Dec 28, 2009

Sears Island - Sierra Club revisionists can't hide their guilt

It is astonishing to read in a recent article by the Portland Press Herald that that "the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club...has long opposed development on Sears Island".

Not so. The New England Chapter of the Sierra Club long opposed any development on Sears Island. It showed its mettle by suing -and winning-in state & federal courts in the 1980s and 90s.  The Maine Chapter, which split off from the New England Chapter in 2000 & is run by a tiny cabal of ultra-moderates, blithely reversed those decades of successful opposition. It has always supported MDOT's Sears Island dismemberment plan.

Maine Sierra Club's failure to protect this part of natural Maine has caused outraged citizens to take up the slack. Three lawsuits are contesting the MDOT's attempt at privatizing publicly-owned Sears Island. Sierra Maine's betrayal of the Club's hard-fought legal victories has given aid and comfort to the industrialists

Another error in the article: Ms. Becky Bartovics did NOT represent the Sierra Club's Maine chapter through the three years of the Sears Island Joint Use Committee. 

That post was held by Joan Saxe, who, as the meeting records show, sat passively by as the industrialists at the table took and took and took. Bartovics was not even a member of the Joint Use Committee. She was an 'alternate', representing the Penobscot Bay Alliance, and was not supposed to participate unless Saxe or another greenie quit the Joint Use Committee.

Eventually, Saxe's passivity at the Joint Use meetings led to her removal. Bartovics switched labels, abandoning her PBA for the Sierra Club moniker, and finished the job of privatizing Sears Island, hand in hand with Islesboro Island Trust's Steve Miller, whose crocodile tears can't quite drown out his role pushing dismemberment of Sears Island.

PPH should've look at the actual record and not relied on Miller and Bartovics's self-serving revisions of their role in putting New England's biggest unprotected wild island & its vital-to-Penobscot-Bay-groundfish nursery shoal at risk. 

Dec 25, 2009

Sears Island - MDOT's $100K search for containerport wannabes got zero responses

Looks like our lawsuits have been doing their work well: MDOT got No responses to its Sears Island RFEI (Request for Expression of Interest. This according to the following letter to the editor in the Free Press by Steve Miller: (links & map added for clarity)

"According to Maine Port Authority chief John Henshaw, MDOT "received no responses to our [Sears Island] RFEI by the November 25 deadline." The Request For Expression of Interest RFEI (34 page pdf ) was prepared for MDOT by California consultant Moffat and Nichol at a cost of $100,000.

Hired by MDOT in July, Henshaw said then that the response to the Moffat and Nichol RFEI "will help the state determine what kind of interest there is in developing a port on the island, as well as what the current needs of the marine transportation industry are, given the state of the economy. That will tell us what ultimately ought to be built there and when."

Given that there were absolutely no responses to the RFEI, it would appear that those who argue that Sears Island cannot economically support a container port are correct.

For example, Chop Hardenbergh, editor of Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports, who spoke to the tugboat pilots organization in May of this year, said, "No new container terminal is needed in Searsport." He went on to say, "Studies claiming we need a new terminal in Searsport start with questionable assumptions, miss the boat on local need and port congestion elsewhere, over-estimate the value of rail capability, and anticipate a tsunami of traffic that is a mirage."

It is unclear what MDOT will do with the 350-acre portion of Sears Island set aside for possible port development now that it is known there is zero marine industry interest in building a container terminal on Sears Island."

Stephen Miller, Islesboro Islands Trust"


Dec 16, 2009

Maine Laws & Regs Affecting Wind Power Development in State’s Coastal Waters

Jeff Pidot, who recently retired from a career in the Maine Attorney General's Natural Resources Division  office - a career pretty much sans reproach -  wrote an advisory report back in August at the request of the Maine State  Planning Office.  It outlines ocean windfarm-related laws & regulations affecting Maine state waters. The  31 page report  is entitled "An Independent Study of Submerged Lands Leasing and Regulatory Issues Affecting Wind Power Development in Maine’s Coastal Waters" (pdf) Some excerpts and extracts:

""Significant development projects in Maine’s coastal waters require legally independent decisions by two   State agencies: a submerged lands lease issued by the Department of Conservation (Bureau of Parks and Lands); and regulatory permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.

* Leasing decisions are made by the Bureau of Parks and Lands in the Department of Conservation
* Regulatory permitting is the primary responsibility of the Maine DEP 
* LURC and some coastal municipalities also have (lesser) roles

"Public Trust Doctrine. "In considering options for utilization of Maine’s coastal waters for wind power development, one must start with the important underlying principle that these lands and waters are held by the State, not as an absolute proprietor, but in a fiduciary capacity as trustee for the benefit of Maine people. "

"The public trust under which these lands are held imposes important restraints on their disposition to and use by private parties, and so must inform government decisions and processes in this regard."
"Although Maine law does not presently include wind power as one of the recognized public trust uses of the State’s coastal waters and submerged lands, as discussed below the Legislature may exercise its judgment to do so by making requisite findings of public needs and benefits of alternative energy production for which Maine’s coastal waters provide unique opportunities.

