May 22, 2014

Cabot Lyman hotel plan gets overwhelming NO from Rockland citizens at 5/20/14 hearing before Rockland planning board

Audio recordings from the 5/20/14 Rockland planning board meeting on Cabot Lyman's application to build a hotel at the intersection of  Main and Pleasant streets. Listen as people speak  eloquently or plainly in defense of their neighborhood against this shining example of "Dumb Growth"

1. Architect Pamela Hawkes (in process)  10 minutes

May 8, 2014

Dagher gets knife in back from US Dept of Energy - Maine's not an ocean windpower grant finalist!

Appears that the feds figured out the good doctor Dagher just isn't ready for prime time.

Maine didn't get the $46 million dollar grant to build two fullsize floating windturbines off Monhegan.

The UMaine-led floating ocean winturbines project has suffered terribly from the near paranoid insularity of the project under  Principle Investigator Dagher, who spurned suggestions from anyone outside his charmed circle. (Charmed by the allure of all those tens of millions and what a grand time they would've had expending it

DeepCwind is getting three million federal bucks in the nationwide competitino. but according to a University source this 3 million isn't even enough to make a single full size prototype. One that can actually be tested, unlike the ridiculous toy windmill that the Maine the windies rushed out and wouldn't take out to the test area - They knew it would sink! 

So the feds took a look at this  furtive public-be-damned-operation  that UMaine engineering professor Habib Dagher, Principal Investigator  for the DeepCwind Consortium and its spin off progeny has been running.

They gazed upon the tiny toy windturbine bobbing off Castine. Too shabbily built to be safely tested at the test site off Monhegan, the design inspired no confidence  among the grantors. Where did the money  given DeepCwind to buld a fullscale prototype go? they must have wondered!

This is an important stay.  The University and its hangers-on in the DeepCwind Consortium presumably figured that if they could get away with  soiling Monhegan's viewshed with its  heavy public use and high scenic values, then all marine viewsheds of the Maine coast are vulnerable. Maine has spent too many years stewarding        

Floating off shore windpower extraction is worth trying out, but not when  it is needlessly view-polluting; or within the Gulf's  ecologically (hence economically) vital coastal currents. Nor are great sweeping blades the only way to extract energy from the seawind.   Dr. Dagher should follow his own advice and commit to siting his floaters beyond the curvature of the earth from any inhabited part of Maine.

The scent of imminent Big Money  may have pushed that civic responsibility from his mind. Now that DeepCwind Consortium and its spinoff children are no longer suffering that temptation, perhaps they will step outside of their echo chamber and listen - really LISTEN -to the existing Gulf of Maine communities of interest about how to avoid wrecking  or damaging their existing economic and cultural sectors and the manylayered heavily webbed ecosystem that fills these waters.

May 3, 2014

Maine Trawl survey comes to Penobscot Bay May 19th through the 23rd

Trawl Survey Time again!

Some of us hate 'em. Some revel in the data. Others  like the photos and videos  the surveyors take of the catches as they move from New Hampshire: a snapshot of life on Maine's coastal seafloors.

Sez DMR: "The Inshore Groundfish Trawl Survey is a fisheries independent assessment of living resources inside the coastal waters of Maine and New Hampshire. Its purpose is to fill a significant information gap that hampers efficient management of Maine’s fishing industry."

Links below are to large images of navigation chart that show the locations within Penobscot Bay and just outside it that the Maine trawl survey will visit with the planned dragging lines.
Day 11, tentatively May 19th – E of Monhegan to Tenants Hbr.
Day 12, tentatively May 20th – Upper Penobscot Bay
Day 13, tentatively May 21st – 1 Mile Ridge and Matinicus SSW
Day 14, tentatively May 22nd – SE of Matinicus Rock to Seal Is.
Day 15, tentatively May 23rd – East Penobscot Bay
Dates  approximate.  Possible stormy weather or stormy lobstermen. (see below)

