Dec 4, 2008

Sears Island - The Smoking Guns: how Sierra Club and MCHT stopped their own Joint Use Plan

Emails from officials of Maine Sierra Club and Maine Coast Heritage Trust suggest that both NGOs were prepared to renege on their promise not to interfere with state efforts to attract and license a container port and rail yard covering the western third of Sears Island. (that is, once the MCHT had secured a permanent easement over the other six hundred acres of the island, and the Sierra Clubbers were free to begin work on a Sears Island education center program.)

Imagine these two groups' surprise when,  after reading these,  the Maine Legislature's Transportation Committee proved as faithless to them as they themselves had been toward Maine wild Nature!

From Ken Cline, Sierra Club's Conservation Chairman for Maine:

>From: kenneth cline
>Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2008 9:09 PM
>Subject: Sears Island
>Dear Mr. Gabey:
>Joan Saxe passed your message on Sears Island on to me. I am
>intrigued by your comments. In what way do you believe that Sierra
>Club has "sold out" on Sears Island. As someone who spent the better
>part of 6 years battling to save the island when very few

>environmentalists in the state seemed to know it existed, I would
>hardly sit idly by and watch it be destroyed. I am curious where you
>get your information on the matter and if that source actually has
>done anything recently on behalf of the island. If you actually care
>about the fate of the island, then write the newspapers, governor, and
>DOT to make sure that they understand how priceless a treasure Sears
>Island really is. We have ensured that 2/3 of it will be protected
>for ever, but we need all the help we can get to protect the remaining
>part. So independent of Sierra Club, I encourage you to start a
>campaign to help protect the island -- it is a much better use of your
>time than criticizing people who perhaps have the same goals as you
>and are working hard to pursue them. Please contact me if you have
>any further concerns.
>Ken Cline
>Maine Chapter Conservation Chair

From Maine Coast heritage Trust's Scott Dockerson
>----Original Message-----
From: Scott Dickerson []
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 8:31 AM
To: Astrig Tanguay; Tara Hollander; Jim Grossman; Nancy-Linn Nellis; Jan
Flint; Bob&Marietta Ramsdell; Lorin Hollander; Jay&McCormick Economy;
Jim Freeman; John Hyk; Buck Bulkley; Becky Bartovics; Larraine Brown;
Jane Sanford; Joan Saxe; Stephen Miller; Elizabeth Banwell; Joelle

Subject: current position. Port and Preservation--

We should expect to get some negativity from those who have not been
part of this long, negotiated SIPI process and do not have a full
understanding of our strategy.
This is how I strategically analyze the current position of the
Preservation and Port Affinity Group.

We obtain a Consensus Agreement at this time to recommend that
700-800 acres of the island will be placed under a conservation
easement and that 141-241 acres of the island may continue to be
evaluated by transportation interests as a future port facility,
under the terms of what we are negotiating for in the Consensus

The majority of the island will be permanently protected for public
access, educational uses, and conservation; AND

We will have positioned our affinity group as by far the most
rational and fair vision for the future of Sears Island, giving us
considerable political leverage for not only securing the majority of
the island for conservation now, but also to ultimately press for
conservation of the entire island; AND
Increasing utilization of the island for public access and education
will build an increasing constituency for full protection of the
island; AND

The port interests will still have to demonstrate 1) need for a
facility that cannot be served elsewhere, 2) compliance with
environmental laws, and 3) financial capacity to construct and
operate the port; AND

Many conservation and environmental interests will continue to have
the opportunity to intervene in the regulatory process to contest the
port, an intervention that has prevailed for almost 40 years.

We stand pat on our original Preservation and Port Affinity Group
vision statement;

The SIPI process arrives at stalemate except on some token agreement
items; AND
The Preservation and Port Affinity Group will lose some of its
political leverage as the rational and fair position, making future
efforts with the legislature and governor less probable for success;
All 941 acres of the island instead of only 141-241 acres remains
open for port proposals, as well as any other industrial, commercial,
or residential development proposals.

In essence, I think we gain a great deal from entering into an
effectively negotiated Consensus Agreement, and have actually
diminished the risk that the island will be developed.

Scott Dickerson, Executive Director
Coastal Mountains Land Trust
101 Mt. Battie Street
>Camden ME 04843


-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Dickerson []
Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 1:03 PM
Cc:;; jouelle@prexar;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Subject: Re: security issues

This is how I analyze the security issue.
Our agreement to a Consensus Agreement requires that a permanent
conservation easement be placed on 700-800 acres of the island. I
estimate that placement of the conservation easement will take no
more than 12 months after the Legislature and Governor sign a bill
approving that one be placed.

If a proposal for a port comes forth soon after the Legislature and
Governor act on the Consensus Agreement, I expect that it will take
more than two years to proceed through its data gathering, planning
process, negotiation with the State for use of the island land,
financing arrangements, and permit process. The issue of port
security will be addressed during the permit process, though the
proposer of the port will be considering it during it data gathering
and planning process.

The placement of the conservation easement and associated public
access will predate the receipt of a permit for a port. Given that,
I expect that any port proposal will need to present a plan for
coexistence with the conservation easement and public access,
including across the causeway. If the port proposer choses to
attempt to stop public access, I expect that there will be a very
strong response by the public (which will have increased its activity
on the island by then) to oppose the violation of the intent of the
conservation easement and Consensus Agreement.

Again, I am offering my best estimates about probabilities. My
estimate is that once the 700-800 acres of the island are conserved
and truly open to the public, the issue of port security is likely to
either be neutral in terms of affect on public use of the
conservation area of the island, or will create another issue that
will mobilize the public to oppose the granting of a permit for the

If my analysis of the probabilities is correct, then I think we have
no reason to deal with the issue of port security impact at this
stage of the process.


Scott Dickerson, Executive Director
Coastal Mountains Land Trust
101 Mt. Battie Street
Camden ME 04843

1 comment:

Norge said...

What a shame send the leaders of these two groups back to ecology school. Or better fire them