Listen to a 4 and a half minute mp3 of the legislature's Transportation Committe on November 18th deciding they didn't trust the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Sierra Club, the Friends of Sears Island and other compromisers ( 4 minute mp3)
Why? Those conservation groups had earlier signed a deal with Governor John Baldacci divvying up Sears Island, with 2/3 donated in perpetual easement to Maine Coast Heritage Trust and one third made available to potential container port builders. Complete recordings of meeting here
Under the deal, the land trust and environmental groups would be given a conservation easement and permission to build and operate an environmental center. In return they would not oppose development of a port on the west side of Sears Island.
However, the Greenies were under the impression that they would get their conservation easement immediately, with the state to take applications for port proposals at some later date.
Thanks to a last minute surprise proposal submitted by state senator Christine Savage, and seconded by Rockland Representative Ed Mazurek, the legislators voted to "accept in principle" the final report of the Sears Island Joint Use Committee, but will not authorize any conservation easement on Sears Island UNTIL a container port development on the island has first been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers.
No land trust conservation easement, no Sierra Club educational center. No Friends of Sears Island's trail maintenance contract....none of those until industrial port developers begin tearing away at the forests, streams, fern meadows, marshy streams, saltwater fish nurseries and other natural habitats of the western side of Sears Island.
Once a ballast water belching, smog-producing mega container port is actually under construction on Sears Island, MCHT, FOSI and Sierra Club will get their pound of bleeding island flesh.
Say it ain't so, Joan, Jimmy, Scott!
The joint committee on transportation arrived at its decision after about an hour of presentations and spirited discussions.
Jim Freeman of the Friends of Sears Island, Joan Saxe of the Sierra Club and Steve Miller of the Islesboro Island Land Trust signed the "consensus agreement on Sears Island". As signatories, they will have to actively fight the many fishermen, health advocates and other environmentalists who oppose the container port hell-plan for upper Penobscot Bay.
As this is an impossible situation for the Sierra Club, the Deal is Dead.
Why? Because it's one thing for the Sierra Club et al to be compromising sell-outs. Its another for them to actually join the enemy's ranks, as Sierra Club leaders Joan Saxe and Ken Cline, and NFN/EF! activist leader Jim Freeman are starting to understand.
Expressions of horror filled the faces of those eco-compromiser wannabes, as well as the railroad interests, MDOT and the town reps as they wandered out to the state capital's parking lot in bewildered knots.
Patsies. Sold out just as heartlessly as they had sold out mother nature. Now the rats begin jumping ship. As the Portland Press Herald just wrote:
"Jim Freeman, a member of the group that crafted the agreement, says the committee's action in effect voids the deal and sends the issue back to limbo."
"The Quislings are running for the hills! " chuckled long term opponent of the Joint Use Plan Ron Huber of Penobscot Bay Watch. "Run Jimmy! Run! Get on the Islesboro Ferry, Steve! Hide yourself Joan and Ken!
For now you must fight against the fishermen, seagrass huggers and the greater conservation community and fight for the industrial free trade container port wannabes, if you are to gain your precious educational center and perpetual easement. How will you ENGOs explain this to your funders and your members? "We have to destroy Sears Island to save it"?
That won't fly. There are already voices calling for the now fully discredited leaders-for-life of the Maine Sierra Club to step down and let a younger less jaded generation of Sierrans take the helm
Awaken, eco-signers to the Governor's charge! Renounce JUPC! Repent! Rejoin the never ending defense of the natural Maine coast against industrial encroachment.