss possible futures.

ARE THERE COSTS TO NOT PROTECTING SEARS ISLAND? A Symposium, to be held November 5th, 2005 from 9am to 4:30pm at the Troy A. Howard Middle School, in Belfast, is cosponsored by Penobscot Bay Alliance, Islesboro Island Trust and the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Keynote address “The Nature of Resources and the Resources of Nature: an ecological economic framework for managing the Sears Island ecosystem, by Professor Jon Erickson, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

Local and regional scientists and fisheries experts, Ted Ames of Downeast Groundfish Initiative, Brian Beals, Curtis Bohlen, Lobster Conservancy's Diane Cowan, and Charles Curtin will examine Sears Island and Penobscot Bay in light of this economic perspective.

$15. pre-registration. Includes Lunch and a reception
For more information or to register call Leanne Krudner at 761-5616 or send an email to web site information available

Sears Island is the largest undeveloped island in Penobscot Bay, the largest unprotected island on the East Coast and it provides five miles of coastal access for the public. The island comprises a myriad of habitats including beaches and rocky shores, softwood and hardwood forests, fern meadows, grassy meadows, salt marshes, ponds and freshwater wetlands. Such a diverse tapestry encompasses a wide variety of species not usually seen within the same zone. On a daily basis the island hosts multiple opportunities for recreation, such as walking, swimming, kayaking, bird watching, fishing, and picnicking.

Oct 19, 2005

Developers planning Big Box sprawl on Rte 1, Thomaston

Get involved! Developers are planning major Big Box projects on Route 1 in Thomaston (possibly a Super Wal-Mart.) A group of citizens is working to impose stricter size-limits in town, to try to keep the Box-wannabes out.
Anyone willing to get involved and/or wanting to be on
the e-mail list should contact Daryl Hahn

Oct 11, 2005

Oct 9, 2005

FMC 's stinking waste: Rockland's problem?

Reports have serious quantities of hydrogen sulfide gassing off FMC's seaweed pulp wastes lying unmixed at the surface of rockland's spongy landfill. Gas masks are now de rigeur for attendants, and residents are stifled. The writer recalls desperately filtering the sour sulfurous air through his pillow, sleepless nights on Limerock Street in the early 1990s. Learn just how poisonous these gases are, and who in the state and federal agencies are supposed to rescue Rockland from its dump funk. Click Here

Oct 6, 2005

BEP takes over Dragon Taming

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection agreed today to take over jurisdiction of Dragon Cement Products' pollution permits for its cement kiln dust and clinker waste piles! A public hearing will be held in Thomaston or Rockland at a later date for the board to take testimony and vote to either accept or reject dragon's permits, or order them a whole new set of conditions.
Listen to key speakers at the BEP meeting

The Board members apparently felt that the company and Maine DEP were using legal loopholes to avoid taking action on the company's permit applications, and were also declining to respond to community requests to be involved in the state's decisionmaking process.

Sep 30, 2005

BEP orders October 6 public hearing on Dragon's waste permits.

Maine Board of Environmental Protection orders October 6 public hearing on Dragon's waste permits.
Read story, listen to audio recordings of meeting here

AUGUSTA. The Maine Board of Environmental Protection has ordered a public hearing on whether they should take over over decisionmaking on Dragon Cement Products' pollution license. The hearing will be held on October 6 from 10am to 11am at the Holiday Inn's Ground Round, on Civic Center Drive, Augusta. The Board responded to a petition by citizens group Neighbors for a Safe Dragon stating that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Waste Bureau was refusing to act on Dragon's Cement Kiln Dust waste license application, meanwwhile allowing the company to continuing discharging CKD into the air and groundwater.

At the hearing, the Board was skeptical of explanations made by Maine DEP solid waste division official Paula Clark for allowing the Dragon to operate an unlicenced unlined 840,000 ton cement kiln dust landfill for the last decade without a license and wanted to know why the company was allowed to build a major addition to the industrial complex with no public notice or review. The Board of Environmental Protection members voted unanimously to hold a hearing to take testimony from Neighbors for a Safe Dragon, Dragon Cement and the interested public. The meeting will be held October 6th in Augusta.

Members of Neighbors for a Safe Dragon are jubilant, saying that the people finally get their chance to be heard.

Sep 19, 2005

On Sept 22nd, Maine's Board of Environmental Protection to quiz state's Dragon-licensers.

Dragon's toxic test well data

Thomaston cement maker Dragon Cement Products' pollution licensing problems go under the spotlight on Sept 22nd, when the state's top citizen environmental board asks the Dept of Environmental Protection's pollution officials to explain why Dragon continues to be allowed to pollute the region's watershed, aquifers and neighborhoods without being licensed to do so.

