Aug 25, 2009

Sears Island Sellouts: saga continues with: Senator Dumb'un.

State senator Dennis Damon - dubbed "Senator Dumb'un" for his studied silences upon vital ecological issues facing Maine's Penobscot Bay fisheries from port sprawl - occupies a special place of dishonor in the pantheon of Sears Island Sellers-Out that appears on occasion on this blog

Listen to Senator Damon supporting Maine coastal fisheries habitat protection and restoration at the March 19, 2008 hearing of the legislature's Marine Resources Committee. Then listen to Damon two months later at a meeting of the MDOT's Sears Island Joint use Planning Committee supporting construction of a container port on Sears Island, (right in Penobscot Bay's top fish nursery). Two-faced?

Perhaps. For Damon has taken to heart Public Law 27 7 An Act Regarding the Management and Use of Sears Island, which (unconstitutionally) confers upon the Legislature's Transportation Committee the power of final approval or disapproval over any change of use of Sears Island - an executive power granted by Maine's Founding Parents to the Executive Branch.

Senator Damon has used this unconstitutional Law 277 to lead the Transportation Committee on a rollercoaster ride, first imposing on November 18, 2008 binding conditions on MDOT forbidding the agency from signing a conservation easement agreement with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, until a container port received its permits to build and operate on Sears Island, but then , on January 13, 2009, pressuring that Committee - many members freshman legislators bewildered by the issue - into reversing its earlier unanimous 11/18/08 vote, and voting instead to waive the restriction on inking The Deal (above) that they'd earlier imposed.

What was the quid pro quo? What did the Silent Senator ask for and receive during those private meetings with the governor to which he admits having after the November 18th vote that actually saved Sears Island and before the January re-vote that put it again at risk . Meetings so private that the co-chair of the committee, Representative Mazurek of Rockland was left out of the wheeling and dealing. Let alone the rest of the committee members!

What was enough to get Senator Damon to switch not only his vote, but also to shove reversal of the unanimous vote through the members of the Legislature's latest transportation committee when it convened for the first time in January 2009. Unknowable, for while he is willing to hold forth on his own script. What irresistible plum, what pork did Governor Baldacci successfully wave before the Dumb One?

Not content with his own silence, Sentor Dumb'un muzzled the citizens, repeatedly turning down requests by concerned Mainers for permission to speak to the assembled legislative members of either committee about Sears Island. Nay, the public was already represented by Sierra Club and an ex-Earth First!er turned ENGO president
Interestingly, Senator Damon was oft to be seen with former Earth First! activist turned muzzler-of-NGO's Jimmy Freeman of Verona Island, (photo) who achieved his own peculiar renown for stifling the historic opposition to dismembering Sears Island, including the Maine Green Independent Party, the Native Forest Network- Gulf of Maine region, the Maine Earth First! clan. [Note: the Maine Green Independent Party has since removed Mr. Freeman from its leadership, and now takes a public stand against the Sears Island port plan and its mitigation scam!]

But from 2004 until that blissful MGIP moment, thanks to Jimmy's masterful efforts, (including intelligence gathering on activists for the Governor, an offer to disrupt an upcoming antiport demo, and at least one death threat), none of the three NGOs raised the slightest of murmurs of concern, let alone dissent, leaving a ragtag pack of grassrooters struggling year after year to hold the island free from development.

This while Mr. Freeman, now president of a new well-funded 501(c)(3) called Friends of Sears Island ( FOSI is jokingly known around the bay as FOPSI - Friends of Part of Sears Island), in the company of Sierra Club representative Joan Saxe, and Steve Miller of Iszlesboro Islands Land Trust, officially represented the public interest in the negotiations over Sears Island with the shipping industry and MDOT.

Yet without ever consulting that public they were tapped to represent, Joan, Steve and Jim abandoned the public demand to pierce the illegal causeway (a necessity for fish and shellfish restoration). Together, they assented when the industriocrats demanded hundreds more acres of wild wetland western bluff of the island and consensed with Industry to exempt their island splitting plan from environmental review under federal transportation law. With Friends like these, Sears Island hardly needs enemies!

