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!

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