The action comes in reaction to a request by citizens' group Neighbors for a Safe Dragon to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection that the Board itself take over the permitting process instead of letting DEP continue to muddle along year after year while Dragon continues discharging into the environment..

In the past, the Board of Environmental Protection "assumed jurisdiction" over Maine DEP permitting process regarding runoff and noise issues from expansion of the Knox County Regional Airport, as well as over the amount of waste that salmon farms can discharge from their marine feedlot operations, in addition to other pollution challenges that the Maine DEP staff seem unable to resolve.

According to BEP's executive analyst Cindy Bertocci, the state's pollution officials are scheduled to appear before the Board at 1pm September 29th in Augusta at the Holiday Inn /Ground Round on Civic Center Drive adjacent to the Augusta Civic Center. 1:00 pm.

Board of Environmental Protection:
Purpose of theBoard
Members of the Board

Sep 13, 2005

Sep 12, 2005

CLF gives Ferraiolo Corp notice of intent to sue in federal court.

Ferraiolo Construction Company gets Clean Water Act Notice of intent to Sue 9/8/05
"Concerned with rising levels of stormwater pollution and rampant permit violations at industrial facilities in Maine, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) today notified six concrete and asphalt plants in mid-coast Maine that it will file suit in 60 days for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

"Statewide, fewer than 15 percent of Maine's industrial plants have federal stormwater discharge permits," said CLF Staff Attorney Steve Hinchman..." Click Here for full media release from CLF *** Village soup story

Aug 31, 2005

Sears Island - environmental coalition announces plans

Environmental coalition offering plan for Sears Island
By Peter Taber, Waldo Independent
A loose coalition of environmental groups from across Maine known as Protect Sears Island (PSI) this week stepped forward with announcement of plans that would permanently fill a vacuum that for nearly 40 years has prompted a succession of industrial schemes ranging from a nuclear power plant to, most recently, a terminal and gasification plant for liquefied natural gas. Read more

Aug 26, 2005

Georges Bank exploratory drilling to happen

One of the foul balls of the Energy Policy Act...
Exploration on Georges Bank OK'd
Critics say oil, gas survey could disrupt fishing grounds
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | August 5, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A provision tucked into the energy bill approved by Congress last week calls on the government to conduct a survey of potential oil and gas drilling at sites along the entire US coastline, including Georges Bank off the coast of Nantucket.

The measure directs the Department of Interior to conduct an ''inventory and analysis of oil and gas resources" beneath the outer continental shelf, the relatively shallow areas beginning about 3 miles off the nation's coastline. That includes Georges Bank, a vast underwater plateau that stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia and has been among the world's most fertile fishing grounds.

Energy companies have sought to drill for oil and gas on the bank for more than 30 years, prompting protracted legal and congressional battles. A ban on drilling has been in place since 1982, and the current moratorium runs through 2012. The energy bill, which President Bush is expected to sign next week, does not alter the drilling ba but lifts the prohibition on exploration, which was added during the 1990s.

More Click Here

Jul 23, 2005

Invader asian crabs spread downeast

A volunteer working for a Canadian researcher Dave Delaney of McGill University just found a 22 mm female Asian shorecrab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) on the north shore of Schoodic Peninsula, (presumably Gouldsboro.

This is unfortunate news. Now the ASC has colonized the southern (Isle au Haut) and northern extents of Acadia National Park. Even more alarming, the found organism was a gravid female with only a few eggs remaining.

This is the furthest north that the lobster-threatening invasive crab has been confirmed.

The staff of Acadia National Park, especially Jim McKenna and David Manski, have been assisting in the crab-watch.

This crab has had impacts in more southern Atlantic states. (massive population growth in the intertidal, crowding out other crustaceans.)

The strategy the Canadian resaerch calls for: start a trapping program throughout Acadia and the rest of Maine to control for the invader. The invader green crab now has an official trapping fishery with a commercial license. )

Jul 14, 2005

Rockland Dredge Disposal Site - state to mandate more community involvement.

Changes are in the wind for how decisions are made about dumping dredge spoils in Penobscot Bay. Towns will have to become experts. A held over bill LD 1592 at the state legislature will require all towns where dredging is to take place to develop a plan for the disposal of dredge spoils. In an email sequence below, Maine Port Authority head Brian Nutter has Maine Port Safety Forum staffer Eileen Lord forward to a broad spectrum of the state maritime community an email from Jay Clement of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Titled "Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area" it apparently refers to the bill, which was held over by the legislature till the next session or special session.
Read the bill at this link or below pasted in below the email.

The last paragraph of the bill is the added language, the only change it would make in this law: .

-----Original Message-----
From: Nutter, Brian
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 12:00 PM
To: Lord, Eileen
Subject: FW: Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area

Please forward this to the Port Safety Forum.

Thanks, Brian

Brian C. Nutter, Executive Director
Maine Port Authority
16 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0016

Tel. 207-624-3564 Fax 207-624-3251

-----Original Message-----
From: Clement, Jay L NAE []
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 1:42 PM
Subject: Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area


I didn't want to wait until October so feel free to pass this message along to the members of the forum. Apparently the legislature instructed DOT and DEP to work together on the issue of use of the Rockland Disposal Site. At DOT the POC is Chris Olsen; and at DEP it is Judy Gates or Jeff Madore. At this point in time no outcomes are pre-ordained nor has a work group or even a work plan been developed, let alone a time table. It is likely that nothing will happen until at least September. Our office would expect to be involved, particularly since we've worked with your shop and DEP for many years on dredging/disposal issues.

I may have more information by the October forum meeting or I may not. This initiative seems to have had some gas in the beginning but now the tank is empty.


----------------------End of Emails----------------------------------------------

The bill LD 1592's language. The addition of the last paragraph about municipalities is the ONLY change.

LD 1592. An Act Regarding Disposal of Dredged Materials.
Introduced by Representative KOFFMAN of Bar Harbor

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 38 MRSA §413, sub-§2-C, as amended by PL 1989, c. 656, §1, is repealed:

Sec. 2. 38 MRSA §480-D, sub-§9, as amended by PL 2001, c. 248, §1, is
further amended to read:

9. Dredging. If the proposed activity involves dredging,
dredge spoils disposal or transporting dredge spoils by water,
the applicant must demonstrate that the transportation route
minimizes adverse impacts on the fishing industry and that the
disposal site is geologically suitable. The Commissioner of
Marine Resources shall provide the department with an assessment
of the impacts on the fishing industry of a proposed dredging
operation in the coastal wetlands. The assessment must consider
impacts to the area to be dredged and impacts to the fishing
industry of a proposed route to transport dredge spoils to an
ocean disposal site. The Commissioner of Marine Resources may
hold a public hearing on the proposed dredging operation. In
determining if a hearing is to be held, the Commissioner of
Marine Resources shall consider the potential impacts of the
proposed dredging operation on fishing in the area to be dredged.
If a hearing is held, it must be within at least one of the
municipalities in which the dredging operation would take place.

If the Commissioner of Marine Resources determines that a hearing
is not to be held, the Commissioner of Marine Resources must
publish a notice of that determination in a newspaper of general
circulation in the area proposed for the dredging operation. The
notice must state that the Commissioner of Marine Resources will
accept verbal and written comments in lieu of a public hearing.

The notice must also state that if 5 or more persons request a
public hearing within 30 days of the notice publication, the
Commissioner of Marine Resources will hold a hearing. If 5 or
more persons request a public hearing within 30 days of the
notice publication, the Commissioner of Marine Resources must
hold a hearing. In making its determination under this
subsection, the department must take into consideration the
assessment provided by the Commissioner of Marine Resources. The
permit must require the applicant to:

A. Clearly mark or designate the dredging area, the spoils
disposal route and the transportation route;

B. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the
area adjacent to the route the approved transportation route
of the dredge spoils; and

C. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the area
adjacent to the route a procedure that the applicant
will use to respond to inquiries regarding the loss of fishing
gear during the dredging operation.

A municipality that is adjacent to coastal waters in which
dredging operations take place shall develop a plan for the
disposal of dredge spoils.

Current law exempts holders of a permit issued under the
United States Clean Water Act, Public Law 92-500, Section 404
from obtaining a waste discharge license for the disposal of
dredged materials into waters of the State. This bill removes
that exemption. The bill also requires coastal municipalities to
develop a plan for the disposal of dredge spoils.

End of bill
The law below, exempting dredger-wannabes from needing to get state permits will be repealed by the bill as well:

38 MRSA §413, sub-§2-C
Waste Discharge Licenses.

2-C. Dredge spoils. Holders of a permit obtained pursuant to the United States Clean Water Act, Public Law 92-500, Section 404, are exempt from the need to obtain a waste discharge license for disposal of dredged material into waters of the State when the dredged material is disposed of in an approved United States Army Corps of Engineers disposal site. Disposal of all dredged materials is governed by the natural resource protection laws, sections 480-A to 480-S. [1989, c. 656, §1 (amd).]

Jul 8, 2005

Maine fishermen fight Navy assault ship plan.

Maine fishermen fight Navy assault ship plan.
Rockland. In an ironic departure from efforts to retain naval ships in Portsmouth, angry fishermen from one of Maine's top lobstering areas rounded on the US Navy today, filling the Rockland Harbormaster's office in a hastily called meeting and demanding that the USS Wasp , scheduled to make a courtesy call to the town during the Maine Lobster Festival, move its anchoring location from choice lobstergrounds north of the Rockland Breakwater either a half mile south (closer to the Breakwater Lighthouse) or to the anchorage traditionally used by visiting navy ships off Owls Head across the harbor which has little fishing activity.

