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DW Newsletter #1, June 2011

June 21, 2011

Greetings to our Defending Water for Life in Maine allies and friends,

We want to let you know what has been going on with us and to let you know about what is coming up so we have decided to send out a quarterly newsletter. This is #1!

Also be sure to visit http://www.defendingwater.net/maine We are keeping the site up to date with news, information for organizing and events.  We hope you will contact us with needs or suggestions you have. We are committed to our fight against corporate water mining and to connecting communities who want to assert their right to local control in their towns.

We look forward to hearing from and seeing you!  Please, do not hesitate to contact us at any time with your ideas, feedback, or nitty gritty on Nestle or other profiteers…

Water for Life!

 

Chris Buchanan

chris(at)defendingwater(dot)net

(207) 357-1443

 

Denise Penttila

denise(at)defendingwater(dot)net

(207) 332-3579

 

DEFENDING WATER FOR LIFE IN MAINE

NEWSLETTER #1, JUNE 2011

 

Chris Buchanan Joins the Defending Water Team

Hello there!  It is such a pleasure and a blessing for me to join Denise Penttila as part of the Defending Water for Life in Maine team! I am coming into this role with the passion and focus of someone who has been nurturing a sprout for many years, and is now gleefully anticipating the harvest. In other words, I have put off organizing for a long time to learn about people and communities, develop my communication skills, and feel grounded in my life, and now I am ready to dive in and listen, support people, and bring more people together on our shared vision of a world with healthy water that is not controlled by corporate interests. I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with all of you and build our network to Defend Water for Life in Maine.

 

Mother Earth Water Walk in Maine May 7 – May 12: Report by Chris Buchanan

Native peoples representing the five tribes of the Wabanaki Nation of Maine and Canada gathered on May 7 at a sacred site in Machiasport to begin the Eastern Directions ceremonial walk to Bad River, Wisconsin, where they converged on June 12 with walkers from the North, South and West for a great ceremony. The mission was to raise awareness of the sacred and critical role of healthy water to all life.

As an organizer with Defending Water for Life in Maine covering this region, I supported the walkers by spreading information, organizing overnight stays in Ellsworth, Etna, Athens, and Stratton, being the primary contact for Maine walkers and supporters, coordinating safety of the walkers with local police, providing guidance on the route, and by participating in the ceremony as a walker.

The Water Walk has been one of the most powerful experiences I have had. There is something incredible about focusing all of your energy and intention on praying to water, healing water, and acknowledging the critical presence of water in everything… It was an amazing opportunity.

The mission of the Anishinawbe Grandmothers that started this walk in 2003 is so aligned with the mission of our project, Defending Water for Life in Maine.  We want people to be aware of water in everything.  We want people and ecosystems to have the right to healthy water in their communities.  Never should water be mined and sold for profit by a private corporation like Nestle. Being driven by dollars, they will never have the best interests of the community, the people, or nature in mind.

Before the Walk started this year, one of the lead walkers said, “We are doing this walk on our own beliefs within our own aboriginal culture and values of the importance of our waters.  [Water] is very precious and sacred to our being, as it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist.”  The walk is, “a prayer for the water, for Mother Earth, for the animals, the birds, the insects, the trees and for us, all two leggeds. Together the walks were one prayer for life.”

For more information on the Mother Earth Water Walk, please visit the website, http://www.motherearthwaterwalk.com/.  I would also be happy to share my experiences with anyone who is interested in chatting!

 

Tapped

Defending Water was pleased to participate in two viewings of Tapped this spring. On March 5 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sanford and on April 22 at the First Universalist Church in Rockland. There we got to connect with some old friends and meet some new ones.

One result of the Sanford show was inviting Al Pelletier of POWWR to sit down with Denise and Linda Dumey to talk about his long time activism in the water movement. This “Conversation with Al Pelletier” was filmed and is available on dvd. Thank you Al.

The folks in Rockland were very informed and knowledgeable. Three of the people we met went on to attend CELDF’s Democracy School held in Waterville later that month.