One hope and prays the Maine Superior Court will shortly relieve the Transportation Committee of the burden of implementing PL 277, by the simple expedient of declaring the law in violation of the Maine Constitution's Article III Distribution of Powers.

Meanwhile, over at the marine resources committee, Damon has blocked all requests to testify concerning the habitat of the fish the committee regulates, claiming that the food, habitat and reproductive success of the fishes that the marine sources committee regulates "are not a concern of the committee."


Aug 22, 2009

Sears Island history: 1996 Julian Holmes takes Angus King to task, line by line.

In an Open Letter dated June 5, 1996 to then-Maine Governor Angus King, Wayne, Maine resident Julian Holmes criticizes the Governor's economic development and environmental-protection policies, as they had been applied to Sears Island. King had been forced to pull his cargoport plan earlier that year (short mp3) after the National Marine Fisheries convinces the US Army Corps of engineers to require extensive mitigation to compensate for destroyed and degraded eelgrass meadows that serve as bay juvenile fish habitat.

Holmes' observations evolved from responses to a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Freedom of Access Act (FOA) requests he made of three Federal and three Maine-State agencies to examine files related to the proposal to develop Sears Island as a cargo port.

The files reveal: (footnoted at the end of Holmes letter to Governor King)

1. Failure by certain State and Federal officials to follow carefully the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.
2. Surprisingly skimpy records kept by Governor King on the Sears Island cargo-port, one of King's most highly promoted economic- development plans.
3. EPA's December 13, 1995 disgust with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Ray Owen and also with Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Robin Alden who were directed by the Governor's Chief Legal Counsel to make "detailed" responses to Federal scientists on the impact of the Sears Island cargo-port project. Alden was also attacked by Islesboro Islands Trust director Steve Miller for her letter's politically motivated bad science. Little more than a decade later, Miller now supports division of Saers Island into industrial port zone and protected area. How things change!

Aug 21, 2009

The new Sierra Club: Surrender on Sears Island

T"New" is a relative term. The Club used to use the courts to force good behavior among the pollution dischargers, oldgrowth clearcutter-wannabes, etc. The Sears Island island-whacker wannabes got what they deserved from the Sierra Club attorneys in the 1980s and early 90s. Under the new management, the Sears Island whacker-wannabes got everything they wanted from the Sierra Club "leaders" in Maine.

That is an example of the new Club in all its awful new manifestations. The worst thing (as far as New England goes) was the decision by a small handful of people to break up the New England Sierra Club into state chapters. Unlike the abovenoted New England Club, the Maine Chapter (1) does no litigation; (2) does no pollution permit oversight; (3) does no developer application reviews; does.....nothing, really.

Of course hiking and camping trips are still being organized (and those are very good things), but the fire of activism is out. The leaders squat upon the membership heap like immovable tin gods, batting down efforts to get the maine chapter to do any advocacy, blocking members access to the use of the chapter mailing list to recruit Clubbers to club advocacy projects, declining to participate in public forums to defend the official Sierra Club position on vital issues of the day in Maine, declining to respond to member inquiries about activities carried out by the very 'leaders' purporting to represent all 7,000 of us mere "members" when they do participate in state and federal policymaking. For in their arrogance, the Maine chapter's rulers (one can't call them "leaders), pretend to know what we all think. Pretend to act on our behalf.

Things aren't much better on the national level. Being on the e-list for the national Sierra Club "action alerts", one finds emails from Carl Pope popping up in the inbox with some frequency. President Pope's issues of concern vary across the environmental and conservation sprctrum, but several things never vary in these missives:

* Pope writes that the Club needs more of your money
* The money will be used to "urge" politicians and/or corporadoes to do the right thing.