While no Navy officials attended the meeting, the Navy's concern was said to be the existence on the harbor nautical chart of a submerged wreck that could entangle anchor lines or foul the deep draft vessel. The Wasp is an 840 foot long, 106 foot wide amphibious assault ship, drawing 26 and one half feet.

The fishermen say the carrier and its surrounding no-vessels-allowed security zone will block dozens of fishermen from their traps for up to a week.

Representatives of the US Coast Guard and Marine Patrol joined the fishermen and harbormaster at the meeting. Asked by the fishermen if they would compensate them for the lost earnings, festival promoters at the meeting said no. The harbormaster was similarly unwilling to discuss compensation.

The meeting ended with the following plan: the harbormaster will hire a professional diver to videodocument the site and a sonar sweep of the wreck area will be taken and recorded. The results will be sent on to the navy, if they show that the wreck on the local nautical chart has crumbled into the seafloor, in hopes that the Navy will review it and consider anchoring the Wasp in that area, instead of prime lobster grounds.

Regardless of the ultimate location of the USS Wasp, fishermen say that the heightened security around Navy vessels since 911 has made life a bit less pleasant whenever a navy vessel visits Rockland harbor. One harbor fisherman described the eerie sensation of being tracked by a watchful seaman wielding a 50 caliber machine gun last summer while fishing his traps near a visiting warship then.

Apr 14, 2005

Dragon agrees to cap its pile!

Dragon agrees to cap its toxic cement kiln dust pile!
The pressure of the NSD lawsuit and the gloomy results of water testing around Dragon's cement plant. has apparently changed Dragon's mind about their Cement Kiln Dust (CKD) pile. Carla Hopkins of Maine DEP's Bureau of Remediation and Waste Mgmt reports that Maine DEP has received from Dragon Cement Products a "submittal for a closure plan" of the company's 825,000 ton CKD pile.

Maine DEP's engineering people are looking at this and if it is approved, the capping of the dragondust pile could take place during the summer and fall 2005 construction season.

Under the plan, thirteen of seventeen acres would be capped with clay and soil and revegetated. The other three acres would be the working face that they are actively removing dust from to try different ways of re-use. This would end the addition of toxics into the air, surface water and groundwater.

The state is preparing to issue a Schedule of Compliance, establishing a strict timeline for the company to bring its operations into compliance with the law as written by MDEP's Carla Hopkins has been vetted and passed by her immediate supervisor. It is now in the hands of Bureau Birector Steve Davis; once he approves it, the Schedule of Compliance goes for the commissioner's signature. There may be a last minute change to incorporate Dragon's new pile closure plan.

ME apprpriations Committee approves the Stockton Harbor/Coastal Trust Fund bill

Maine state representative Jeff Kaelin's bill LD 1234 to "Re-create the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund and re-fund it to pay for the Stockton Harbor study" has passed unanimously. Committee members were "pretty offended by the "looting" of the Stockton Harbor money," according to one who attended the meeting. the money vanished from a state account more than two years ago.

Read the bill:

Details about the Stockton Harbor pollution issue are at

Committee of Reference: Appropriations and Financial Affairs, Tue Mar 15, 2005Public

SUMMARY "This bill reestablishes the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund in the Department of Marine Resources. The purpose of the trust fund is to protect and improve the quality of the State's marine environment by providing grants to qualifying organizations. This bill requires the department to develop a competitive grant program, including qualifications and application procedures, and report back to the Second Regular Session of the 122nd Legislature with the department's recommendations.

The bill also appropriates start-up funds to the trust fund and funds to be used to restore the clam flats in Stockton Harbor."

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §6136 is enacted to read:

§6136. Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund
1. Creation of trust fund. There is established the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund, referred to in this section as "the trust."

2. Purpose of trust. The purpose of the trust is to protect and improve the quality of the State's marine environment by providing grants to qualifying organizations for activities to advance scientific research concerning the nature, magnitude and effect of pollution of the State's estuarine, near-shore and off-shore marine environments and the means to abate pollution or preserve and enhance estuarine, near-shore and off-shore marine habitats.

3. Sources for trust. Money obtained from the following sources must be paid to the Treasurer of State for the benefit of the trust:

A. Gifts, bequests and donations to the trust from private individuals or corporations desiring to protect and improve the marine environment through applied research;

B. Grants to the trust from private or public foundations desiring to protect and improve the marine environment through applied and basic research;

C. Funds stipulated for deposit in the trust as part of the terms of settlement of legal actions against corporations, partnerships or individuals for violations of environmental laws, rules or regulations;

D. Funds for research received under any federal oil spill trust fund;
E. Revenues that may be from time to time realized through public bond issues; and
F. Federal grants and loans.

