Jan 24, 2018

Marina Sprawl in Rockland Harbor.

Is Rockland Maine privatizing its historic inner harbor ? 

Plans presented by Yachting Solutions (YS) at the November 11, 2017 meeting of Rockland's Harbor Management Commission appear to "take" a very large portion of Rockland's inner harbor.   If YS continues with its expansion, the majority of the inner harbor may be be controlled by the company as well as  a  handful of other private enterprises, in the water and along the shore.

* Who owns Rockland Harbor? 
You and I. The state of Maine, through its Bureau of Parks and Lands owns and administers all the submerged lands of Rockland Harbor (and all of Maine's state waters) on behalf of the people.The Submerged Land Rules' Preamble makes that clear.

"The State of Maine holds Submerged Lands, as defined herein, in trust for the benefit, rights and use of the general public." ..."Because exclusive, private uses of Submerged Lands restrict the public's ability to exercise their rights to use and enjoy these lands, the issuance of any conveyance requires careful consideration of the impacts of such conveyances on public trust rights as well as a just and fair compensation to the public for the private use of Submerged Lands." 

* Revenue for Rockland?
What does Rockland get for allowing  exclusive use by Yachting Solutions of this part of Rockland's inner harbor?  Nothing.  The state  gets revenue from  leasing harbor floors  for slips (and for aquaculture.)   See the  Maine Submerged Lands Rules in Section 1.8 "Fees",  which state that

"The annual rental fee for slip space that is rented or otherwise made available for private use for a fee is based upon a percentage of the gross income of the Lessee."  
[Gross income of the lessee's slip rentals public or private. Detailed below]

These rules also require owners of such a development project  to  "Provide significant public benefits to the People of Maine, to offset the loss of Submerged Lands occupied by the structure,...." But the definition of "significant public benefits" is an eye-of-the-beholder term to local, state and federal permit reviewers. What's significant to one permit reviewer or decisionmaker may be of little consequence to another.

* Loss of moorings for local boaters.  Yachting Solutions' Bill Morong  said at the November HMC meeting that remaining moorings can be rearranged.

How practical is mooring field rearrangement in  a small harbor like Rockland's?  There's a lively lobster fishery, increasing recreational fisheries, . a coast guard base, windjammer fleets ferry terminal and 

Right, rearranged further from the Public Landing, perhaps in Owls Head, which would mean the little revenue from those moorings would be  lost. The interests of Rockland residents are of no interest to YS, the City, the State of the US National Park Service

"Gross income means one of two things:
1. "The total annual income received by a lessee from seasonal or transient rental to the general public of slip space over submerged land." 

2. For "...facilities with slip space that is not rented or leased to the general public"...."by calculating a regional average slip space rental fee and applying that to the portion of total linear length of slip space made available to private users for any portion of that year."

At the November meeting of the Rockland Harbor Management Commission, Yachting Solutions' rep  that their transient business had "tripled". He predicts annual increases in transient yachts,  of increasing size, thus their future plans for more infrastructure financed with more federal BIG grants. They stressed that no financing will come from local property taxes.  Certainly the cost of City services to YS and their wealthy clients and the lack of City reveue from YS will be financed by property taxe


This is a 26-page document and well worth reading, despite the dismal information.  The State of Maine leases her Submerged Lands to private parties.  The amount paid to the States as lease payments is discussed on pages 21 and 22.  The Minimum Rental Rate:  "If the rental rate is determined to be less than $0.01 per square foot, it shall be rounded off to 
$0.01 per square foot.  The Minimum Annual Rental Fee is $100.00.  Then comes Exemptions for fees, the first of which is Port Facilities that (a) "Provide significant public benefits to the People of Maine, to offset the loss of Submerged Lands occupied by the structure."

It's possible Yachting Solutions will pay a pittance or nothing to the State for the use of a huge portion of Rockland's inner harbor as planned, and a pittance or nothing for their future planned expansion.  

What fees or compensatory contributions will Rockland require from Yachting Solutions?  


The words of the Preamble of the Submerged Land Rules sound straightforward and equitable (my bold type):

"The State of Maine holds Submerged Lands, as defined herein, in trust for the benefit, rights and use of the general public.  The private use of Submerged Lands requires a lease or easement from the Bureau of Parks and Lands, which has been authorized by the Maine Legislature to grant such conveyances.  Because exclusive, private uses of Submerged Lands restrict the public's ability to exercise their rights to use and enjoy these lands, the issuance of any conveyance requires careful consideration of the impacts of such conveyances on public trust rights as well as a just and fair compensation to the public for the private use of Submerged Lands."

