Sep 25, 2015

Maine site law. Big changes proposed by outgoing DEP Commissioner.

Bay friends, these changes could have huge repercussions.. Millions of (wild) lives at stake.
Dumping dredge spoils. Creating a plume.
WHAT:  Maine DEP is revising several parts of its Site Location of Development  Act.(link to background, law and more) 
This is the law that requires a look not only at the direct impact of a development project on its immediate eco-footprint, but also: (1) the indirect impacts the development could have on nearby or connnected environments & ecosystems,  and  (2) the cumulative impact it would have when added to already existing developments. 

Changes to the rules implementing this important law need close examination!

DEP proposes changes to Chapters 373, 375 & 380 rules
Commissioner Aho: See no evil.

Existing wording  Chapter 373  ** Chapter 375 ** Chapter 380  (pdf)
Proposed Changes
Ch 373 Financial Capacity and Technical Ability.8pg   Almost complete replacement
Ch 375  No adverse effect on the natural environment  39pgs Replaces sec 16,17,18 
Ch 380: Long term construction projects 5pgs Completely replaces "Planning Permit"
All three chapters in one pdf

MDEP factsheet on the proposed changes (pdf)

FOPB Prelim Observations
Chapter 373   
Every reference to "Board of Environmental Protection" is removed.
Every mention of "pollution" is removed except once: "pollution abatement" is mentioned 

Chap 375   Replaces most of the solid waste, odor and water supply sections of the chapter
16.  Adequate Provision for Solid Waste Disposal  
17.  Adequate Provisions for the Control of Odors
18.  Adequate Provision for Securing and Maintaining Sufficient and Healthful Water Supplies

Chap 380 replaces Planning Permit" wording with  "Long term construction projects" 

Lobsterman speaks to Board of Environmental Protection  earlier this year
BACKSTORY In 1970, the federal government enacted the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which required federal agencies to evaluate the environmental effects of  federal undertakings and permitting. Many states followed suit with so-called ‘‘mini NEPA’’ laws, requiring evaluation of the environmental impacts of state and local actions. Maine's Site Location of Development Act  is the state's mini-NEPA law.


Sep 16, 2015

FOAA responses of Rockland officials re Gas Plant plan September 2015

 On September 4, 2015, Friends of Penobscot Bay filed a freedom of access act request with  six members of the Rockland City government. We asked for  documents  "from between July 28 2015 and September 4, 2015, inclusive, that pertain to the proposed natural gas cogeneration power plant  and pipeline proposals being considered In or connecting to Rockland" .

City Council member Larry Pritchett 150 pages  
*   Pritchett's response broken into six 25 page parts

Audra Caler Bell, Economic Development Dir 19 pages

* Kevin Beal City Attorney 14 pages

* James Chaousis City Manager 142 pages 

* City Mayor Frank Isganitis 37 pages 

* City treatment Plant Operator Terry Pinto 1page 

Sep 8, 2015

Searsport megadredge plan is withdrawn!

Great News!
The megadredge plan for Searsport Harbor has been withdrawn!

The Army Corps of Engineers sent this letter today to Maine DEP
The terse letter from Corps permit reviewer Barbara Blumeris's letter  to Jim Beyer of Maine DEP says it all:

Mr. Jim Beyer, Regional Licensing Compliance Manager
Bureau of Land Quality, Maine Department
Eastern Maine Regional Office
106 Hogan Road Suite 6
Bangor, Maine 04401

Dear Mr. Beyer,

"The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine DOT are withdrawing the Water Quality Certification (WQC)/ Natural Resources Protection Act application for the Searsport Harbor , Searsport Maine navigation maintenance and improvement project. We may consider submitting a revised application for a Water Quality Certification at a later date. Thank you for your assistance and let us know if any additional information is required.

Sincerely: Barbara Blumeris, Project Manager US Army Corps of Engineers/New England District 696 Virginia Road, Concord, Massachusetts 01742 Phone (978) 318 873 7

Kim Ervin Tucker conquers the Corps once more! Thanks Kim!