4. Use and administration of trust. Trust funds must be used to provide grants to meet the purposes of this section. The department shall administer the trust as follows.

A. Unless otherwise specified by the source of a contribution to the trust, 50% of a contribution to the trust must be deposited in a principal account and maintained as a permanent endowment. The income earned on funds held in this account, combined with the remaining 50% of funds contributed to the trust, must be deposited in an operating account and made available for disbursement as grants to accomplish the purposes of this section and as expenditures for purposes of administering the trust.

B. An executive agency is not eligible to receive funding from the trust unless the agency jointly undertakes a research proposal with another entity that is not an executive agency.

C. The department shall give preference to institutions, organizations and entities located and operated in the State.

D. Principal, or interest earned from principal, with special instructions from contributors must be awarded in accordance with the contributors' instructions.

E. All money in the trust not immediately required for payment, pursuant to the provisions of this section, must be invested by the Treasurer of State as authorized by Title 5, section 138, except that the securities in which the trust money is invested must remain part of the trust until exchanged for other securities and the income from all investments must remain a part of the trust unless prohibited by federal law.

5. Report, amendment and termination of trust. The department shall file a report as follows.

A. The department shall report to the Legislature on a biennial basis concerning the activities of the trust.

B. In the event the department determines that the provisions of the trust should be amended, the department shall make appropriate recommendations to the Legislature in its biennial report.

C. The department may recommend in its biennial report that the trust be terminated if termination is determined to be appropriate. In the event that the Legislature terminates the trust, the principal and operating funds must be disbursed in a manner consistent with the purpose of the trust.

Sec. 2. Development of competitive grant program; report. The Department of Marine Resources shall develop a competitive grant program, including qualifications and application procedures, for the improvement and protection of the State's marine environment pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 12, section 6136. The department shall report by January 15, 2006 to the Second Regular Session of the 122nd Legislature with its recommendations and any necessary implementing legislation.

Sec. 3. Appropriations and allocations. The following appropriations and allocations are made.

Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund Initiative: Provides funds to reestablish a competitive grant program and to restore the clam flats in Stockton Harbor.

GENERAL FUND 2005-06 2006-07

All Other $52,300 $0

__________ __________


Mar 27, 2005

Dragon Huggers: read this, look at these:

Ah, the Dragon-huggers!

Neighbors sue dragon in federal court

Do they understand that it's not counting coup on the company, it's solving a simple problem.....It helps to consider this in a larger context. The ol' seven generations mode works well: unearth the environmental legacies--positive detrimental and neutral--of the 3 generations preceeding ours, couple that with our own contributions, benign, restorative and/or destructive, and try to crystal ball from those what the likely outcomes will be for the Maine of our great grandkids if we take one action or another. Or no action.
Dragon Cement products and its two drainages

So, you tot up what's been done, dumped and dischargd at that site--from quarrying to cement making to dust "stockpiling"--from great grandpa's time to now, and then triage out what it is technically and economically realistic for this magnificent economic engine, its product so fundamental to our way of life, to do to minimize and reduce, even end, the uncontrolled movement of its wastes offsite, be it above ground or below. To think otherwise it to hold that is okay to salt the area wells and springs with lead, arsenic and the rest of the chemicals and elements that make up Dragon's Brew. Read letters and memos from Maine DEP to Dragon about its poor potty training

The point of the photo and document links is to show that when you have an uncapped pile of this kind of material, (1) erosion happens, and when it does, (2) leachate (CKD tea) is produced, and (3) (here you must go to the writings of the state geologist) leachate pooled on the surface of a heavily fractured bedrock formation leaks into that formation and enters the groundwater, (4) groundwater reenters the surface world in springs, seeps, and wells, as well as percolating into either of the two rivers flanking the plant.

See the eroding waste piles at Dragon.
& More erosion
Then take a look at the contaminated runoff leaching into Thomaston groundwater & even more contaminated water .

