Mar 24, 2008

Sears Island: NMFS reenters island fight.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is concerned with the direction of the Sears Island Joint Use Planning Committee is taking. The agency's opposition to the 1995 port proposal helped stop it.

Not bound by the strictures of the agreement that JUPC-ites labor under, NMFS is calling for a comprehensive conservation review of the proposed agreement, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act,

Under 49 USC 303, the federal transportation law commonly called "Section 4(f)
the Maine DOT and Federal Highway Administration must run their proposal to turn public land into an industrial port before the natural resrouces agencies with stewardship over the resources at risk. This includes NMFS for the eelgrass and clamflats, US Fish and Wildlife for freshwater fish and wildlife, and US EPA for the wetlands that would harmed.

Turns out that MDOT and FHWA hadn't contacted any of the three, so I did it for them. So far NMFS has risen to the challenge. Will the other agencies?

US FHWA has promised a response this week, on the Penobscot Bay Watch request, and presumably on those from NMFS and Maine Green Independent Party, other NGOs and other federal agencies, should they follow NMFS' lead. Stay tuned.

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