Mar 30, 2016

Big Gas. Rockland planning board reviews, approves gas ordinance changes

On March 29, 2016  the Rockland Planning Board reviewed amended, then approved the latest draft of  proposed changes to two ordinances sections to set standards that Big Gas or any other power-generator wannabees would have to meet if they wanted to set up in that city.  The drafts will be considered twice by the city council   Listen below by clicking on the meeting links.
PDF copies of draft ordinances used at the meeting  draft chapter 16     draft chapter 19  

Audio of 3/29/16 planning board meeting  meeting 
    Intro and Chapter 16 Site Plan Review

  2. Chapter 19  emissions changes  sec 19- sec 302 to 19-309
  A. Broke into sections Part 1  10min30sec  ** Part 2 10 minutes  Part 3  12minutes  **  Part 4  7minutes  

More to come(Noise) 

(1) *One chapter 16 change the PB  adopted was based on my urging them to add notifying the abutting townswhen applications recvd  to the first paragraph - not just abutting property owners.  Ended up  adopting notifying the county about proposals for utility scale gasplants - they would have to deal with emergency management if it blew or otherwise required evacuation disaster response etc  With the understanding  that the county would sent  the notifications, if any, to Rockland's abutting town's  emergency planners.

(1) Some of the board members said that they felt the proposed changes to Zoning and Performance Standards were stringent enough to deter most would be gas burners especially those unwilling to be smaller and meet tighter limits than they'd face in other towns.  Some thought  deter ALL gas wannabees

Mar 27, 2016

Rockland Big Gas/Big Energy draft ordinance public Q&A session (AUDIO) 3/24/16

On March 24, 2016 area residents gathered at Rockland City Hall  to quiz the panel drafting a city power plant ordinance, for both gas power plants and solar farms.  
Courier Gazette coverage of the meeting

The panel said that it is working to "beef up" the city's performance standards for all energy  applications, not only Big Gas

Residents raised a variety of concerns  Below listen to audio recordings of the meeting. More to come

Intro slide show, in process 15min
Q&A 1  Power plant sizes 8min 38sec
Q&A 2 Water Use. 8min 10sec
Q&A 3 Water use 2. 8min 49sec
Q&A 4 Site Use 8min10sec
Q&A 5 Water Use 14min 30sec

Rockland Breakwater - Texters beware!

Rockland Breakwater - texters beware.
Many an ankle has been broken by incautious visitors . 
See image of full causeway (arrow points to  site below)
Closeup of above, looking toward land

Upper end of the main intertidal fissure
Closeup of above

The one below almost got me when I wasn't looking.


Another foot catcher

Impacts to Marine Fisheries Habitat from Nonfishing Activities in the NE US. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-NE-209

NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE-209

Impacts to Marine Fisheries Habitat 
from Nonfishing Activities 
in the Northeastern United States  

Table of Contents

Mar 24, 2016

Conserving Inshore Juvenile Cod Habitat via HAPCs. Key government and academic guidance documents

Habitat Area of Particular Concern, for Inshore Juvenile Atlantic Cod

Orange = Inshore juvenile cod HAPC.
Offshore coral canyon HAPCs not shown .
1. Contacts
2. Summary: What's an HAPC?
3. What are Land based impacts to HAPCs?
4. Selection process
5. Maps of 2 alternatives for inshore juvenile cod HAPC. (MLW to 20 meters is Council's preference
6. Land-based impacts to inshore juvenile Atlantic Cod HAPC
7. Research and conservation of inshore juvenile atlantic cod habitat area of particular concern

1.  Contacts  
Michelle Bachman NEFMC fishery analyst   978/465-0492 ext 120

*  Andy Applegate NEFMC Ecosystem based fishery management   (978) 465-0492 (ext. 114)  email:

* Ron Huber, Friends of Penobscot Bay 207-691-7485

2. What are  Habitat Areas of Particular Concern?
HAPCs are being delineated in the waters around the American coasts. New England Fishery Management Council-delineated HAPCs are  specific marine locations that fishermen, academics, the New England Fishery Management Council NEFMC, NOAA and NGOs come to agreement  as being  particularly essential habitats during some point in the lives of the finfish and shellfish species that commercial and recreational marine fisheries capture.