Mar 1, 2005

Maine Bay Management Leaders Meet, discuss LURC-ing Maine's marine environment

Augusta. At a February 25, 2005 meeting of the staff and project managers of the Maine Bay Management Study in Augusta, two plans for innovative management of Maine's nearshore marine environment were reviewed, and a proposal was presented that the state create marine zoning based on the model of the Land Use Regulation Commission's rules. A government official described Baldacci Adminiustration opposition to a bill before the legislature that would clarify that under state law, towns with acccepted comprehensive plans have the power to block development or pollution discharge projects, even if they get state permit approvals

The Bay Management Study's steering committee consists of Paul Anderson, Director, Maine Sea Grant, Kathleen Billings, Chair, Soft Shell Clam Advisory Council; Town of Stonington, Heather Deese, Science Director, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Dewitt John, Director of Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College, Evan Richert, Program Director, Gulf of Maine Census on Marine Life, Jim Salisbury, Retired CEO, Supreme Alaska Seafoods David Schmanska, Harbormaster, St. George, Barbara Vickery, Director of Conservation Programs, ME Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

The two adopted bay management prototype projects were described by the grantees:

Steve Perrin of Friends of Taunton Bay described his bay management project, which will draft a single shellfish and worm ordinance for the Sullivan Franklin and Gouldsboro three towns ringing and dividing Taunton Bay.

"The boundary between the thee towns meets in the middle of the bay," Perrin told the meeting. describing them as "three seperate jurisdictions along the shore that are not in any way uniform." This has led to severe overharvesting of those organisms, he said, describing how when a Sullivan clamflat that had been closed by pollution for years opened up.

"Fifty three clammers came, and wiped it out on the first day."Perrin said. "That was the end of that clamflat. So they learned that they have to regulate their resources and they have a vested interest in doing that."

Jennifer Atkinson representing the Quebec-Labrador Foundation described her project which includes surveying the people of the Muscongus Bay area and collecting historic reports and whatever data she and her associates can compile, and holding two open meetings for Muscongus Bay area residents to attend. The end result will be a a profile of the bay's marine ecology, a study of the socioeconomic and cultural relationships of the coastal communities and users of Muscongus Bay, and a proposal for improving the interaction between the two .

Deirdre Gilbert of DMR discussed DMR's "planned approach for investigating this problem of conflicts and gaps in marine governance systems," She described planning for the 'public discussion' meetings, the staff decisions to simplify the meeting process, focusing less on specific solutions from the public and more on general themes of problems citizens may have with state coastal regulations.

Sue Inches of Maine DMR described the administration's efforts to block passage of, or drastically amend, LD 582 "An Act To Change the Effect of Local Ordinances on the State" The bill, before the Maine state legislature, would clarify that under state law, towns with acccepted comprehensive have the power to block development or pollution projects, even if they get state permit approvals.

"State agencies that I've talked to are not very comfortable with the bill," Inches told the meeting. She said they are coming up with an alternative proposal to make all local ordinances advisory with respect to state agencies. "The governor's office is being very bold on this one, saying yes, there are state priorities that have to be met and the towns should not be in a position of being able to prohibit state goals from being met." Inches said. The bill was presented by Senator Bromley of Cumberland and cosponsored by Representative Koffman of Bar Harbor and Senator Damon of Hancock, Representatives Beaudette Of Biddeford, Smith N of Monmouth.

Evan Richert, former head of the Maine Coastal Program and now a private consultant, reviewed the history of the state's land use zoning process and described how parts of it could be applied as model for ocean zoning. Richert noted that land zoning began in Maine in the 1920s, but did not approach the coastal environment until passage of the Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act inthe 1970s

He said that municipal land zoning ordinances are insufficient for bay and marine zoning because they define the land by two dimensional property lines which don't exist in the marine environment. Instead, he said, the Bay Managrement Study should look at the rules of the Land Use Regulatory Commission as a better model.

Richert said "Chapter 10 of those rules is its zoning ordinance that identifies and establishes zoning lines almost entirely on natural resource-based features instead of perperty lines. LuURC jurisdictions are zoned for a different purpose than municipal zoning, more for resource management purposes.

"So the unorganized territories are much more comparable to Taunton Bay or other bays," he said. "Where people might say this is an aquaculture bay, a working bay, there are similarities there. In the marine environment it's a three dimensional space."

Richert compared it to a three dimensional scrabble game "not only the surface but the air space, the various depths of the water column, and the seafloor."


Feb 20, 2005

Artificial lobster bait before Maine Legislature

Artificial lobster bait issue being considered by Maine Legislature: LD 527 An Act To Authorize the Commissioner of Marine Resources To Regulate the Use of Artificial Bait in Marine Fisheries.
See bill at

What's happening: Following the onset several years ago of large scale marketing and use of artificial lobster bait, worry arose among lobstermen about the impact that this change in diet would have on Homarus americanis, the American Lobster. The issue was brought front and center at the 2004 Maine Fishermen's Forum, where some advocated prohibiting artificial bait based on an obscure antilittering law. This was not felt sufficient by the state attorney general. In response to requrests, the Maine Department of Marine Resources drafted the following bill. The bill as presently being considered by the Maine legislature simply empowers the DMR to create rules about artificial bait. It does not define the rules:

LD 527 An Act To Authorize the Commissioner of Marine Resources To Regulate the Use of Artificial Bait in Marine Fisheries.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §6175 is enacted to read:

§6175.__Alternative bait
The commissioner may adopt rules to regulate the use of alternative bait in marine fisheries. Rules authorized by this section must be adopted in accordance with the procedures in subchapter 2 and are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Marine Resources to regulate the use of alternative bait in marine fisheries.

