Letters, July 23

Jul 23, 2020

Paper's reporting on Nordic is lacking

Reading the Republican Journal weekly for the last several years leaves me with a big question.

Once again last week, the paper printed another letter opposing the Nordic Aquafarm project. Yes, we have Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, but why does the paper continue to print letters that are full of untruths, misconceptions, and allegations that have been proven time and time again to be incorrect? Local Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations have consistently challenged the permitting process being handled by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. The Board has worked with Maine's DEP, USEPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to analyze the issues and have continued to note that Nordic has done their homework and prepared a comprehensive plan to address all of the environmental concerns connected with a large-scale food production system. This project has numerous economic benefits for the city of Belfast, the region and nationally.

But the most disconcerting thing about the publishing of these letters is that not once have the editor or reporters for the Republican Journal taken a walk across the street to engage in an in-depth conversation about the project and truly examined the entire process. Recently the Bangor Daily News published a wonderful article interviewing scientists from Maine to discuss environmental issues that have been brought up over the past couple years and did an unbiased, even-handed job of reporting on them. The bottom line was that the issues of nitrogen deposition, potential mercury resuspension impacting the ecology, and freshwater availability will all be monitored as is done with every project that raises questions about negative environmental impact. The scientists did not see any problems in those areas.

The concept of journalism seems to have passed the Republican Journal by, and it has definitely projected a one-sided view on this entire economic development project. Bias is not appropriate for news reporting. That’s where the letters to the editor come in. Trying to understand and report on issues is what journalism is supposed to be about, not ignoring the project leaving its readership to only understand this through highly suspect Letters to the Editor. The Republican Journal has failed their reading public by not meeting with the company, asking the questions that needed to be asked, and reporting fairly on them.

Gef Flimlin

Belfast

Document discrepancies

Some five or six weeks ago, questions to DEP attorney Kevin Martin from  the intervenors concerning technical Natural Resources Protection Act "record " details have not been responded to regarding the public part of the BEP record that was closed after hearings closed in the Nordic combined applications last February.

The primary issue was where and how "dewatering" of the dredge spoils (excavated in the construction process of the Cianbro/Woodward/Curren design-build project of the sewer and saltwater intake pipelines) was to take place.

Martin replied that Appendix C stated the location and information in "the record." Appendix C clearly states that "the excess spoils will be loaded and dewatered on barges adjacent to the pipeline route."

This "dewatering" method and location should require a point source discharge license under federal law as part of the Maine DEP's review.

However, in the May 13 "staff memo," presented at BEP's deliberative hearing May 20, the "staff" apparently proposes a "condition" of permitting based on the information presented by Nordic at the DMR public dredge meeting March 2.

First, this condition references a "trench 1,25O feet long," which is inaccurate. The proposal is for a "trench" more than twice as long as this statement of length.

Second, the figure of 15,OOO cubic yards of excess spoils does not align with any documentary or verbal information at either the BEP or the DMR hearings, and certainly not with "Appendix C" in the Nordic NRPA Application, which states 6,000 cubic yards.

So for the last time before the department rushes into a clearly flawed process and the positing to the parties of a Draft NRPA permit with "conditions," I ask:

What document did these figures and locations come from that are stated "on the record" of the BEP deliberations in the staff memo of May 13?

The documentary discrepancies/application issues exhibited in this process by the Maine DEP and staff "memo" must be addressed if the department wants to retain any appearance of doing its job, much less wasting all of our years in an appeal.

The public deserves the department's answers and clarifications of these questions and document conflicts.

Paul Bernacki

Belmont

The real birthday of the USA

The Maine State Legislature is considering a bill that would grant more sovereignty to the Wabanaki Nations, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, M'ikmaq, and Maliseet, whose territories include what is now called Maine, over their legal and other affairs. It would seem that history has come full circle in the 244 years since leaders of these nations put their marks to the Treaty of Watertown 1776, the first treaty entered into by the fledgling United States of America. This treaty permanently resides in the Massachusetts State Archives, and was reaffirmed in a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House in 1987.

The gift of sovereignty, granted by the Wabanaki on July 19, 1776, applied to the 13 original colonies, making them states, capable of uniting by way of a written Constitution. The state of Massachusetts then shared its sovereignty with the territory of Maine, which as a colony it had administered in one way or another since 1692. Two hundred years ago, that sovereignty, given by the Wabanaki, was transferred to the state of Maine.

Yes, under the tenets of international law, going way back before 1776, a nation which declares itself independent achieves it only by being recognized by an already sovereign nation. The Wabanaki Nations, by dint of treaties with the Vatican, France and England, were sovereign peoples when their representatives signed the Treaty of Watertown, on July 19, 1776, after a 10-day conference requested by Gen. George Washington and conducted by the Massachusetts Council, who were empowered for the first time to act on behalf of all 13 colonies (soon to be states) by the Continental Congress.

Prior to the treaty's signing, a courier arrived on horseback from Philadelphia bearing a newly inked copy of the recently approved Declaration of Independence, which was read to the Indians in conference, before being taken to its first public reading from the window of Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Seeing that after over 150 years of European settlement of their ancient homelands, some Algonquin ideals seem to have rubbed off on these colonists, the Wabanaki spokesperson, Sabbattus Netacobwit, is recorded to have said, "We like it well!" as they each made their marks.

It is also notable that the preamble to the Treaty of Watertown is drawn virtually word-for-word from the Declaration. Notable as well is the fact that, historically, it is the first international treaty to call for the equal treatment of non-white service members.

Christopher Groden

Belfast

'Life' is not just a single issue

To be considered True Red, it seems GOP candidates must pass a critical litmus test and swear they are Pro-Life so as to align with this president. Limiting or eliminating women’s reproductive choices can be agonizing and personal for many people; it can dominate people’s thinking as a single issue. That’s why Republican Dale Crafts, newly nominated to face off with Democratic 2nd Congressional Rep. Jared Golden, swears that he is. He thinks he has a guaranteed voter base.

But how can the word “life” be so limited? You and I are both alive right now. We’ll wear masks and socially distance, even though the president doesn’t, because we respect others’ need to preserve their lives. We worry about our children’s lives if schools fully reopen this fall, but our Mafioso president would cut all federal funding for schools if they don’t. George Floyd spent his last nine minutes of life saying “I can’t breathe,” but the president says the phrase Black Lives Matter is a symbol of hate. He calls countries populated mostly by people of color “Sh—tholes” and has suggested we need more immigrants from Norway. He tweets memes from conspiracy groups like QAnon and seems to approve of their messages. He calls neo-Nazis good people, though he also claims to be the least racist president since Abe Lincoln.

Mr. Trump wants to destroy the Affordable Care Act amid 150,000 deaths, and his friend Glen Beck says it’s not a tragedy if people like me die, because we’re over 70. He attacks Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has tried to give us the latest updates on how to protect ourselves, and, unbelievably, he has suggested that ingesting toxic substances “might” keep us safe. As for gun safety — he didn’t even weigh in on bump stocks.

Black lives and all lives, human and non, matter.

Mr. Trump wants to undo the National Environmental Policy Act, which protects people and their surroundings from dangers posed by poorly planned projects. If he’s reelected, the Endangered Species Act will be history. All information on climate change from EPA’s website has been removed, and his war on science includes demoting and firing climate scientists. He has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, and bragged about how he didn’t need to read a bipartisan report on the threats to Earth’s atmosphere and the impacts of temperatures rising to record levels. The U.S. will no longer support the World Health Organization which, though flawed, faces the monumental task of providing aid to victims of famine, of war, and now of the COVID pandemic.

Many say they will still support Trump because he “fights for what we believe in,” the word life being a major reason. But there is no indication whatsoever that Trump is trying to protect life — any life, really, but his own political one. Anyone who rides Trump’s “Pro Life” coattails is an accessory to a terrible lie. If Dale Crafts is pro-life, he needs to demonstrate an understanding of all that the word means; otherwise he shouldn’t be supported.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

Voters' decision 'misguided'

I am extremely disturbed by the citizens of Lincolnville following the misguided lead of the select board and voting to allow the town to sell the the Schoolhouse Museum building at the beach.

This building is the home for the town’s Historical Society and the Lincolnville Improvement Association. All this was done, it seems, with little consideration of the importance of the town’s historical collections and the significant contributions by the Improvement Association. It was a purely financial decision based on extravagant cost projections by a consulting firm with little consideration for the building’s tenants, and no obvious thought on how to preserve the historical collections or activities of the Improvement Society should the building be sold..

The select board’s offer to sell the building to the two organizations would have been wonderful if these two groups were younger, and capable of generating large amounts of funds and volunteers to manage such activities. They are not! They are run by volunteers with an average age of close to 80 years of age and operating on minimal budgets with few organizational assets.

The Historical Society currently provides a safe and secure place within the museum to display and store our towns historical artifacts. If the members were younger finding, funding, and moving collections to new homes might be possible.

The town fathers and voters in their infinite wisdom have left these two important organizations without any immediate means of survival if their home is sold.

If the Historical society board members, for example, were to resign which is an option available to them, how would the town protect the collections, many of which belong to the town?

I’m certain solutions are available but not without the town’s assistance and perhaps the kindness of individual citizens.

Sandy Delano

Lincolnville

LHS Board Member

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