NEFMC's Description of HAPCs "The intent of the habitat areas of particular concern designation is to identify those areas that are known to be important to species which are in need of additional levels of protection from adverse impacts, "Designation of habitat areas of particular concern is intended to determine what areas within EFH should receive more of the Council's and NMFS' attention when providing comments on federal and state actions, and in establishing higher standards to protect and/or restore such habitat".  NOAA's definition of Habitat Ares of Particular Concern 

3. Land based impacts to HAPC. 
 NOAA Tech Memo Impacts to Marine Fisheries Habitat from Nonfishing Activities  in the Northeastern United States

4. Selection Criteria  and decision matrix. To become listed as an HAPC the location must meet  a majority of these criteria. See Habitat
1a. Importance of Historic Ecological Function 
1b. Importance of Current  Ecological Function
2.  Sensitivity to Anthropogenic Stresses
3.  Extent of Current or Future Development Stresses
4.  Rarity of the Habitat Type

4. Delineator. The New England Fishery Management Council is responsible for identifying HAPCs in the waters from Rhode Island to the Canadian border, from the low tide shores to the entire American EEZ portion of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, as well as the Nantucket Shoals south of Cape Cod 

Inshore Juvenile Atlantic Cod HAPC  
In 1999  NEFMC first concluded  that the shallow waters of New England meet all of the criteria except (4) Rarity of the habitat type. Evaluations since then have confirmed their earlier conclusions.  

The  Council found that the shallows of our New England coasts:
1a. Have well documented historic ecological functions for juvenile atlantic cod and their ecological partners,
1b. Have well documented  current ecological functions for juvenile atlantic cod and their ecological partners,
2. Are sensitive to anthropogenic stresses, such as  dredging, wastewater discharges, pesticide runoff
3. Are under stress from development, with more development pressures anticipated.
4. Are a common habitat type. Maine has more than 5,000 miles of shoreline, the amount within 65 feet of shore must be a large number of square miles

In 2004 the council prepared a review of the known habitat needs of inshore juvenile atlantic cod 
In 2006  the council  examined the inshore juvenile cod HAPC and looked at other  HAPC proposals aroudn the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank (72pg pdf)
In 2013 the NEFMC DEIS on HAPCs refined its proposal for the Juvenile Atlantic Cod Habitat Area of Particular Concern 

Alternatives: The Council set two alternatives. These are: mean low water to either the 10 meter  or 20 meter depth contour,. The Council's preferred alternative is the 20 meter depth contour alternative   

Note: Friends of Penobscot Bay supports the low water to 10 meter depth contour as most vulnerable to landbased impacts, as well as easy to delineate. FOPB feels that 20 meter depth contour covers habitats so much  less impacted as to be 

New Eng inshore juvenile cod HAP Mean highwater to 20 meter depth contour

Alternative inshore juvenile cod HAPC map  0 to 10 meters    closeup of the ten meter alternative

Reports and research relevant to the inshore Juvenile Atlantic cod HAPC

List of  landbased threats to inshore juvenile atlantic cod   Text version of list

HAPC guidance on Human Activities that Impact Fish Habitat.- MidAtlantic Fishery Mgmt Council

Impacts to Marine Fisheries Habitat from Non-fishing activities in the NE US

Hatchling cod need soft microplankton for first food  GLOBEC 1998
 * Text version Scott M. Gallager, Jeff Van Keuren and Phillip Alatalo. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.1998

Spatial Distribution of Ages 0 and 1 Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) off the Eastern Massachusetts Coast, 1978-1999, Relative to ‘Habitat Area of Special Concern’ (based on inshore trawl surveys)

Proposal to Establish a Marine Sanctuary in Midcoast Maine. 1989. Part 1  Part Two

Mar 17, 2016

Big Gas 3/22/16. Rockland's latest draft of utility scale powerplant ordinance. Plus Index & Links

Rockland, Maine is lobster capitol of Maine. This small city on the western shore of  Penobscot Bay is in the throes of developing a powerplant ordinance geared toward  gasburning powerplants. Big Gas is having a big say in its contentsPlease take a look at the March 22, 2016 draft  (below) and tell us what you think.  NOTE: Coming EventMarch 24, 2016   Public review of latest version of the energy ordinances..

