A little island causes a big stir

A new development project is coming to Sears Island. The little island off Searsport in Waldo County could be home to three hundred acres of industrial development if plans go through, with six hundred under protection. Governors have pushed for Sears Island, the largest undeveloped, uninhabited, causeway accessible island on the east coast, to be the home of many developments. Joseph Brennan and John McKernan advocated Sears Island be used as a general port. Angus King promoted its use as a wood chip port, while Governor Baldacci pushed for an LNG terminal and an intermodal freight transport hub on the island.

Seasport Town Manager James Gillway says that allowing industry to move into part of Sears Island would boost the economy. “Right now with the economic times as they are, it’s very important that we find anything that will help the town to succeed,” Gillway said in a WCSH 6 interview. The Penobscot Bay Watch disagrees. The Penobscot Bay Watch has begun fundraising to help those who have filed lawsuits against the development plans. PBW Executive Director Ron Huber said recently, “We don’t believe you can have an island of this size half industrialized and half natural and somehow be able to pretend that you haven’t harmed the nature of the whole island.”

The Maine Independent Green Party has also stepped up to oppose the Sears Island Plan. “We had doubts about the ecological foundation of the process of mitigation banking. Now that the EPA has urged rejection of the plan, we are convinced that those doubts were correct. We are therefore urging the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the plan,” stated Anna Trevorrow, State Chair of the Maine Green Independent Party. Green gubernatorial candidate Lynne Williams also commented on Sears Island saying, “While mitigation banking may result in restored wetlands somewhere else in the state, it still results in the destruction, and eventual loss, of habitats in the development area. One cannot just move marine wildlife to another location, and they will therefore be scattered and eventually die off.”

According to Trevorrow, the Green Party’s opposition to the Sears Island Plan should not come as a surprise to anyone. “Given that one of the Party’s Ten Key Values is “Ecological Wisdom” it is our responsibility to work to defeat this plan,” stated Treverrow.

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you Maine View for posting this information.

    What is most astonishing and frustrating at present is the absolute refusal of the ENGO signers-on to the Governor's Plan to come to any public forum and and defend their decision to support the dismembering of Sears Island.

    Sierra Club (Maine Chapter), the astroturf groups "Penobscot Bay Alliance" & "Friends of Sears Island" and the Islesboro Islands Land Trust, are the NGOs who served as the supposed representatives of the public's interest, when they ratified the MCHT/MDOT Deal late last year.

    They've all repeatedly, stubbornly refused to come to any community forum to explain and defend their decision to support Island partition. Whether it be from WERU Community radio, WRFR Rockland, from Fair Play for Sears Island or others, the invitations have been rebuffed:

    Too busy! Or (my current favorite) Sierra Club leader Ken Cline's excuse for declining attendance at the proposed Alamo Theater forum in September – or any future event: the Sierra club's "volunteer" taking part in such a debate might be subject to "slander and abuse" (Ken's words") by whole-islanders or others in the audience.

    The passive-aggressive use of the phrase Sierra Club "volunteer" in their excuse to WERU instead of "Sierra Club leader" is reprehensible. Cannot the Chapter's leaders, at least one of whom is an environmental law professor, take part in a open public forum held by a respected public radio station at a well guarded small town venue?

    Would criticism from the public, whose "interest" the Club supposedly represents, be too undignified a situation for a Member of the Club to risk encountering? Or what?

    Or perhaps the prospect of having to make a stand at the Alamo Theater in Bucksport is too rich with gloomy portents to bear…
    But that's just a guess. You ask 'em.

  2. It's good to hear that the Maine Greens are finally on record as opposing this travesty. Sadly, however, they have yet to repudiate Maine Greens member James (Jimmie the Fink) Freeman of Verona, one of those who willingly participated in Gov. John Baldacci's highly manipulated Sears Island Planning Initiative that is now allowing the corporate welfare enablers in Maine state government to proceed with marketing this beautiful public island for a totally ridiculous container port.

    Freeman, who also claimed to represent the Maine EarthFirst!ers in this disgraceful proceeding, signed a consensus agreement that stated that building a container port on the largest totally wild island in public hands on the U.S. East Coast is an "appropriate" thing to do.

    His affiliation with two groups with the highest environmental values is something port boosters have made much of. The implication is that with the Maine Greens and Maine EarthFirst! apparently on board with industrial development of the island, anyone who stands for total preservation of this precious and irreplaceable public property is unreasonable, ignorant or part of some lunatic fringe.

    Freeman's sin is further compounded by an act of perfidy conclusively demonstrated as the result of a recent request under the Freedom of Information Act, namely that he took privileged information about protest plans by island preservationists and tattled to the Governor's Office.

    There is little that is not contemptible about this man and the sooner both the Maine Greens and Maine EarthFirst! sever all connections with him the better for both groups.

    Peter Taber
    Editor and Publisher
    Wild Maine Times
    19 Steamboat Avenue
    Searsport
    pipeandtaber@gmail.com

  3. Thank you for the great comments guys. If you like the story keep passing it along.

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