That's right. No longer is there a Sierra Club Stick, or at best a very flabby, feeble twig. No litigation, or as little as possible. For now the Club has 'matured'. Like Weinstein Smith in George Orwell's "1984", the Sierra Club, under the tutelage of Carl Pope, "loves Big Brother."

Aug 19, 2009

Sears Island. FOPSI flier: Port plan? Island split? Not on our map!

Twas with some trepidation that I received a copy of the semi-glossy flier exuded by FOPSI - that astroturf 501(c)(3) NGO called the Friends of (Part of) Sears Island.

The flier is entitled
Sears Island: Our Legacy. Here it is in all its recidivist glory. A greater paragon of indirection and omission-by- inference, a more creepily careful tip-toeing around the inconvenient truths about the ground and water of our upper bay's wild island and its surrounding shoals, has not graced our area's shop counters, and the third class mail section of our postal service's mailbags, in some time. Some legacy.....

Let's take a look
(Click photos for full sized images

FOSI's (more correctly FOPSI's) "history" (left) does NOT reveal that, as of January 22, 2009, the other 340 acres of Sears Island, & ALL of its groundfish nursery shoal, have been placed in container port zoning & are being marketed by MDOT. Does not note that the activists who successfully fought off McKernan's cargo port, King's woodchip port and Baldacci's LNG port -for threatening Penobscot Bay's marine ecology and commercial fisheries- are now opposing FOPSI'S "permanent solution" of dismembering Sears Island.

Now there's history!

FOPSI's "Permanent Solution" is to dismember Sears Island. Offer up the streams, wetlands and shoals of the western side of the island to MDOT's aggressive efforts to locate foreign investors to build & run what could be the east coast's biggest containerport.

Blasting, dredging, filling and otherwise cold-cocking Mother Nature in her midcoast Maine womb would be far better, in the FOPSIan paradigm, than continuing to subject the island to to the savage effects of "wear and tear from careless use" by dog walkers, fishermen, hikers and cyclists.

A paradigm that our Bay clearly cannot afford. Thanks to an upcoming court decision, we most likely won't have to, either.

Aug 17, 2009

Is Montreal Maine & Atlantic shedding branch lines in prep of planned NAFTA Super Port on Sears Island?

Like a bayonet thrusting into Maine's soft midcoast underbelly, a proposed NAFTA-ruled super container port has been proposed to move container ship-borne consumer goods via rail and trucks on an Atlantic Trade Corridor. The Atlantica Corridor would begin at Searsport and connect to depots in Canada and the American midwest, no doubt passing through junctions with other North South "trade corridors", as these curious pieces of real estate neither fully public nor private, seem to be called.

Naturally, the former Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, nowadays called Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railroad or MMA and at present clinging by its fingernails to bare survival, hopes to profit by being owners of the first segment of that system.

But even fingernails have limits, MMA has discovered. It can only wait so long before insolvency strikes. Its ever-declining (40% drop since last year) freight contracts bring it perilously close to extinction. So the desperate hacking has begun: amputations of 100s of miles of short lines that have serviced interior Maine for a century. Continuing with its Searsport to Montreal operation and dreaming that if a containerport were only built on Sears Island "they" will come, bearing containerized freight.

This Cargo Cult-ism isn't enough, though, to justify dismembering the Atlantic coast's biggest natural ocean island, let alone dredge out its nursery shoals, so vital to Penobscot Bay's and the Greater Gulf of Maine's fisheries productivity, so that foreign-made trinkets can be a wee bit cheaper on the consumer market.

Hopefully, Maine Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hjelm will agree when he issues his decision on whether to put on trial the perpetual conservation easement agreement (pdf) between Maine DOT and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust that empowers that proposed dismemberment.

Aug 15, 2009

Activists into Eco-Yuppies Part 2: Islesboro Islands Trust-worthiness in question

Continuing on in our review of the role of moderate and astroturf green groups in the industrial attack on Sears Island, we come inevitably to the Islesboro Islands Land Trust and its executive director Steve Miller.