The Rules, on the other hand, sound like a detailed mechanism for the cheap or free, perpetual (A 30-year lease is standard. Sub-leasing is allowed. Page 8) corporate use of our local harbors without the consent of local residents.  There are no rules for public notice, public comment, or municipal remuneration for private use of municipal harbors.  Maybe other Maine Law addresses those lacunae.  Perhaps home rule provides legal remedies to ameliorate what appears to be a rather quiet ongoing public-private partnership between the City and YS, with the help of the BLM and US Park Service, to legally usurp the local public interest.

s.  I understand that YS leases their shore property from Stewart Smith. He will be responsible for paying his property taxes, unless he has a Credit Enhancement Agreement with the City, which may exempt him from up to 100% of his property taxes for (?) perhaps up to 30 years.  Both YS and Smith may have a portion of their taxes exempted/reimbursed through the Maine BETE and BETR  programs.  South Portland sounds like it has discussed a marine TIF district.

Put all these subsidies and exemptions together and the result is the financial starvation of municipalities that prevents maintenance and upgrades to public harbor infrastructure, streets, sidewalks and schools, staff cuts and increases in property taxes.  Private businesses thrive while municipalities are financially crippled and left begging for crumbs.  Private harbor infrastructure will glitter in the sun, while our WWT plants spews out raw sewage to lap pristine yachts because the City can't afford to separate our combined septic/storm system.

The environmental damage from a huge influx of big transient yachts traversing the Bay and  Rockland Harbor I would expect to be significant. YS mentioned fueling services.
What kind of infrastructure will be involved? Above or below ground tanks?  Tanker trucks?  Fuel lines out to the docks?  How will they prevent spills? How will they respond to spills?

Then there is the question of what does privatization of the inner harbor for extremely wealthy yacht owners mean for the residents of Rockland?  It feels like a return to the Gilded Age of the rich industrialists on their yachts and estates being waited upon by their own servants and a class of native Maine servants who lived near their their summer residences. This time around, the industrialists will be joined by digital wealth and a huge cohort of financial scammers. If the transient yachters like what they see, next they'll be buying up shore property and historic Rockland homes or building waterfront condos for their summer visits and shutting them up for the winter, adding to the extant problem of whole-house STR's that are empty and dark for most of the year. 

The economic divide in Rockland will become a more extreme tripartite division - increasing numbers of very wealthy transients + the thriving Rockland business owners + an increasing numbers of a dirt poor servant class and the unemployed.  YS will hire more employees -  a few skilled in boatwork, salesmen, but mostly unskilled dock workers. The increasing numbers of big yachts - 60, 80, 100 feet...- would most likely have their own crew aboard for cleaning and maintenance, wouldn't they?  Owners may find local workers a cheaper alternative for cleaning and 'housekeeping services'.  YS could hire seasonal crews of of yacht domestic servants.

Jan 16, 2018

Maine Aquaventus FOAA of DMR 2017 names and organisations listed

Maine Aqua Ventus FOAA of Maine Coastal Program DMR Maine Department of Marine Resources. List of officials and others involved.

Here is a list of the state and federal officials, academia , consultants and wind industry listed in the  DMR March-Nov 17, 2017 FOAA documents released to Friends of Penobscot Bay.  

Shannon Ayotte  office of DMR commissioner  Shannon.Ayotte@maine.gov
Kate Tierney (MAG Representative)
Nixon, Matthew E
Burrowes, Todd  Coastal Program  Federal consistency, dredging, takings, public trust
Leyden, Kathleen ME Coastal Program
Desjardin, Tom;  
Noll, John Submerged Lands Director
Marvinney, Robert G.  UMaine 
John Noll (MDACF) 
Carl Wilson (MDMR)
Sue and Dawn Hallowell (MDEP)
Stacie Beyer (LUPC) 
Bob Stratton (MDIFW) 
Dennis Nault (MDMR)
Jeff Thaler  (UME atty)
Jake Ward (UME)   

Wende Mahaney (USFWS) 
Sue Tuxbury NOAA (cable routing)
Jay Clement (USACE)
Mark McCollough (USFWS) 
Michelle DesAutels (USCG) 

 Andy Qua (Kleinschmidt) Andy.Qua@kleinschmidtgroup.com or Jeff Thaler Jeffrey.Thaler@maine.edu  (UMaine) 

Jeff Thaler jeffrey_thaler@maine.edu;
Jake Ward jsward@maine.edu;
Damian Brady damian.brady@maine.edu;
Tony Viselli anthony.viselli@maine.edu;

Peter Browne <Peter.Browne@hdrinc.com>;
Andy Qua Andy.Qua@KleinschmidtGroup.com
Kayla Easler <Kayla.Easler@KleinschmidtGroup.com>