"Under appropriate legislative authorization, leases and other conveyances enabling wind power development should be based on adequate consideration of trust-related uses and values, mitigation of harms to those uses and values, appropriate restoration of the lands affected, and adequate compensation to the public for the use of its trust resources."

Read the  31 page report (pdf) for details

Dec 14, 2009

Oceans' warp uncovered - woof already known

The cross-oceanic striations - source of effectively limitless energy that our oceans' wildlife cavort about in.
These are the warp of  Aphrodite's Loom, with the greater currents (Gulf Stream, etc) being the woof.

 Who shall be the inventor whose gear can pull juice out of these 500 kilometer-long (crest to crest),  6 centimeter tall (trough to crest) ocean waves that crisscross the seven seas  in 150 kilometer wide bands stretching from the surface to the seafloor, traveling at a stately 1-1.5 centimeters per second?  That inventor will get his or her own Rushmore-like mountain by a thankful global community

What causes the striped flows? “They are a fascinating new aspect to the ocean’s circulation, but the jury is still out on the mechanisms leading to their formation,” says Geoff Vallis of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University." 

Look at the striation currents swirl endlessly around and around Antarctica: They're the jewel. There's Aphrodite's Spinning Wheel! 15,000 mile around.

Dec 9, 2009

Maine Legislature: 159 new bills for this winter session.

The Maine Legislature will hear 159 new bills in the session coming up this winter;  click here to read the titles and sponsors of 159  Legislative Requests (LRs) accepted by the Legislative Council.  (Note this is a 16 page pdf file)  These LRs will shortly turn into LDs. They will join these bills held over from the last legislative session (6pg pdf) Marine resources holdover bills include a scallop area management bill &competing proposals for saltwater recreational fishing registration vs. license

Below,  bills from the  list of 159 new bills that have environmental or conservation or sociological implications worth keeping watch on.

* Senator Mills LR: 2474 An Act To Require That Expedited Wind Energy Development Projects Provide a Tangible Benefit to Maine Ratepayers in the Form of Discounts to Future Electric Rates

* Representative Pingree: LR 2183 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Noise Limitations on Wind Turbines; and LR: 2182 An Act To Clarify Maine's Phaseout of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers

* Representative Flaherty: LR: 2339 An Act To Protect the Environment and Natural Resources of the State by Regulating the Discharge of Certain Substances into the Environment

* Senator Weston LR: 2204 An Act To Create the Lincolnville Sewer District

* Representative O'Brien LR: 2067  An Act To Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticides Applications Using Aircraft or Air-carrier Equipment

* Representative Mazurek   LR: 2081  An Act To Allow Deer Hunting with Shotguns Only in Owls Head During Firearms Season

* Representative Cushing LR: 2286  An Act To Encourage Extended Stays in Maine Waters

* Representative Beaudette R: 2392 An Act To Clarify the Informed Growth Act

* Representative Piotti LR: 2300  An Act To Modify the Maine Tax Code To Support Renewable Energy

* Representative MacDonald LR: 2033 An Act To Stimulate the Maine Economy and Promote the Development of Maine's Priority Transportation Infrastructure Needs

* Senator Trahan  LR: 2208    An Act To Establish Emergency Zones

* Representative Schatz: LR: 2289 An Act To Ensure Humane Treatment for Special Management Prisoners

* Senator Damon  LR: 2364   An Act To Regulate the Use of Traffic Surveillance Cameras

Dec 7, 2009

Smelt, lobsters, seaweed, shrimp, clams on agenda DMR advisory mtg 12/16/09

Smelt, lobsters, seaweed,  shrimp and clams  are on the agenda for the DMR Advisory Council meeting, December 16, 2009 1:00 p.m. at the   Natural Resource Service Center in Hallowell. The public is welcome to attend. Directions here.
The following regulations will be voted upon :

Chapter 40 Smelt Regulations and Chapter 55 Gear Restrictions, sections 20, 60 and 97
(C. Enterline) (PDF format, 68KB, 8 pages)
Chapter 22 Retail Shellfish (New), & Chapter 9.01(D) Update (B. Chamberlain)
(PDF format, 45KB, 6 pages).
Chapter 105 Safety Regulations (C. Fetterman) (PDF format, 134KB, 12 pages)
Chapter 8.20(N) Landings Program, Harvester Reporting, Lobster Harvest (S. Cotnoir)
(PDF format, 11KB, 1 page)
Chapter 25.09 Procedure for Issuing Seed Lobster Permits, and Chapter 25.90(A)(2) & (D)(2) citation correction (D. Gilbert) (PDF format, 21KB, 3 pages)
Chapter 29 Seaweed and Chapter 8 Landings Program – amend for Seaweed Buyer’s surcharge rules (P. Thayer) (PDF format, 115KB, 11 pages)
Chapter 11.10(H)(1,2,8) Scallops - Technical corrections to closure line descriptions (Lt. Cornish)
(PDF format, 11KB, 1 page)
Chapter 1 Watercraft Excise Tax Decal (Col. Fessenden) (PDF format, 11KB, 1 page)
Chapter 45.05(1)(A)(2) Shrimp Season, 2009– 2010 (regular rulemaking) (L. Churchill)
(PDF format, 9KB, 1 page)

nyt photo