Jun 24, 2009

Federal government to partly take over Sears Island

Will the Maine Coast Islands National Wildlife Refuge move its headquarters to Sears Island?

Missing from the meeting on this TOPIC last night were Me Coast Heritage Trust, Sierra Club, and the rest of the lite Greens who exposed the island to industrial development by embracing the shipping industry-designed Consensus Agreement.

The meeting focused on the possibility of the US Fish and Wildlife Service relocating its Maine Coastal Island Natinal Wildlife refuge office to Sears Island.

Roaring with indignation, are they? As the island, their Crown Jewel of the Maine Coast, the Atlantic Seaboard's biggest unmanaged natural wild coastal island, suddenly teeters on the brink of the abyss of fragmentation? Will these pale greenies rise up in defense of outraged nature, or instead race like lemmings over the precipice?

They are nowhere to be found.

In exchange, it seems, for
(1) putting two thirds of the public island under private control - perpetual, at that - in the form of MDOT granting to Maine Coast Heritage Trust a Conservation Easement over 601 island acres of the eastern face of the island; and

(2) granting the participating NGOs the right to build an educational complex on the protected side of the island,

Or to put it a more biblical context: "....Then JUPC, surnamed FOSI, one of the twelve, went and said unto the chief priests of sprawl, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Sears Island unto you? They were glad, and covenanted to give FOSI thirty pieces of silver. FOSI promised: and sought opportunity how JUPC might conveniently betray Sears island unto them in the absence of the multitude...."

Sierra Club, Islesboro Islands Land Trust et al wrote off - there is no other word for it - bought off? - the other third of Wassumkeag and its rich nursery shoals, to speculative container port sprawl. Even though such an action would perpetually frag this island

What is it that makes these giants of Maine conservation shrink to Liliputians of compromise when it comes to Wassumkeag?

Why it is that the Atlantic Seaboard's (let alone Maine's) biggest natural unmanaged wild island, a veritable Noah's Ark of coastal Maine fish and wild life, from moose and fox to clam and codfish, cloaked in verdant hardwood forests, meadows, fern fields, swamps, brooks, beaches, mudflats, saltmarshes and shoals, gets such short shrift?

An island under continual human stewardship for the last eight thousand years, with the artifacts of those times found many many feet down below the island's surface - though visible on the bluffs threatened by containerport and railyard development.

A rare combination of habitats and species, living naturally on the Maine coast. No motorized vehicles ( including motorcycles) allowed on the island.

But like oversight of the proposal to grow racks of oysters & quahogs in the adjacent waters, the environmentalistists who sold the island for that song are not being represented

The plankton in those waters are the first foods for larval codfish to grow into juveniles in their first few weeks of life. Should they too be consigned to oblivion in the name of commerce? I'll be asking.

Not surprised that the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club, is, as always, staying uninvolved, which industry and government nip away at their proclaimed "crown jewel" of an island.

Jun 22, 2009

GOM WindRush wannabes speak at Samoset - audio recording

The Great Gulf of Maine Gold Rush/Wind & Tide Rush is on. Venture capitalists want to lease vast areas of the GOM & its tidal rivers for lunar energy extraction. Listen to extraction innovators they would finance. They brought their ideas on hitting up Nature for wind, wave, tidal, current, thermal and solar juice, to EnergyOcean09 held 6/18/ 09 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine.

State & fed regulators too, showcased their new products, especially Interior Dept's offshore renewable energy program /

There was also a report by the MMS' s senior marine biologist Donna M. Schroeder of the Minerals Management Service that finds likely no impact to Gulf of Maine from 1,000s of power towers & cables, beyond more vertical habitat bringing in a different ecological group of species that are attuned to offshore pilings.

Jun 16, 2009

GOM's wild winds and currents to be exploited: feds try to tame the gold rush

All week the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine is hosting Energy Ocean 2009. Heavily attended by afficionados of renewable electricity from offshore wind, wave, tide, thermal, solar and hybrid systems. On Tuesday June 25th, Maureen Bornholdt of the Interior Department's Office of Offshore Alternative Energy Program gave the keynote speech. Listen to a podcast of Bornholdt's 40 minute keynote speech.

Briefly, under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Interior Department was given authority to lease ocean areas for renewable energy production.

Bornholdt was tasked with developing the leasing system for offshore windfarms, tidal generators and and other alternative energy producers, in federal and US EEZ waters.

In the recorded presentation, Bornholdt describes the process that energy applicants will have to go through, both for siting alternative offshore power plants and for obtaining right of ways and right of use easements for delivering the electricity to shore.

There will be two types of lease: Commercial leases and limited leases. Small generators and those larger ones awaiting approval will be able to sell up to 5 megawatts of power without obtaining a license. Government agencies will be able to hold leases and operated power generators offshore. Much more...An amazing flux of issues in this fastmoving process. Listen to Bornholdt's talk.