Ocean Renewable  Power  Company
N Johnson njohnson@orpc.com

DMR FOAA docs concerning the Maine AquaVentus project March - November 2017

Documents released by Maine DMR in response to a 11/26/27 FOAA request to Kathleen Leyden for "Public records in custody of you or your staff dating from April 1, 2017 to November 26, 2017 that pertain to the Maine Aquaventus floating ocean wind turbines project, slated to occupy the Maine Offshore Wind Test Center."  All documents are pdf files

MARCH 2018
* 3/06/2017 New Engl Aqua Ventus I - Proposed Project Description –Modification#1. 16pgs

*3/27/17 FOPB  FOAA request to DACF Commissioner re MAV  Earlier request-combined)

4/3/17 staff react to FOPB FOAA 1pg

* 5/4/17 Agenda from May 4, 2017 meeting

* 5/4/17 Minutes from May 4, 2017 meeting 9pgs 

5/4/17 DOE NEPA Scoping Process 10pg pdf

* 5/11/17 Email from Bob Marvinney that LD 1262 (Protect Monhegan) got  Ought Not to Pass

5/11/17 email to Bob Marvinney reply to ONTP

* July 2017 Maine Coastal Program Performance Progress Report Jan1–June 30, 2017 3pgs

* July 2017 Undated. Draft Timeframe on interagency coordination   January 2017 - June 2017

7/26/17  Email Mendelson to Stephen N. Dickson  re shipwreck in Sub-sea Cable Survey. 3pg   

7/26/14 Emails Mendelson, Burrowes & Ward  re Searsport Dredging for MAV. 2pg

University of  Lithuania review of impacts of offshore windfarming.
* 9/21/17  email Mark Bergeron to Todd Burrowes re timetable & regulatory path 1pg 

10/3/17 Leyden to Mendelson  re cable routine from MAV

* 10/3/17 emails Deputy DMR Commissioner Mendelson to Todd Burrowes and Matt Nixon 2pg 10:15am

10/3/17  Emails re Geophysical Survey Info Doc. M. Mendelson to (1) Kathleen Leyden, & (2) Sarah Cotnoir,  Rene Cloutier Dierdre Gilbner, Carl Wilson, Kathleen Reardon & K Leyden 2pgs  10:24am
* 10/3/17 Emails re Geophys Survey Info Mendelson  to Cotnoir, Cloutier  Wilson, Gilbert and  Reardon 2pgs   10:38am 

* 10/17/17 Email on media coverage of town oppo to MAV Meredith Mendelson Links.

10/17/17 DMR Pat Keliher to Mendelson Burrowes, Leyden Cotnoir, wilson gilbert, Nichols 

* November 2017 Geophysical & Permitting Survey Overview of proposed seabed survey planned for Nov 3rd. 6pgs 

*  November 2017 Geophysical & Planning Survey re seabed survey  comments 6pgs

11/26/27 FOPB FOAA Request to Maine Coastal Program re MAV

* Undated:  Project Description by Jeff Thaler atty for MAV_9pg pdf

* Undated  2018 Call for Maine Fishermen's Forum Seminar Proposals

Jan 7, 2018

Maine inshore waters enviro protection moves to next stage w/fed inshore habitat area of particular concern.

Shallow Ecology: New fed regs to protect nearshore baby cod from pollution & sprawl

Photo by: NEFMCMap shows the new Habitat Area of Particular Concern for juvenile Atlantic cod along the Maine coast.
New federal fish habitat regs will allow for protection of the homes and prey of juvenile Atlantic cod  from water pollution and habitat damage, along our bay's and greater New England coasts and around their islands, 
The New England Fishery Management Council identified the habitat and water quality needs of  juvenile cod, and its prey species eight types of chemical threats, nineteen categories of physical threats and four types of  biological threats. Click for list of known impacts
Learn how important YOU are  to ensure that  protecting and conserving this important shallow frontier of the sea. And how easily.
The new protection zone is called the  "Inshore Juvenile Cod HAPC Habitat Area of Particular Concern".  This HAPC along the New England coast has gone through several alternative size/depths extends from the low tide line to the 20 meter depth contour. Working waterfronts are exempted.
In the late 1990s the Fishery Council tasked researchers with finding out what coastal cod populations need and what harms them. Their 2000 report on nearshore juvenile cod habitat of particular concern revealed its vulnerability to landbased impacts was published in 2000. Research report on the nearshore HAPC:  in 2000.
The zone  was selected by   commercial fishermen of the New England Fishery Management Council after reviews and commentary  by academics , ENGOs and  government agencies and is now in the hands of NOAA.
The agency is expected to post the new "HAPC" regs on the federal register shortly, making them official. The council has also designated HAPCs for all other fish they manage
Their final report on inshore juvenile cod HAPC, released earlier this year, notes that  "Due to their close proximity to human activities, inshore and nearshore areas are sensitive to anthropogenic stresses."
The report describe eight types of chemical threats, nineteen categories of physical threats and four types of  biological threats to the  water quality, prey availability and habitat  of these  shallow areas, where nearshore Atlantic cod  live during their larval and  juvenile life stages.
Under the new regulations, coastal developers and others proposing to impact those shallow waters will need to be able to prove that their project will not harm juvenile cod nor their prey species and habitats. If it would, the developer would have to modify the project to minimize those impacts or move it elsewhere. The same goes for pesticide appliers and licensed outfall dischargers and owners of polluted shorelines.
The Friends of Penobscot Bay believe that this Habitat Area of Particular Concern will make give fishermen and others concerned about their fishes' environment a sensible way to protect it.
"These productive shore waters and shoals are the bay's and Gulf of Maine's front line," said Ron Huber, executive director of Friends of Penobscot Bay. "Here  is where fish, shellfish and their prey first encounter the complicated mixture of wastes, pesticides and more coming off the land via outfalls, culverts, spills, leaks and runoff."
"Come to the Belfast public library Wednesday  August 6th at 6pm  and learn how you can help bring back our coastal cod."
FMI contact Friends of Penobscot Bay 593-2744