At issue: Gas dealmaker Energy Management Inc has been pushing a plan to build a fueled-by-tanker-truck gas power plant in Rockland. This would be follwed by  running gas pipelines  along the western shore of Penobscot Bay to Belfast.  Recent media coverage

March 22, 2016 version.
AIndex of  draft changes  below.  Existing Chapter 16 Site Plan Review  and Ch 19 Zoning and Planning 
3/22/16 Changes to Chapter 16 of Rockland Ordinance
C. 3/22/16 Changes to Chapter 19 of Rockland Ordinance

Earlier version:
February 23, 2016 version of draft utility powerplant ordinance changes

2/23/16 Changes to Chapter 16 of Rockland Ordinance Site review and planning    yellow=most recent edits, red=previous changes 

2/2316_Changes to Chapter 19 of Rockland Ordinances  (Performance standards)  
yellow=most recent edits, red=previous changes 

Fr left:Pro-gas Rockland city officials:city atty Beal. Mayor Ruf,
 city mgr Chaousis & City Councilor Clayton (facing away)

Hear the above two  draft documents discussed & further amended  at the 3/10/16  Rockland planning board meeting   Audio mp3s)

Mar 13, 2016

Governor's bill to prevent national monuments in Maine gets Ought NOT to Pass

In a  7 to 6 vote,  the state and local government committee gave an Ought Not To Pass to LD 1600

During the work session,   Maine AG's office explained that the federal supremacy clause supercedes the intent of the legislation.  The "Enclave Clause" of the US constitution  requires state consent to federal acquisition. State can "withhold its consent" to the federal acquisition obtaining the land. This will give the state  limited co-management of the property. But the state  couldn't do anything that violated  the federal purposes of managing that piece of land.

"Can't prevent the acquisition of the land nor frustrate what the federal government is trying to do there. "

Sec. 1. 1 MRSA §15  is amended to read:
§ 15. Consent of Legislature to acquisition of land by United States for public buildings; record of conveyances
In accordance with the Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section VIII, Clause 17, and Acts of Congress in such cases provided, the consent of the Legislature is given to the acquisition by the United States, or under its authority, by purchase, condemnation or otherwise, of any land in this State required for the erection of lighthouses or for sites for customhouses, courthouses, post offices, arsenals or other public buildings, or for any other purposes of the government. Deeds and conveyances or title papers for the same shall must be recorded upon the land records of the county or registry district in which the land so conveyed may lie; and in like manner may be recorded a sufficient description by metes and bounds, courses and distances, of any tracts and legal divisions of any public lands belonging to the United States set apart by the general government for either of the purposes before mentioned, by an order, patent or other official paper so describing such land. These deeds and conveyances or title papers must contain a covenant requiring that all right, title and interest in the property revert to the grantor if the United States attempts to designate this property a national monument pursuant to 54 United States Code, Section 320301 (2015).

Mar 11, 2016

Rockland Planning Board AUDIO 3/10/16 energy ordinance development

MP3 audio of the 3/10/16  Rockland planning board discussion of its draft powerplant ordinance

Part 1  34min  *  Part 2  19 min  *  Part 3  20  min * Part 4  51min   *  Part 5 16min *   Part 6  4min

The board meeting included Larry Pritchett and Nathan Davis  repping the energy committee. It started as an informal discussion while waiting for tardy boardmembers to show up.  Then there was a public speaking opportunity that I used to urge the board to remember that they are not tasked to make the most industry friendly powerplant ordinance, but to make the most precautionary, most people protective and nature protective  ordinance possible.