Thanks to the UU Churches who are true friends of water and always willing to help.

 

Defending Water Helps Beat Back Attempts At Dismantling Maine’s Bottle Deposit Law

In 1976, Maine became one of the first states to adopt a bottle law. This legislation was designed to clean up roadsides of discarded cans and bottles and to promote recycling.

In 1979, the industry attempted to repeal Maine’s bottle law via referendum. Eighty-five percent of voters rejected the effort.

This year 6 bills were introduced in the House of Representatives each of which would chip away at Maine’s bottle redemption program. The public hearing on these bills was held on April 15 in Augusta before the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Chris testified in opposition to the bills on behalf of Defending Water for Life in Maine The following bills were introduced:

LD 728  An Act To Reduce Truck Travel Caused by the Bottle Redemption Laws.

Sponsored by Senator Christopher Rector.

LD 1324  An Act To Create Consistency and Fairness in Maine’s Bottle Bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Kerri Prescott.

LD 900  An Act To Reduce Fraud in Bottle Deposit Redemption.

Sponsored by Rep. Robert Hunt.

LD 1063 An Act To Restore Limits on the Location of Licensed Redemption Centers and

Improve Operations. Sponsored by Rep. Kerri Prescott.

LD 1210 An Act To Exempt Small Distributors from Unclaimed Deposit Requirements.

Sponsored by Rep. Erin Herbig.

LD 1255 Resolve, To Study Initiatives To Increase Recycling in Maine.

(Emergency) Sponsored by Senator David Hastings of Fryeburg.

Five of the six bills were defeated in committee. The sixth, LD 1324, passed in committee with two amendments and incorporated language from LD900. The good news is that the provisions in LD1324 to remove containers larger than 28 ounces from the bottle bill and to establish a uniform deposit of 5¢ for all containers were deleted from the bill.  (Wine bottles now require a 10 cent deposit.)  However, the amended bill retains the LD900 provision allowing a civil action against any person, other than a licensed redemption center, that is found in possession of or knowingly tenders to a redemption center or retailer more than 48 beverage containers that were not originally sold in this State. It also increases the penalty for possession of containers not originally sold in this State.

The bill as amended was passed by the legislature and is now on its way to becoming law.

For more details about this bill and the hearing, go to last page of newsletter.

 

Maine Initiatives 2011 Watering Can Award

On June 16, 2011 Protect our Water and Wildlife Resources (POWWR) received Maine Initiatives Social Landscape Artist Award: “For changing Maine’s landscape by taking on the root cause of social problems, devising creative solutions, shifting policies or practices, and influencing others to take action.”

In 2008 Nestle Waters went into the Vernon Walker Game Preserve and drilled 23 test wells without the consent of Shapleigh or Newfield. It took almost three years to get Nestle to remove its wells and leave. In that time, Shapleigh and Newfield became the first Maine town’s to pass rights-based ordinances for voting down operations such as Nestle.

This award was presented to POWWR by CELDF’s Gail Darrell who, after being introduced to local concerned citizens by Defending Water’s organizer, Emily Posner, worked closely with them to assert their right to local control of their towns and resources.

Defending Water for Life in Maine congratulates POWWR for their triumph over Nestle Waters and for joining together and working as a team to protect their environment and community rights and to deny corporations Constitutional rights in their towns.

 

Upcoming Events

Harry’s Hoe Down, June 24-25-26

45 Abijah Hill Road, Starks, Maine  04911
www.FriendsofTheHill.com or email: HarryBrownsFarm@gmail.com

Description: Outdoor music festival at Harry Brown’s Farm, “The Hill.” Operated by Harry Brown & his family.  They are a multi-generational land-based organic family enterprise that formed to carry on the tradition of activist festival gatherings & pass on stewardship of the land to the next generation. This year the Brown’s are focusing on bringing the activist community together so that we can all collaborate.

Defending Water will be at the Hill on Saturday, June 25.  Please come visit us in the activist tent so we can share and learn from each other!

