Mar 8, 2015

Dredge Talk at 2015 Maine Fishermens Forum: Searsport megadredge plan not discussed!

DMR's Kohl Kanwit 
As predicted, the 3 agencies chiefly involved in reviewing the controversial Searsport Harbor mega-dredge plan steered clear of the topic in their all-about-the-process talk at Maine Fishermen's Forum. Though one of the proposed dredge spoil dumpsites was literally within view of meeting participants!

Hosted by DMR public health director Kohn Kanwit, the speakers from Army Corps and DEP asserted ignorance of the Searsport "channel widening project and wandered over the well trodden ground of dredging basics.DMR's Denis Nault, too, focused his presentation to non-local dredgery. Here are MP3s of each speaker and of the Q&A session.

1. Introduction by Kanwit and Army Corps Mike Walsh 18min
2. Maine DEP John Cullen 5min 25sec
3. Maine DMR Denis Nault 12 min 25sec
4. Question and Answer 1  10min 15sec  
5. Question and Answer 2  6min 30sec 
6. Question and Answer 3  8min 47sec //
7. Question and Answer 4 to end   7min 55sec  
8. Walsh says  Searsport dredge not on meeting off topic 14sec

Mike Walsh, Army Corps of Engineers
The audience was there to hear these "officials" describe this biggest ever dredge project  in Maine.  
Instead, Army Corps' Mike Walsh professed ignorance of the Searsport project and did an 18 minute "all about dredging" powerpoint snoozer.  

Then DEP's John Cullen  stepped up to the plate. Mercifully brief, Cullen also informed the audience that he knew nothing about the Searsport megadredge and, like Walsh rambled on with generalities about dredge permit reviewing basics. 

Cullen was followed by DMR's Denis Nault, who frittered away 12
DMR's Denis Nault
minutes describing - for the upteenth time to most of the audience - even more generalities about the dredging process. 

 Other officials lurked in the audience, occasionally popping up to add their two cents.

Jay Clement, Army Corps of Engineers
These included Army Corps of Engineers   project reviewer Jay Clement, who put in a few words once he saw  how the "know nothing" stance of the other 3 officials was angering the audience.

DMR attorney Meredith Mendelson popped up toward the end and unhelpfully brushed aside citizen concerns raised about the cumulative impacts of industrialization on the upper bay and lower river that the dredge project would induce. 
Meredith Mendelson, DMR

Mendelson seems to believe that because the project had gotten its earliest approvals  years ago,and indudstrial interests favored it, it was a done deal. Too late to divert the mammoth project an inch from its projected course. Admirably informed in fishery management, it appears that she needs a refresher course on Maine Site Law. 

Several members of the audience spoke out. 

Richard Nelson
Lobsterman Richard Nelson  of Friendship challenged the idea of holding a dredging info meeting that ignored the local dredging project. 

Ron Huber of Friends of Penobsot Bay agreed and further criticized the DMR and MDEP for ignoring the cumulative impacts law.Vivian Newman of South Thomaston, and several others also spoke up.

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