Then came the ordinance  work

Mar 8, 2016

Maine Dredge Team March 7, 2016 meetings Audio mp3s of the interagency meeting

Monday March 7th, the Maine Interagency Dredge Team met in Augusta. 
Listen to audio from the event.

Intro of Dredge team 4min 19sec |

Part 1 21 min |

Part 2 22min |

Part 3. 16min

Participants were there to discuss dredging projects underway and under consideration. This included the Searport Harbor expansion dredge project, as well as other harbors along the Maine coast.
The public was represented by eco-attorney Kim Ervin Tucker of Lincolnville Beach, Becky Bartovics, Maine Sierra Club, North Haven Island, and Ron Huber, Friends of Penobscot Bay, Rockland.   The meeting allowed public participation by speakerphone 

The dredge team included: 
Pete Tischbein, Army Corp Craig Martin, navigation section, ACOE Wendy ____ Army Corp of Engineers planning John Chelley Chief of planning, f Army Corps Mark Habel Corps new eng, navigation Ed O'Donnel chief navigation section and the ONF program Dennis Nault Maine DMR Rob Elder MDOT trade office Maine DEP ____ Green Paul Mercer, commissioner DEP Mark Bergeron on MDEP Maine Geological Survey Maine Port Authority - Dredge committee Patty Aho, Sen Collins office staffer, Sen Collins for York County Pingree staffer Portland Senator Angus King staffer Tom Dobbins Portland harbor commission Jim Katz Saco coastal waters chief Patrick Fox Saco Payne, Normandeau Associates Biddeford harbor commission Wells harbormaster & town manager
Also attending: Maine Lobstering Union members (3) Kim Tucker Lawyer for Maine Lobstering Union David Black, Belfast Zone D lobsterman

The meeting was frustrating for critics of the Searport harbor dredge plan (aerial photo) . Dredging officials told Tucker at first that they had absolutely no new information about when the withdrawn Searsport harbor expansion dredge project might be reactivated. She managed to pull a few things out of them, like the identity of the till-now army corps officials in DC are who will decide when the Sarsport : Tab Brown, Army Corp Chief of Policy Regarding the Big Gas plan, the Corp's <Edward.G.O'>, told Huber that they have not received any communications at all about natural gas pipelines coming down from Massachusetts to the Penobscot Bay coast (with all the stream & river crossings required by such pipelines etc, the Corp will be involved. Huber also brought up the failing condition of the surface of the Rockland Breakwater, which has reduced pedestrian travel to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. He said that the Rockland Harbor Commission was concerned that if they complained, the Corps might shut off pedestrian access entirely. Corp official Ed O'Donnell asked Huber to forward him some details.

The meeting was frustrating for opponents of the Army Corps of Engineers massive dredge plan for Searsport harbor:  It seemed that  try as they might, it was near impossible to get details from the army corps staff there on when the "withdrawn" application would become active again.   Federal officials claimed to have no information! Check out this exchange between Kim Ervin Tucker and an Army Corps official 
Q: What is the time frame you're talking about resurrecting this during the course of 2016?
A. We don't know.
Q: Who in DC specifically are you working with, what office?
A. Planning and Policy.
Q: A specific person there involved in that ?
A. Not a specific person, but  Tab Brown is the chief of that.
Q: Was there anything in particular you all are looking at?  Pockmarks? What specifically is now being re-evaluated for that project?
A.We don't know yet
Q: When will you know?
A: laughs
Q: Before the next team meeting? Will there be some activity taken before the next dredge team meeting?
AThe corps and DOT have to do a lot of talking, before the half stretch.
Q Thank you. 

 To get notified about  future  Maine  dredge meetings  write to  Todd Burrowes  at the Maine coastal program < and ask him to put you on the list.   Burrowes is the Maine Coastal Program's "Federal Consistency Coordinator", meaning he's the contact when fed permit-requiring projects - including dredging but also  shoreline development like  riprapping  & piers-  come up. Coastal program phone: (207) 287-3200.