Apr 22, 2008

Sears Island: Legislature says - Fix JUPC plan and get back to us in December

Evidently the Maine Legislature is not terribly enthused by the output so far of the Sears Island Joint Use Planning Committee.

According to the final few paragraphs in the latest Sears Island article by Waldo County Citizen reporter Tanya Mitchell, about the April 11 meeting of the committee in Searsport, there is...

"some division within the Transportation Committee about whether to support the process."

"Some of the representatives had misgivings about what the ultimate success was going to be here" Duane Scott, JUPC administrator for MDOT is quoted as saying. Scott observed that Transportation Commissioner Cole's report to the Maine Legislature's Transportation Committee on the JUPC's progress "went well, despite interruptions".

'Interruptions?' Duane's not referring to citizen hecklers in the audience. Rather the legislators were interrupting Cole's delivery.

MDOT's Scott fretted, according to reporter Tanya Mitchell, that "Some were caught up in all the history that has brought us up to this point in time."

And what a history that is.

At least, according to Mitchell, MDOT's Duane Scott appears to believe the committee members were "supportive of what we have accomplished up to now."

Ah but now the bottom may fall out of the plan. What about the impact of inevitable eelgrass loss and its well-predicted negative effect on lower Penobscot Bay fin and shellfisheries, that the National Marine Fisheries Service objected to 13 years ago? The Joint Use Planning Committee has yet to discuss the impacts to marine resources that should have played a role in the committee's delineation of a potential port zone right from the start two years ago.

That it hasn't bodes ill for meeting the legislature's December '08 deadline

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