Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pollution prevention needed for Gulf of Maine

"The report, 'U.S. Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration and Conservation Plan,' found that implementing conservation efforts -- including restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and developing ecosystem and ocean management plans -- will cost $3.03 billion, not including funding needed for the long term. The costliest initiative, at $2.7 billion, includes upgrading outdated sewage treatment systems to reduce pollution, remediating contaminated soils and launching stricter water quality testing. Restoring and conserving the gulf's ecosystems will create jobs and benefit the region's fishing, recreational and tourism industries, according to the report."

Downeaster extension gets more funds

Mainebiz: "The extension of the Amtrak Downeaster train from Portland to Brunswick currently under way is getting another boost from the feds.

Maine will receive another $3.3 million to help fund the $38.3 million project, scheduled for completion in 2012, on top of the $35 million the state has already received, according to The Associated Press."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roxanne Quimby's Landholdings

The Maine Sunday Telegram looked into the recent development begun by Roxanne Quimby in Willimantic. Quimby, who owns over 100,000 acres in Maine, apparently prohibits hunting and motorized vehicles on much of this land. Many people have assumed that her landholdings would not be developed, but as the article reveals none of her properties have easements that restrict development.
"'Our message really is this genuine compassion for the local economy,' said Leathers. Among other benefits, it would provide a boost for the town's tax base, he said.

Quimby bought the land in 2002, at the urging of neighbors who were trying to protect it from development, said Fran Leyman of Bowdoin. Leyman owns a camp on a half-acre lot she leased and then bought from International Paper Co., which at the time was selling a half-dozen leased lots and 142 surrounding acres for about $200,000.
Leathers, Quimby's property manager, said he couldn't say whether she has similar plans for any of the other timberland she owns.

He said Quimby has no easements on any of her land to protect it from development.

"She enjoys having unencumbered title to property," he said.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where is LePage on Wind Power?

The Press Herald asks this important question.
"Our next governor, who has said repeatedly that he is pro-business, should clearly voice his support for [wind power] business, which has the potential to play a key role in Maine's economic future.

The arguments against wind power break down into two main categories. The first is aesthetic (with both visual and aural complaints) and the second is economic, made by people who say that wind energy is too expensive and can't be harnessed without government subsidies.

While the second charge may be true, at least in the short run, it has also been true for hydroelectric dams and other new kinds of energy generators.

As wind power becomes established and the technology improves, new investment won't need the subsidies.

And the price of power is relative. There is no guarantee that natural gas prices won't spike, making wind power a lower-cost alternative, even if its price does not go down over time."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Roads are no Solution

In what should be obvious to anyone who has looked at traffic problems throughout the country, simply adding more roads does not solve congestion problems. But when the people whose budget is based on road building are making decisions, too often that what happens.

Portland Press Herald:
"Some participants began the study with the idea that suburban congestion could be solved primarily through construction, perhaps with a turnpike spur or by expanding existing roadways, such as routes 22 and 114.

'But to make any road improvements last longer, we're going to have to ask communities to change how they develop,' said Carol Morris, a spokeswoman for the task force.
The study was conducted with $1 million from the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Department of Transportation."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Construction on40-turbine wind project

Bangor Daily News:
"The Lincoln Planning Board approved the project on Dec. 1, 2008, with the other host towns eventually following suit. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s permit for the First Wind subsidiary came in April 2009, but the project, probably the most protested since wind-to-energy companies began investing in Maine, had been in civil court since then.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes, a citizens group formed to oppose the project, took its series of appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court but lost. Its latest appeal, to the Board of Environmental Protection on Oct. 7, was rejected."

Tidal Energy Tests in Castine

Bangor Daily News:
"TEDEC provides a much-needed component in the emerging tidal energy industry, where there is a need for independent, reliable assessment of prototype turbines, Armstrong said. There are no independent “proving grounds” where designers and developers can test those devices, he said.

With no vested interest or commercial component to its operation, he said, TEDEC can effectively evaluate whether a design works.

“We’ll look at the physics of it, does it survive in a real-life situation outside of the lab,” Armstrong said. “We’re not so much interested in the number of light bulbs it lights up, but we’ll look at whether it behaves as the developer expected and whether it is capable of providing sufficient energy that can be fed to a generating device that produces electricity.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Damariscotta Hardware Goes Solar

"Damariscotta Hardware recently had 301 photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the 24,000-square-foot business on Business Route 1. The panels are designed to meet about 70 percent of the store's electricity needs.

The 69-kilowatt system was installed by Maine Energy Performance Solutions of Washington.

The project represents a major step in controlling energy costs for the 55-year-old family business, said Rob Gardiner, the company's president. The store installed a wood gasification boiler last year, cutting heating oil consumption by 90 percent. Electricity stood out as the next biggest energy expense, with a bill exceeding $13,000 in 2008."

- Portland Press Herald

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gov. King Responds to Wind Power Critics

Portland Press Herald:
"There's an old saying that if you say something that's not true often enough, people will start to believe it. Unfortunately, that seems to be happening in Maine with wind power

Opponents write letters to the editor and have press conferences alleging dark conspiracies and using scary words like destruction, vibration, industrial (this is a favorite), and even a new ''disease.''

I haven't heard them blame the demise of the Red Sox last fall on windmills yet, but it could come any day.

So, here's a shot at setting the record straight on a few of the myths now circulating:"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sardine Plant Closing

As the reduction in fish catches impacts the fishing industry, it is inevitable that businesses will close. The question is, what will remain if and when the fish stocks rebuild? Portland Press Herald:
"Bumble Bee Foods announced today it will close its Prospect Harbor sardine processing plant, the last sardine cannery in the United States, throwing 130 people out of work in April.

Company officials blamed the closing on the latest restrictions that have reduced the herring catch by 50 percent in the five years since Bumble Bee bought the company."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Complaints Over Vinalhaven Windmills

As has happened in other places with wind turbines in close proximity to residential areas, people are finding the noise unacceptable.
Portland Press Herald: "Dedicated two months ago with great fanfare, the Fox Islands Wind Project is producing plenty of power, but also, a sense of shock among some neighbors. They say the noise, which varies with wind speed and direction, ranges from mildly annoying to so intrusive that it disturbs their sleep. And they say they lament losing the subtle silence they cherish living in the middle of Penobscot Bay -- the muffled crash of surf on the ledges and the whisper of falling snow."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aroostook Couty Wind Farm Approved
"Maine—The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has approved a permit for a wind project in the Aroostook County town of Oakfield.

The Massachusetts company, Evergreen Wind, LLC has proposed building up to 34 turbines that could generate enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes.

Evergreen filed an application with DEP in April.

The DEP said Thursday that it finds the project meets the criteria of the Natural Resources Protection Act and stormwater law."