Feb 8, 2005

Bay Management Blues

Maine's Bay Management Project off to Shaky Start.
Rockland. If the beginning of Maine's coastwide Bay Management Project is any indication, citizens, interest groups, state agencies and industry sectors will have to work hard if this long-awaited project to reform management of Maine's nearshore marine environment and its ecosystems is to reach its goal. For critics warn the present initiative appears to have many of the flaws of its predecessor, the Maine Aquaculture Task Force, whose January 30, 2004 report to the legislature resulted in the creation of the Bay Management Project.The February 3, 2005 Bay Management meeting brought eleven state officials to Rockland for what was billed as Sharing Public Waters: a Community Discussion to explore and document potential new and innovative concepts for the management of Maine’s embayments”. An early meeting planned for Ellsworth was postponed twice, once by weather and then by an automobile accident involving a vehicle carrying state agency staff to the meeting. See background on Maine Bay Management project. (Includes a transcript of the February 3rd meeting.)
The meeting program consisted of a series of power point presentations, followed by division of the attendees into breakout groups which each pondered a different element of bay management. The attendees then reformed, and a representative of each breakout group gave a short summary of the ideas and issues that its participants had identified.

Moderated by Esperanza Stancioff  who has two  two positions: University of Maine Cooperative Extension & Maine SeaGrant, the presenters included Kathleen Leyden, head of the State Planning Office's Coastal Program, Maine Department of Marine Resources Ecology Division director John Sowles, and Todd Burrowes, policy specialist with the State Planning Office.

Other officials at the meeting included Seth Barker DMR GIS coordinator, Mary Costigan, DMR aquaculture hearing officer, Vanessa Levesque, coastal fellow with SPO & DMR, Elizabeth Stevenson, a Coastal Program intern and University of Maine researcher, Jim Connors, senior planner at the Coastal Program, Sherman Hoyt fisheries outreach, Maine SeaGrant, and Sarah Gladu , a phytoplankton and water quality coordinator with SeaGrant and Maine Cooperative Extension.

Some of the ideas and issues generated by the groups included improved information sharing between municipalities to facilitate the work of town conservation committees and harbormasters; finding a way to give more weight to local input in the aquaculture decisionmaking process; giving more attention to the impact to the nearshore environment of increased herbicide and pesticide runoff from growth in coastal areas.

Several specific locations were identified as nearshore flashpoints: looming sprawl on the Saint George peninsula could increase pesticide runoff into southwestern Penobscot Bay, home of Maine's richest lobster grounds; and protection of eelgrass around Sears Island (many of those eelgrass meadows narrowly escaped elimination when a hotly contested industrial port proposal for the island was finally withdrawn in the mid 1990's).

It was noted in one group that a 1993 decision by the Maine legislature to exempt aquaculture from one of the state's chief environmental laws should be re-examined. While arguably helpful during the initial growth phase of commercial aquaculture in Maine state waters, the exemption of aquaculture from meeting the standards of the Site Location of Development Act keeps the Maine Department of Environmental Protection from sharing its considerable expertise on understanding landbased impacts to and from areas where aquaculture permits are sought.

While the meeting went smoothly, a number of criticisms were leveled at the process: instead of a public hearing or public meeting, the event was defined as a "community conversation". There was no opportunity for meeting attendees to give individual testimony or statements to the assembled officials; input was only taken during the small group breakout meetings, and that input was then summarized and abstracted before being presented to the full meeting by each subgroup's facilitator in two minute summaries. Further, there was no follow up discussion on those summaries; the meeting was ended once the last summary was concluded.

Another issue is the makeup of the advisory committee for the Bay Management Project. Glaringly absent from the advisory committee are any members of the Bay Management Coalition, which includes the Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Friends of Blue Hill Bay, East Penobscot Bay Environmental Alliance and many others. Many of the advisory committee members picked instead also served on the state Aquaculture Task Force, whose final report took a dim view of bay management's potential for improving public participation in nearshore issues, instead seeing it as a potential threat to the growth of aquaculture.

Additional "community discussions" of the Bay Management Project will be held Feb 8th in Portland and shortly thereafter elsewhere on the Maine coast. They will be followed by 'midcourse workshops' in the summer and fall of 2005, and more public meetings in January and February of 2006. After a year of review and analysis, recommendations are to be delivered to the Maine legislature in January 2007.