 

West Athens July 4th Parade

Description: The West Athens 4th of July Parade is a gathering of people who want to celebrate Independence Day by expressing Free Thought and True Democracy. It is open to everyone who wants to participate, so every year is a unique experience! Parade starts at the corner of the Valley Road and Chapman ridge Road in West Athens. Arrive around 10:30 AM.

We think it’s a good opportunity to meet new people and raise awareness about water in Maine. Defending Water for Life in Maine will be there!  Hope to see you.

 

The Common Ground Fair, September 23, 24 and 25

294 Crosby Brook Road Unity, Maine 04988

www.mofga.org

Description: The premier event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. MOFGA, formed in 1971, is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country. Local organic foods, Maine artisans, music, dancing, farming equipment and livestock demonstrations, garden tours, children’s activities, traditional games and the bounty of Maine’s creative and agricultural communities.

Visit Defending Water For Life In Maine at the Environmental Concerns space and discuss protecting Maine’s fresh water supplies and how Maine communities can assert their rights to local control of their natural resources.

 

Thank you Ryan!

We wanted to take a moment to thank Ryan Clark from Corinth for picking up the Defending Water torch from Emily Posner after she left last summer for law school in New Orleans.  Ryan was splitting his time between organizing with Defending Water and dairy farming. This spring he followed his heart into full-time farming and recommended Chris Buchanan as someone who could take up the Defending Water torch from him. Ryan is a very talented grassroots organizer and he will be missed, however, we know Ryan will always defend water and Mother Nature as a life-long activist. Thank you Ryan for all of your thoughtful contributions, your patient and flexible support to get Chris started, and your commitment to justice and a healthy earth.

 

Bottle Bill Details

Those testifying against the bills were the owners of several redemption centers,

Natural  Resource Council of Maine, Clayton Kyle, chief executive officer of Clynk,

Patricia Curley, director of the Stockton Springs Public Library, Kevin Roach

from Eco Maine a non-profit waste management company, Steve Smith from SMI glass

recycling company and Chris Buchanan from Defending Water For Life In Maine.

 

Those testifying in favor of the bills were Newell Augur, attorney and lobbyist for the

Maine Beverage Association, David Dumont, president of the MBA and Director of

Operations for Coca-Cola Maine, the Maine Beer and Wine Association and Hal Prince

from the Dept. of Agriculture’s Quality Assurance and Regulations Division.

 

The Maine State Legislative web site states,

Last Senate Action on LD 728, LD 900, LD1063, LD 1210 and the “Emergency”

LD 1255 was on 5/5/2011 and that these five bills were – Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3

Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD).

 

The Maine State Legislative web site states,

LD 1324  An Act To Create Consistency and Fairness in Maine’s Bottle Bill

was passed with 2 amendments.

 

SUMMARY of LD1324

The bill proposes to remove containers larger than 28 ounces from the bottle bill and to establish a uniform deposit of 5¢ for all containers. The amendment strikes those provisions. The amendment retains those sections of the bill that change the committee of jurisdiction that reviews major substantive rules. The amendment also adds provisions that:

1. Remove the requirement that 50% or more of like beverage containers for which deposits are initiated in the State must be covered in a commingling agreement. This allows initiators of deposit who do not initiate 50% or more of like beverage containers to enter into commingling agreements;

2. Incorporate the provisions of L.D. 900 that allow an initiator of deposit to bring a civil action against any person, other than a licensed redemption center, that is found in possession of or knowingly tenders to a redemption center or retailer more than 48 beverage containers that were not originally sold in this State. It also increases the penalty for possession of containers not originally sold in this State to be consistent with the penalty for tendering such containers and removes reference to a first year warning period from the penalty provision;

3. Clarify that unclaimed deposits received under the bottle bill are not deposited in the Maine Solid Waste Management Fund; and

4. Direct the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources to undertake rulemaking regarding commingling agreements, plastic bags and redemption center locations.

 

To read Actions for LD 1324 go to,

http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/dockets.asp?ID=280040926

 

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