Aug 10, 2008

Army Corps of Engineers: No public hearing on MDOT Umbrella Mitigation Bank plan.

No Wild Place in Maine is Safe. The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided not to hold a public hearing on MDOT's Umbrella Mitigation Bank Plan. (rich text file)

This despite the Corps receiving:
"...10 letters in opposition, 7 of which contained public hearing requests, 0 letters in support of the project, and 4 letters which either requested more information or simply raised points about the banks or its potential candidate projects."

Those ten letters, according to the Lt Colonel who initialed the decision, were pretty specific on a variety of topics:

"a. The UMB lacks any specific site or sites and/or standards for those sites.

"b. The bank review process has not addressed various key points or raises concerns about short-cutting the permit process such as:

"c. The UMB proposes to use biophysical region service areas within the entire State of Maine rather than watershed service areas which are referenced throughout the Mitigation Rule.

"d. The UMB prospectus lacks sufficient clarity and detail.

"e. There will be specific sites proposed which themselves are of concern for a variety of issues: Sears Island and Sherman Marsh

"f. MaineDOT should not be both permit applicant and bank sponsor because that causes a conflict of interest.

"g. MaineDOT is not qualified to be a bank sponsor due to the unknown quality of their past mitigation efforts.

"h. The establishment of a bank in Maine is precedent- setting.

"i. Mitigation generally has a poor track record."

In essence ACOE's response to these was 'Don't worry, trust MDOT, and even if you don't, relax because: " furthermore, each proposal will be fully vetted by an interagency review team."

How reassuring! As if 7 & 1/2 years of Bush administration reorganizing of those very agencies hasn't made such review teams mere rubberstampers for industry getting its way!

Read for yourself Cover Letter and Army Corps Decision

Sears Island isn't safe, now.

No comments: