MAINE WATER NETWORK ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF WATER ISSUES SURVEY OF STATE POLITICAL CANDIDATES

Maine Water Network

Save Our Water * Food & Water Watch Fund

POWWR    * Defending Water for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 21, 2010 Contact: Nisha Swinton, 202-683- 4923

MAINE WATER NETWORK ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF WATER ISSUES

SURVEY OF STATE POLITICAL CANDIDATES

Portland–The results of the Maine Water Network’s Groundwater Survey, sent to the state’s gubernatorial candidates and candidates for state legislative offices, are in. The Maine Water Network is a coalition of four organizations: Food & Water Watch Fund, Defending Water for Life in Maine, Save our Water, and Protecting Our Water and Wildlife Resources (POWWR).

The survey results show that the majority of the respondents are in favor of legislation to safeguard and further protect Maine’s freshwater resources,” said Nisha Swinton, Maine organizer for Food & Water Watch Fund. “To our knowledge, this effort represents the first survey of candidates for state office on groundwater issues.”

The survey revealed that the majority of respondents supported legislation that would further regulate and manage large groundwater withdrawals for commercial use.

71% of the respondents would like to replace absolute dominion law, which currently regulates our groundwater, with a law that would protect our groundwater in the pubic interest. Furthermore, 82% of the respondents do not support future industrial and private groundwater extractions projects on public land.

Currently, Maine’s groundwater resources are in need of stricter regulations to ensure that public input on large-scale water extraction has priority,” Swinton said.

Overwhelmingly, the candidates participating in the survey also back local control of groundwater resources and increased public participation in the regulatory process. For instance, with regards to the debated groundwater well-permitting process, candidates recommend expanding the roles of city and town officials, of regional planning commissions, and of lake and river associations.

Worldwide, water is a current hot topic. At issue are questions regarding its use and its conservation, including matters of ownership, management, distribution and protection,” said Virginia Woodwell, member of POWWR. “And, precisely because our state appears to have ample supplies of water, Maine is being targeted by those who would exploit that critical natural resource, one that is essential for all life. We need our elected officials to ensure that this groundwater is protected both for and by the public.”

Find out what the candidates in your district had to say about protecting your groundwater at: soh2o.org, foodandwaterwatchfund.org, and defendingwater.net/maine

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The Maine Water Network is a group of concerned Mainers dedicated to assuring that our state’s water resources are protected in the public interest.

Name of Candidate: Edward Paul Harold Seth howard Benjamin Marriner chris peter Philip Lynne Rick frederick Robert Michael Patrick Ben Laura Ann Ron Denise Kevin David Seab Irving Richard Shawn James Carolyn Charles Ann Lee Lisa Joe
Last Legg Liebow Dowse Berner farr Pratt miller edgecomb Curtis Williams Burns austin Sezak Score Calder Chipman Ordway Peoples Collins Harlow Scott Richardson Flaherty Faunce Ruhlin Moody Parker Dodge McGrew Peoples Roberts Villa Brooks
Name of individual who filled this out if not the candidate: Rick Irving same Dede James Joe
Last Burns Faunce Perkins Parker Brooks
Position that you are running for: House District #141 Senate District #31 House District #27 House District #115 House District #122 House District #20 Senate District #11 House District #4 House District #86 State Senate Senate District #2 House District #25 House District #84 House District #149 House District #114 District #119 House District #125 State Senate Disrict # 2 House District #116 Governor Representative Re-Election Maine House District 127 – Scarborough House of Representatives District #90 House of Representatives – district #21 Maine Governor House District #18 House District #39 State Representative / District #91 House #125 State House District #53 State Representative House District #42
1. Maine is an Absolute Dominion state, which allows the owner of a land parcel to extract as much water as he or she desires without regard for other water users. It is a first-come, winner takes all legal policy. The rule was adopted in the late 1800s. Most states have abolished this legal principle. The basis for this common law rule is that owners have an unlimited right to resources under their property without having to consider the watershed or other users. Per a 1999 decision by the Maine Supreme Court, abolishing Absolute Dominion would take a new law by the Maine legislature. Would you support abolishing the Absolute Dominion Law? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
2. Surface waters greater then 10 acres, including lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands are held in the public trust in Maine. Would you vote in favor of including Maine’s groundwater in the public trust? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes n/a Yes Yes Yes Yes
3. Would you sponsor or co-sponsor legislation putting Maine’s groundwater into the public trust? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Would consider Yes
4. Groundwater—water resources accumulated through rain and run-off that over time becomes filtered through the soil and stored in underground aquifers—is an integrated component of the hydrologic systems that includes springs, lakes, rivers and wetlands. Present law in Maine protects surface water yet neglects groundwater. Would you sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to establish groundwater protection law in Maine? Yes Yes Yes Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Would Consider Would Consider Yes Would Consider Yes
5. Do you support expanding the role of city and town officials, regional planning commissions, and lake/river associations in the significant groundwater well permitting process? Yes Yes Yes Would Consider Would Consider Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Would Consider Would Consider Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider Yes Yes Would Consider No Would Consider Yes Would Consider Would Consider Would Consider Would Consider Yes
6. If you answered yes to Question 5, how might you go about expanding the role of the above-mentioned groups? I believe there needs to be a strong regional group to regulate water issues. Texas actually has in the past set up model commission with Real Power, such as in the Edwards Aquifer where the city of San Antonia was compromising the water supply for other municipalities in central Texas and river authorities like the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). I’D LOVE TO SEND MY CV AS IT WOULD BE AN EXTENSION OF MY LIFEWORK–NRCM,NWF,GPMCT,MEMS, ETC. Empower local code enforcement officers to issue drilling and extraction permits for commercial wells as set by state law. Local planning boards might also become involved in local standards. i would have to learn much more about grondwater runoff to make a knowedgeable decision on this I am not sure how the Legislature can go about expanding the role of towns, planning boards, assns, etc. I am always willing to talk with those folks about the role of the Legislature and what I think our respective roles can and should be. I wholeheartedly support local rights based ordinances and the rights of local communities to decide their own fate. I also know that building a groundswell of support for these water causes most definitely starts at the local level and I am willing to support them in any way I can. Requesting that members of local governments, planning boards and watershed associations be included in stakeholder groups or taskforces is something I believe could expand these groups roles, and I would be in full support. Something along the lines of putting the power in hands of various bioregional organizations. Otherwise you just get DEP selling it to Nestle’s. I am philosophically and politically opposed to the state regulating the commons. They have shown themselves to be more interested in opening up the commons to corporations rather than protecting the commons. The cities, towns and regions are much more in touch with the permitting process. Yet they too can be interested in selling out the commons. We need a multi-faceted approach. First, educate the current members of boards and commissions about our aquifers, groundwater issues and what comprises the commons. Secondly, organize to pass local ordinances that will protect our groundwater from large scale extractions. Show political strength and power. Third, identify and elect friends and supporters to select boards and councils, and pressure them to appoint friends and supporters to planning boards and commissions. It will take less energy and be more productive to get friends and supporters elected – those who support our issues and who we can trust to vote in support of those issues, rather than doing continual education and re-education. Decision-making around natural-resources use must be controlled from the municipal level upward. i would first organize separate meetings of each group. then i would have representitives meet to discuss common goals and plan an implementation program that would both enhance each groups strengths and minimize duplication of efforts. i would want to work with other areas of maine to see if our efforts could be customized to fit their groundwater projects I think that the vast majority of issues like these are best handled on the local level. I am a firm believer that the closer the government is to the local level, but better decisions it will be able for the people it represents. Therefore, issues of this nature should be handled almost exclusively by the cities and towns in question, and the state should only be involved when the water system in question is large and beyond the scope of a town or county. Municipalities have to take a environmental, not just legal, look at the impact of bulk grounwater extration, especially when that water leaves the aquifer and is not replenished in the same watershed. Bulk water extractors who take the water from a a given watershed need increased wellhead monitioring regulations and data to be reviewed by an municipality elected official as well as an independent hydrologist. Town officials also have to have more legal power to prevent filling stations within their towns which increase road use, noise & air pollution. It would be up to the community I would be sure that there was constant communication between all the groups regarding the permitting and joint meetings through the entire process. I am the only Maine State licensed Public Water Systems Operator in this contest. I came to that position due to financial mismanagement and operational incompetence in our local water district. Currently, I serve as Chairman of the Andover Water District Board of Trustees. The above mentioned groups would be invited to advise and discuss on water related issues pertaining to groundwater permitting, but only industrial scale, not small, local, private scale projects designed for consumption by those within an immediate area. Under my plan, existing ground water extraction may be “grandfathered” for those small companies providing drinking water services to Maine business offices, residents, etc in the form of traditional “water coolers” and such. Maine must achieve some reduction in the number of industrial, for profit, ground water well sources. In order to do this effectively we will base these restriction on how much corporate revenues a company derives from ground water extraction. Obviously municipal ground water extraction paid for, and supplied to, water district customers is exempted. The best solution is a law prohibiting additional industrial scale ground water extraction and reducing the amount of single corporate owned wells. My campaign is about increasing participation of municipal and county government, empowering local decision making and action by voters closest to the issues. Specifically, I will seek legislation to eliminate additional industrialized water withdrawal in our State by passing legislation that recognizes ground water as a public resource. More public review, more public comment, more public involvement. Water matters, and we shouldn’t be allowing multinational conglomerates to make natural resources decisions for our State. Build a stakeholder coalition that includes Maine Municipal Association, Maine County Commissioners Association, Congress of Lake Associations and the Regional Planning agencies. N/A I think the well head protection regulations which are in effect should be enforced by these groups and not avioded as is often the case Through policy regulation that is put through the municipal public voting process. We must have cooperation between business and non-business interests wherever natural resources are concerned. Give permitting authority to town Planning Boards over aquifers that had surface development such as mining.
7. Do you believe that municipalities have the right to prohibit commercial water extraction projects? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
8. Would you support a resolution where the Maine State Legislature would ask the United States Trade Representative to remove water from Free Trade Agreements like North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS) as the Maine Citizens Trade Policy Commission has recommended? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Complex question- need to study Yes Yes Yes Yes Don’t know enough to make a decision. Would like more information on this question. I would need to learn more about the implications of this, and how water relates to these agreements. Yes
9. Do you believe that Maine should pursue legislation requiring a high level of investment disclosure and transparency in ownership for applicants for groundwater withdrawals so that municipalities and the state shall know which international trade agreements might apply before signing any contract with a foreign multinational corporation? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
10. We are interested in knowing your position on the taking of groundwater resources from public lands in Maine. Public lands often protect water supply areas for Maine communities. Do you support future industrial and private groundwater extractions projects on public land? No No No No No No No Yes No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No No No No
11. If elected would you sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to prohibit public lands from industrial groundwater extraction projects? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes I would strongly consider this. No No No Yes
12. If elected would you sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that would prevent tax money to subsidize easements that permitted industrial groundwater extraction? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes/No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No

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