Feb 2, 2005

MORE mussel rafts applied for between MDI and Lamoine

Narrow picturesque Eastern Bay - between Mount Desert Island and the Lamoine mainland - is under threat of floating mussel rafts that would join two other mussel farms already in operation in this narrow waterbody connecting Blue Hill Bay and Frenchman's Bay. Concerned citizens are rising to challenge this latest proposal, which sources say would be seeded, maintained and harvested by Great Eastern Mussel while under the legal ownership of Tim Levesque. Stay tuned.

Jan 14, 2005

Maine legislature - Conservation, environmental and marine resources bills for 2005

So it begins. (this page will be updated as links to bills appear on the state's website. - RH

(1) Conservation related bills:

LD 27 An Act To Ensure That Sears Island Will Be Used for Industrial and Commercial Purposes

LD 22 Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife To Issue a Policy Clarifying Public Access Requirements for Ponds To Qualify for Fish Stocking Programs

LD 35 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue in the Amount of $75,000,000 for the Land for Maine's Future Fund

LD 48 An Act To Ensure the Safe and Timely Retrieval of Wounded Bear BY REQUEST
LD 50 An Act To Ban Remote-control Hunting

LD 78 An Act To Fund the Acquisition of Land by the Land for Maine's Future Board from the General Fund

LD 89 An Act To Give the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the Authority To Allow the Operation of Snowmobiles Registered outside the State at Special Events Occurring in the State.

LD 115 An Act Enabling Municipalities To Establish Municipal Land Banks Funded by Local Option Real Estate Transfer Taxes

LD 117 An Act To Amend Provisions of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission Law

Environmental Bills

LD 99 An Act To Include Specific Bodies of Water within Class C Standards Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources .

LD 126 Resolve, Authorizing the City of Gardiner To Refinance Certain Temporary Bond Anticipation Notes Issued for Its Wastewater Project

Marine Resource related bills
Sen. Raye of Washington

LD 228 An Act To Provide Funding for the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education

LR 1231 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue in the Amount of $850,000 for the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education


Clough Scarborough
LR 2012 An Act To Protect the Recreational Harvesting of Surf Clams in Saco Bay

Rep Adams Portland
LR 276 Resolve, Regarding Marine Invasive Species

Percy Phippsburgh
LD 167 An Act To Provide Flexibility for Sea Urchin Zones

LD 189 RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Provide Property Tax Relief to Owners of Property Used for Commercial Fishing and Homestead Land

LR 1200 An Act To Encourage Recreational Lobster Fishing License Holders To Participate in Current Conservation Efforts of the Commercial Lobster Industry

Sen. Bartlett II of Cumberland
LR 955 An Act To Allow Maine Licensed Vessels Holding a Federal Permit To Lobster in Maine Waters

LR 956 An Act To Allow Certain Maine Licensed Lobster Vessels To Land Lobsters in New Hampshire and Massachusetts
Sen. Martin of Aroostook
LR 71 An Act To Prevent the Upstream Migration of Exotic Species of Fish above the Fish River Falls and into the Fish River Watershed
Rep Fletcher of Winslow (?)

LR 2015 An Act To Limit the Harvesting of Downstream Migrating American Eels in Maine Rivers


LR 1377 An Act to Reestablish the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund within the Department of Marine Resources

LR 2070 An Act To Establish a Demersal Finfish Ecologist Position at the Department of Marine Resources
Damon (Hancock)
LR 861 An Act To Adopt the Recommendations of the Soft-shell Clam Advisory Council
LR 1023 An Act To Encourage Local Affordable Housing, Open Space and Shore Access through a High Valuation Transfer Tax

LR 1848 An Act To Amend the Hours for Lobster Fishing
LR 1962 Resolve, To Encourage the Scallop Industry

Schatz Blue Hill

LR 1214 Resolve, Directing the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources to Meet with the Marine Resources Advisory Council and Interested Parties

LR 1215 An Act To Exempt Seafood Dealers with Fewer than 20 Employees from the Department of Marine Resources Statistics-Gathering Requirements

Jan 4, 2005

Cement lawsuit proceeding well

Earthjustice DC sends word that their federal case against EPA about Cement Kiln Dust has gotten off to a good start See The case was filed against the Bush Admin for its EPA's failure to meet the deadline for creating rules to regulate cement kiln dust pollution. Because the rules aren't there, neither Dragon Cement Products nor other kilns have any federal pollution regulations to meet, so by definition they're never out of compliance. Get it?.

Defendant EPA tried to have the case dismissed, but the judge instead has given EPA a January 20th deadline to explain to the court why they haven't done what they're supposed to regarding CKD pollution regs, and then EarthJustice has until January 31st to respond to EPA's response, at which point the judge ponders the whole mass of evidence, testimony etc etc, and works up his or her verdict.