DEP 'corrupt' and 'disingenuous'

In The Journal’s Jan. 14 article, “Select Board, land trust call for 'zero tolerance' of plastic waste,” Islesboro Select Board Chairman Gabe Pendleton is quoted as saying, “Two tons of plastic that went into the water when bales of trash being unloaded at Mack Point came apart has washed up on the island.”

The article also said, “The board had no reason to think the state was not taking the incident seriously, but wanted to make DEP aware of its concern, and that it will be watching the state's response.”

Well, think again, Islesboro! A few tons of plastic were carelessly dumped overboard. Our corporate friends at Mack Point apparently didn’t think the DEP would care too much or maybe even notice, so they didn’t bother to notify anyone or attempt to clean it up until caught in the act by private citizens, over a week later.

After the oops moment, the currents of the upper bay transported those suspended pollutants and circulated them widely through the bay and onto the beaches and intertidal areas of our mainland and islands.

Obviously more is still suspended and circulating for a little extra ingestion material for our lobster friends and to be ingested by our children.

Some of you will recall that a week or so ago I wrote a letter to this paper concerning the Maine DEP’s willingness to let Cianbro, Nordic and Sprague Energy operate a dredge dewatering and disposal facility for “unsuitable dredge spoils” needed to construct the Nordic discharge pipes, without any licenses or testing.

The suspended mercury and petroleum pollutants contained in the very fine sediments (solids) proposed to be drizzled over the sides of barges transporting these 20,000 cubic yards, amounts to at least 100 times the weight and volume of this “minor plastic spill,” along with a million gallons of contaminated water.

All to be dispersed from the site of the pipeline dredge, on travels across the bay and at Mack Point, then reliably circulated to the beaches of Islesboro, Sears Island, and further.

Brian Kavanah, director of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Water Quality, seems to be the DEP lawyer who told Gregg Wood, water quality scientist and license writer for the DEP, and in consequence, the Maine BEP, that no permits were needed for this “de minimus” (of no consequence) dump of untested toxic dredge spoils into the waters and now demonstrably onto all of our beaches.

Islesboro Land Trust, the Islesboro Select Board, Friends of Sears Island and the Searsport Board of Selectmen need to get off their “see no evil, hear no evil” duffs and confront the travesty of a corrupt and disingenuous Maine DEP and Mr. Kavanah Esq. of the Water Quality Bureau. Really? No permits needed for Cianbro/Nordic dredge dump deposits onto the beaches they are sworn to protect?

Paul Bernacki