Penobscot Bay Report & Gulf of Maine Monitor, 1/6/18 podcast online.

The January 6, 2018 show of the Penobscot Bay Report & Gulf of Maine Monitor
Listen to Host Ron Huber reviewing and reporting on:

* New oil & gas plans for the Gulf of Maine. * U ME's Offshore Monhegan Wind Project. * Bills under review in Augusta * Cruise ships expansion projected for 2018.

Oil & gas drilling update . A look back to 1983, Reading from the court decision when CLF led the historic fight against Reagan and his Interior Secretary James Watt. CLF's dogged persistence  \actually kept the oilers off George Bank.  https://elr.info/sites/default/files/litigation/13.20445.htm

Maine Legislature 
 Limit the Number of Shrimp Licenses That May Be Used in Certain Seasons  

Offshore Wind update 
 "Monhegan Energy Task Force writes that according to the UME's contractor, 
 "the survey along the proposed sub-sea cable path from the windmill site to to land will begin no sooner than February 2018. Link to US DOE site for Maine AquaVentus project 

"Monhegan energy task force writes that, according to the UME's contractor, "the survey along the proposed sub-sea cable path from the windmill site to to land will begin no sooner than February 2018. Final survey area is still being finalized. Logistics with survey contractor are being finalized".
UME's survey manager, Matt Nixon, will reach out to Monhegan fishermen to schedule a meeting with them on the Island to go over survey logistics, timing, and other details. This will likely need to be early January immediately after the holidays, but Matt will work with the fishermen to determine best timing for them.""

All interspersed with audio of waves lashing Owls Head and a now-gone foghorn duet. 

Jan 6, 2018

Penobscot Bay tanker/cargoship news, Nov. 29 - Dec. 5, 2017


Penobscot Bay tanker/cargoship news, 11/29/17 - 12/5/27
Compiled by Republican Journal reporter Ethan Andrews. Photos by Ethan Andrews

Log of commercial marine traffic at Searsport and Bucksport. 11/29/17-12/5/17

November. 29
Road salt from Chile unloadin from the bulk
 carrier Siirt, left, at Mack Point Dec. 1.
 Another bulk carrier, Tanja, at right, delivers clay 
slurry from the Amazon. Photo Ethan Andrews
Siirt, a 656-foot bulk carrier, arrived at Mack point from Tocopilla, Chile, delivered road salt and departed Dec. 3 for Norfolk, Va.

November. 30
Tanja, a 606-foot bulk carrier, arrived at Mack Point from Vila do Conde, Brazil, and delivered clay slurry, an additive used in paper manufacturing. It departed Dec. 2 for Portland before returning to Vila do Conde.

December. 3
Genesis Glory, a Genesis Energy tug with fuel barge, arrived at Mack Point from New York and delivered ethanol. It departed December 4th  for Portland.

 Road salt pours out of a bulk cargo grab, left, into a dump truck (not visible) as the 
cargo ship Siirt delivers to Mack Point Dec 1  Another ship, Tanja, foreground with
 yellow pilothouse, delivers clay slurry. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Bulk carriers Siirt, foreground, & Tanja make deliveries to Mack Pt in Searsport Dec 1. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Dec 4 New York-based tug Genesis Glory tows a fuel barge in Penobscot Bay after delivering ethanol to Mack Point Terminal in Searsport. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews

Shipping news courtesy Republican Journal reporter Ethan Andrews