What a difference a decade and a half can make! Check out Steve Miller back then:

On September 28 1995, in a letter to the US Army Corps of engineers - one of many IILT letters to federal and state regulators about Sears Island - Mr. Miller urged the Corps "to deny the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) application for a permit to build a cargo port at Sears Island in Searsport, Maine and, in so doing, irreparably alter marine and freshwater wetlands."

A few months later, December 11, 1995, Miller wrote to Maine's Marine Resources Commissioner Robin Alden, telling her that his initial reaction to DMR's
October 13, 1995 letter to the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the federal agencies' evaluation of the effects on fisheries habitat of Angus King's Sears Island port plan: "ranged from disbelief to is abundantly clear that the letter was not intended to further either conservation or development of Maine's marine and estuarine resources."

In his letter to DMR, Miller went on to write: "... I believe the [National Marine Fisheries Service's] Evaluation is pointing to a complex grouping of numerous attributes that, altogether, create an impressive and significant ecological assemblage. I live on an island just two miles south of Sears Island but we do not have nearly the numbers of different species and attributes as were collected in the one 940 acre area on Sears Island. Its proximity to the mainland, while still being an island, as well as its position at the mouth of the river, is truly unique. "

Alas, that was then. This is now:
“The governor’s involvement was very important,” fawned Steve Miller in the Downeast Magazine bizarre tale on How Sears Island was enslaved. “I don’t know that we would have been functioning without the governor’s support. He was critical.”

According to Diane Smith the virago who worked as flak catcher during JUPC meetings, allow Miller and his fellow buy-ins to avoid having to answer any questions from the inquiring audience.

Now it turns out , according to Smith, that Miller finds the idea of filling the bay with container freighters bearing cargo bound for Montreal, and turning the upper bay into as Asthma cluster zone with the incredible array of internal combustion machines aboard ships, trains and trucks at the port, will be somehow "greener". Judging by his happy countenance at the later JUPC meetings, the green that Steve and his bank-owned land trust are actually so thrilled by is known as the Long Green" c-notes. Lots and lots of 'em.

How the mighty have fallen!

Aug 11, 2009

Activists-into-eco-yuppies. The secret role of NGOs in government's 4th attack on Sears Island

The remarkable general & near-absolute refusal of Maine's ENGO nature conservation community to take part in repelling the state's third major Sears Island Port Initiative in 15 years invites analysis. . In Part 1, below, we will consider the state of Sears Island conservation , including a detailed look at one key figure in the so-far-disastrous history of the latest Sears Island struggle.

The present state of this latest attack.
The so-far 4 year long Sears Island Joint Users Planning Committee (JUPC) -a government consensus group decision making organization set up by Maine DOT, shows either superior strategy and initiative on the the pro-port stakeholders on the JUPC committee (state/ municipal government, shipping & rail industry), or an inexplicable nonchalance by the environmental heavies on Sears Island protection: Sierra Club (Maine Chapter), Maine Earth First! under the Friends of (Part of) Sears Island false flag and Islesboro Islands Trust, as far as holding up the ecological end of the Joint Users discussion table has gone.

Defeats so far:
Consider the results since the 2006 start of the Joint Use Planning Committee meetings & events in Searsport, Belfast and Augusta, courtesy of the above ENGOs

* They have given away with scarely a murmur more than ten times the island acreage they so fiercely fought to keep undeveloped by Governor's McKernan and King.

* they have declined to consider the devastating impact of their JUPC decisions on the future functionality of the island's intertidal and subtidal nursery shoals, critical to both Penobscot Bay and Penobscot River restoration.

* They have consensed with the state and federal agencies to waive MDOT carrying out a standardized review of the island's ecology, its recreational resources, and its fisheries and historic & prehistoric assets, normally required under federal guidelines before planning starts on a major transportation-related project.