"Gear consists of a modified shrimp net with a 2 inch mesh in wings and ½ inch mesh liner in the cod end. Foot rope and head ropes are 57' and 70' respectively, with 6 inch rubber cookies.  The F/V Robert Michael, a Northeast 54’ from Portland, ME is used as the platform vessel for this survey."  (End of excerpt.)
Lobstermen  escorting the  Maine trawl survey  boat out of the waters off Corea, Maine in 2001.
 In the past, lobstermen have been outraged by the number of shedder lobsters killed or declawed  by the rough treatment they receive, packed into a trawl's cod end bag. In this 2001 photo several dozen expressed their discontent by escorting the Maine trawl survey boat out of the waters off Corea where most lobsters were in that soft shelled shedder stage

"Noted one Corea fisherman, Arvin Young: "I told them they can't drag here, it's all soft shell lobsters. It's just so ridiculous what they were doing. We've been working for years on conservation, and they drag right through." 
[from: Fishermens Voice, November 2001]

May 2, 2014

MLA holds lobstermen-only dredge issue presentation in Belfast - Interesting people I met.

I was up at the Belfast library this morning where the Maine Lobstermens Associationwasosting a meeting for lobstermen only with the dredging interests. These include John Henshaw Maine Port Authority, David Gelinas Penobscot Bay & River Pilots, Jay Clements ACOE & Marina Lentine Eggett MDEP on "Private Dredge projects, dredging the piers; Steve Wolfe Army Corps of Engineers expert on Testing dredge and dumping dredge spoils. Attached is a copy of their agenda fopr the meeting and a photo of lobstering filing into the meeting room at the library.

The dredge fighters were there as well, filling the sidewalk in front of the library, knots of fishfolk and and a few 

others seem to have it together in a rather ferocious way (though until they make Maine's US Senators get their boots off the Corps of Engineers neck, so the agency _can_ call for an EIS they may make little progress). 

The lobstermen-only decision is because fishing leaders have noticed that at public hearings on dredging where the greater public is there and often quite emphatic in their positions, the fishfolk feel a bit crowded out and unable to ask questions without the public ooohing or booing at what they say. Its a societal Heisenberg uncertainty principle sort of thing, where the observer modifies the observed and we anti-expansion dredge environmental interests were doing some modifying. So like it or not there it is. 

I went into the room before it started and after an encounter with a worried-then-chilled-out MLA exec director, I got hold of John Henshaw of the port authority. John, you know what I want answered; when can I get you on a landline for the interview? Bloke travels around quite a lot and cellphones sound tinny, so about a week of the 12th Henshaw said he'll be back at his desk in his cubicle at MDOT HQ. He promised.

Then I had to hurry because Dave Gelinas was there and I needed to talk Belfast-to-Bangor river corridor; reenergizing the Penobscot Riverside towns' access to river deliveries on non toxic cargoes. David urged me to contact the chambers of commerce for the river towns. A great idea and I'll do so.

Then it was almost time to go; the megadredge meeting was about to start. I went out and talked with lobsterman Richard Nelson about the other end of the bay, where the UMaine is leading a well conceived but awful-in-execution offshore floating wind turbine. Nelson's been keeping an eye on the offshore wind wannabees about as long as I have; but because his Way is of thoughtful inquiry and reflection, the Windies thought they could get him to stand up at an event and give a thumbs-up to their plan (keep in mind that the state standard is 10 miles offshore including 10 miles away from inhabited islands. That they choose less than 3 miles from an island with one of the most painted seascapes in America , a world class tourist destination and arts colony, shows a certain level of contempt for the irreplaceable scenic assets of an island that has little else but a seasonal lobster fishery.

Happily there are plenty of dissident lobstermen at the meeting , so no wool is going to get pulled over anyone's eyes. It just ended; I'll check in with my lobstering sources who attended in a short time. There will also be a teach-in by dredge opponents after the meeting - but I was disinvited - told I should "stay in the weeds" and not speak there. While Maine Sierra Club and other NGOs held forth!  Such is life.