* They have consensed with the state & industry that there shall be no piercing of the unlawfully-built tidal flow-extinguishing solid stone causeway that MDOT rushed out to Sears Island under the legal pretence they were building a "bridge". Reopening this water route around Sears Island once more will spur the repopulating of the massive clam flats of the area, previously the bay's richest. Yet piercing the Sears Island Causeway is the most important short term need of the Estuary Complex surrounding Sears Island

The grassroots thought: These battle tested veterans of decades of successfully defending the Atlantic
Seaboard's largest, most important state owned unprotected natural island/estuarine complex from the build-it-they-will-come port speculators: surely they will hold their own (and better) in fending off yet one more port-first/enviromental review later plan. This time being the second by Governor John Baldacci.

Surely great meetings would be convened, where the public could help shape the outcome of the fate of this public island, as they so ably had against the McKernan Container port, the King woodchip port, and the Baldacci LNG terminal. All three plans reside in in the Dustbin of History thanks to the inspired and unstinting labors of some remarkable people in the aforementioned organizations.

But that was then. THIS IS NOW: Since they ratified the MDOT-Eco-Yuppy Deal in 2007, and then finalized it earlier this year as a perpetual conservation easement(2.5mb pdf) by MCHT over 2/3 of the public island, the Sierra Club, Earth First!/FOPSI, Islesboro Islands Trust and their allies have continued meeting privately with government and shipping officials, and have even sought and secured funding from them to carry out greensprawl on Sears Island

In fact, since their induction into Maine DOT's Skull & Bones-like closeknit consensus JUPC comunity, all those groups have both declined to answer citizen questions during the Q&A period all have repeatedly, stubbornly refused to come to any community forum to explain and defend their decision to support Island partition. and as Freedom of Access law documents show, bigfoot groups like NRCM were lurking around the edges, seeking their own piece of the pie.



It is one thing to be asleep at the wheel, as , alas, hard working Sierra Club Maine chapter leader Joan Saxe, right, frequently was at the JUPC meetings.
But it is another to agressively take on a role actively supporting the port nidustry and its partisans and in suppressing the island's defenders as much as possible

One of the central figures in causing this remarkable disengagement: the president of a little known, recently tax exempted non profit corporation called Friends Of (Part of) Sears Island, or FOPSI.

FOPSI is a special piece of work. Its 501(c)(3) status set up by IIT's law firm, FO(P)SI is represented at the Table of Power by ex-Earth First!er turned NGO president Jim Freeman. Mr. Freeman lead a series of activist campaigns in 1995 and 1996 opposition to dividing up Sears Island Under Freeman the group methodically weeded out its pro-wild island members, then cut a series of side deals with state officials and the landtrusts that powered up Freeman's group. A deal from which in exchange for cooperation, it is now reaping its financial rewards. As part of the deal, NGO watchdog Freeman warned the governor of an upcoming protest of Baldacci's port plan, and then offered to disrupt the grassroots event, which was held across the avenue from the Governor's mansion - an offer the governor's staff sensibly declined. Freeman's most bizarre action to date, however, was leaving a detailed death threat on one Sears Island defender's answering machine.)

Top FOPSI Jim Freeman - in photos with MDOT Commissioner Cole at a JUPC meeting in Searsport- attended nearly every meeting of the Sears Island Joint Use Planning Committee. Yet, as the recordings of the meetings reveal, beyond the occasional quip Freeman rarely spoke up over the course of the dozens of SIJUPC meetings. (

Freeman, president of newly tax empted Friends of Part of Sears Island, allegedly represented the Public Interest. With his strong history of organizing creative, civilly disobedient actions in response to attacks on Sears Island by former governors Jock McKernan(R) and Angus King (Ind-ustry). Freeman's considerable skills in shaping the "tone" of the successful struggle to save Sears Island from those two port wannabes.

never once consulted with the public as island dismemberment and port plans were hatched, nurtured and expanded by MDOT and ever-greedy-for-acres MCHT and its partners in landtrustery. During those proceedings, President Freeman maintained an eerie silence, a passivity as great as that of Joan Saxe, Maine Sierra Club leader also seated at the green side of the Joint Use Planning Comittee table. Both sat by as the wonderfuly skilled facilitator that MDOT's hired for this odd bit of MDOT Consensus Governance carried out his paymaster's wishes for maximum portifacation of Wasumkeag the industrial decisionmakers and land trusters spun their port 'n' park fantasy into ever more solidity during the two year JUPC decisionmaking process.

Now, as a reward, the FOPSIs, eyes still firmly averted from the codfish nurseries and wild salmon refuges off the third of Sears Island (that pesky "other part" that they so blithely condemned to destruction in return for rights to deepen existed fragementation of the "protected part" of our public island), are striking deals with a variety of state agencies to gain their financial backing for further strikes into the "protected" part of the island.

The silence of the led-to-slaughter ENGO lambs apparently, won't extend FOPSI whenever a debate take off from WERU Community radio; FOPSI's getting fat & happy, and will doubtless genially agree to disagree, grinning all the way to the bank. One is minded of Pickwick's servant Sam Weller, advising his master not to fret about a certain rogue: "Hold still, Sir: wot's the use o' runnin' arter a man as has made his lucky, and got to t' other end of the Burough by this time?" Indeed Jim and his fellow FOPSIs are experiencing bliss as they burrow into the warm bosom of the industrial state.

Leaving nothing out, the FOPSI commander has kept a close alliance as well with State senator from hell Dennis Damon, who chairs both the Transportation and Marine Resources committee. Damon has ruled the Transpo Committee with an iron hand; earlier this year forcing bewildered freshman legislators to approve the plan (mp3) to dismember the island - without reading a line of the agreement first!

As for the Marine Resources Committee, Senator Damon has completely blocked any briefing of that committee on the probable nasty consequences to Penobscot Bay's lobster and groundfish fisheries if a port is actually built and the bay's best nursery shoals are dredged away. Silence is golden, in Damon's book, echoing his pal Jim Freeman's response of stubborn silence to public entreaties that he save the island or at least explain what FOPSi and the rest of the JUPCites were and are up to.

And then there's the Sierra Club. Looking and acting guilty as sin, from Maine chapter to the highest floors of Sierra Club Tower, their San Francisco HQ. Mindful of the historic fight that Sierra Club put up in defense of Sears Island in the 20th century, the current crop of leaders has worked feverishly at seeking public relations solutions that will allow them to gracefully spin their rejection of club members' efforts to get their leaders to explain their part in chopping Sears Island apart. Their Sears Island webpage is a giggle

The Sierra Club's excuse for declining attendance at a proposed public forum at the Alamo Theater in Bucksport next month positively reeks of well thought out disingenuousness:

The Club, Cline has sadly informed forum host WERU FM Community radio, will not take part in any debate ab0ut its role in dismembering Sears Island. Why? For fear that its "volunteer" who would take part in the discussion might be subjected to "slander and abuse" by those ruffian whole-islanders.

The passive-aggressive use of "Sierra Club volunteer" in their excuse to WERU instead of "Sierra Club leader" is clever but reprehensible. Cannot one of the Sierra Club Maine Chapter's leaders, such as the one who an environmental law professor, take part in a open public forum held by a respected public radio station at a well guarded small town venue?
Perhaps criticism from the public, whose "interest" the Club, like the FOPSIans, supposedly represents, would be too undignified a situation for a Member of the Club to risk encountering.

Or is the prospect of having to make a stand at the Alamo Theater in Bucksport is too rich with gloomy portents to bear...?

Sears Island waits for you. And waits. And waits.

Aug 9, 2009

Sears Island: a night at the Opera. 8/8/09

Saturday night August 8, 2009 at the Rockport Opera House was an extraordinary conservation crossover event, one whose repercussions will linger on and on in the ongoing defense of Sears Island in Maine's Penobscot Bay and its adjoining wild fish nurseries.

Click here for audio from the event, which brought together comic satirist Robert Skoglund aka the humble farmer, Nashville recording artist Susan Oliver (a 4th generation Sears Island family, and Ron Huber of Penobscot Bay Watch on behalf of Maine's most endangered island ecosystem Click here for photos of event.

Singer Susan Oliver and her son Gareth Laffely, above, performing at the show. WLBZ/WCSH reporter Sarah Delage met singer Susan and I on Wasumkeag Saturday morning, and illuminated the entire reason for the event as well as remarking on the various characters that visited the state. Here's another link to her story Listen to an audio-only version of story (mp3).

Humble farmer! He opened the Sears Island fundraiser with the grainiest of corny humor, and as documented on the recordings made the building ring again and again and again with laughter for his driest of downeast jokestry.

Then Susan Oliver opened all hearts & ears with her songs of glory, faith and salvation. Read the Bangor Daily News on Susan Oliver Here

Ron Huber time-traveled 'em through 10,000 years of Wasumkeag in 10 minutes. From the mammoth hunters of ice age Maine camping on what was then "Sears Hill", which sprouted from the boggy plain near which the great river flowed to its meeting with Penobscot Bay which was then 40 miles down river to the east, though the water level was rising.

Then 4,500 years ago the Red Paint People aka Maritime Archaic tribes, came venturing across the far North Atlantic, hopskotching across the archipelagos we now call fishing banks from Northern Europe to Canada to...Maine! The flooding increased, the Red Paints moved inland, doggedly digging up and reburying their cemetaries above the advancing tides, before vanishing before a tumult of Susquahannocks that raged briefly across Maine, before themselves disappearing. A thousand years past this dark age, came the Dawn People the gerat Wabanaki confederation that flourished until the 15th century, when European fishermen, traders and colonists began an interaction that overwhelmed them. End of 10 minutes on 10thousand years

The Old Guard was honorably represented in the audience. The people who fought off Brennan's, McKernan's & King's Sears Is port plans- not to mention Baldacci's first attack on Sears Island in 2004, were there, wrath at Sierra Club's betrayal of Sears Island alight in their grim visages. A Prince of Injunctions was there: be afraid MDOT. Very afraid...

Thoughts: a large % of the attendees are country music fans. Concerns about the island are spreading among all of Maine's people, who see the port as another global trade exploitation that will bleed even more of America's wealth and jobs overseas.

At the same time, having a fundraiser at such a classy venue - a place where famous quartets and opera stars perform, elevates the island defenders' 'tone' a little bit, n'est-ce pas?

May we somehow liberate the Sierra Club from the tiny cabal running it now that cozies up with government and industry too much and consults its members too little.

Thanks everyone for their efforts, especially Melani without whom for multiple reasons our event would never have happened, Sally who took the event in hand and calmly explained our case for saving all of Sears Island to each member of the audience as they entered the opera hall, Peter for video-recording the event, and Ruth and everyone else who is keeping the Sears Island protection effort alive and kicking.

Aug 3, 2009

Sears Island. Green sprawl begins. Is port sprawl far behind?

The first wave of development on wild Sears Island comes, disappointingly, if not-too-surprisingly, from the sold-out greens of FOSI, "Friends of Sears Island." It comes in the disarming visage of a ramp or ramps leading from the shore up to a path near the road.

Disarming because, in order to get permission and money to build these little assists, the FOSIs had to agree to avert their eyes to big industry's plan to savage the western side of Sears Island with blasting, dredging and paving for an industrial port. Not exactly a bargain for the island or the bay.

Getting money and headpats from big industry and its agency and NGO cronies, skittering on its newfound slippery slope of "respectability", FOSI has shown itself to be no "friend" to Sears Island, its recent press release in the BDN proclaiming FOSI's love for (part of) the island to the contrary. Photo: thanks, Suz.