Report: Water Prices Rise Sharply Across America; Double and Triple in Some Locales

SHTFplan.com

Mac Slavo, Oct. 1, 2012

It’s often overlooked and taken for granted, but it’s the most essential of all human resources.

Water.
We’re paying 75% more for it today than we were in the year 2000.
According to a recent study by USA Today, which looked at 100 large municipalities across the country, the price increases over the last decade are so significant that many Americans are having to cut other expenses just to keep up:

…the cost of this necessity of life has outpaced the percentage increases of some of these other utilities, carving a larger slice of household budgets in the process.

“I don’t know how they expect people to keep paying more for water with the cost of gas and day care and everything else going up,” complains Jacquelyn Moncrief, 60, a Philadelphia homeowner who says the price hikes would force her to make food-or-water decisions. She gathered signatures on a petition opposing a proposed water rate increase in her city this year.

USA Today’s study of residential water rates over the past 12 years for large and small water agencies nationwide found that monthly costs doubled for more in 29 localities. The unique look at costs for a diverse mix of water suppliers representing every state and Washington, D.C. found that a resource long taken for granted will continue to become more costly for millions of Americans. Indeed, rates haven’t crested yet because huge costs to upgrade or repair pipes, reservoirs and treatment plants loom nationwide.

In three municipalities — Atlanta, San Francisco and Wilmington, Del. —water costs tripled or more.

Source: USA Today

According to the report, we can expect rates to continue to rise at a whopping 5% to 15% per year going forward, and for a variety of reasons.

The trend toward higher bills is being driven by:

– The cost of paying off the debt on bonds municipalities issue to fund expensive repairs or upgrades on aging water systems.

– Increases in the cost of electricity, chemicals and fuel used to supply and treat water.

– Compliance with federal government clean-water mandates.

– Rising pension and health care costs for water agency workers.

– Increased security safeguards for water systems since the 9/11 terror attacks

One critical aspect USA Today failed to mention as a reason for higher prices and the adverse effects on our purchasing power is, of course, monetary expansion over this same time period. While water prices are up in the high double digits over the last decade, the same cannot be said for Americans’ wages.

Taking that into consideration, we may well see rates go even higher than estimated.

Coupled with an ever expanding global population, the notion that countries will soon be fighting water wars over this critical resource is not out of the question.

The days of endless clean and cheap water are behind us.

Meet the 13-Year-Old Taking On Bottled Water

AlterNet/By Maude Barlow, published Sept. 6, 2012

We should be encouraging the youth in our society to do exactly what Robyn is doing — engaging in local politics, acting to protect the environment and questioning the world around her.
In the last year, municipalities across Ontario and the rest of the country have begun taking a much-needed stand to protect local water sources. Since  World Water Day  in 2011, nine municipalities across Canada have become Blue Communities with many well on their way.

Blue Communities  are municipalities that adopt a water commons framework by: banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events, recognizing water as a human right, and promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and waste-water services.

The success of the Blue Communities project in Ontario can be mainly attributed to Robyn Hamlyn who has met with 18 mayors and councillors. She talks about the environmental impacts of bottled water, the preposterous amount of profit bottled water companies make off communities’ lakes and streams and the stricter standards with which tap water is regulated. People who hear Hamlyn speak are captivated by her charm, passion and foresight to think long term about our water sources. And the incredible part of this success story is that Hamlyn is only  13 years old .

Her success has not only caught the attention of mayors, city councillors, environmentalists and media but it has also caught the attention of industry and organizations that believe water should be sold for profit. Hamlyn’s determination and effectiveness has provoked responses from Nestlé and Enviroment Probe, an organization that promotes the sale of water as a commodity.

John Challinor, Director of Corporate Affairs for Nestlé, has written letters to local newspapers saying there are other initiatives that the 13-year-old and others “can and should focus on to help preserve, protect and strengthen our water systems that are more effective than targeting bottled water.” More recently, Essie Solomon, an intern for  Environment Probe , wrote an article in the  Financial Post , chiding municipalities for taking “their advice from a 13-year-old.” It was shocking to read Environment Probe’s attack on Hamlyn who has been volunteering her free time to meet with municipal councils across Ontario to talk about the impact of bottled water on current water sources, climate change and social justice.

We should be encouraging the youth in our society to do exactly what Robyn is doing — engaging in local politics, acting to protect the environment and questioning the world around her. Solomon, whose article is condescendingly titled ” Don’t bottle 13-year-old’s water wisdom ,” would do well to pay attention to Hamlyn’s work rather than toe the line of an organization that promotes the sale of water for profit.

It’s also insulting to mayors and councillors to imply they do not examine critically the information presented to them. Not only is Hamlyn dispelling important myths about bottled water but she is also raising important issues that Canada is facing.

We believe municipal governments and other public bodies should not spend public funds providing bottled water at meetings or events, when a cheaper and more sustainable public alternative is readily available on tap. It simply doesn’t make financial or environmental sense.

Municipalities are at a crossroads and face pressing infrastructure needs in the wake of budget cuts and conditional funding from the Harper government. The Harper government is targeting water and wastewater services for privatization. PPP Canada explicitly promotes privatization of public services by only allocating the $1.2 billion under the P3 Canada Fund to municipalities that let corporations deliver water and wastewater, transportation and communications services on a for-profit basis.

The Harper government has shut down public debate on many critical water issues and amended environmental legislation that will reverberate for generations to come. So we are heartened to see municipalities take on critical water issues and provide forums for much needed debate and it is in them that we place our hope.

The Blue Communities Project is a joint initiative of the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). This project builds on a decade of Water Watch work in coalition with many other groups to protect public water services and challenge the bottled water industry.  Click here  to learn more about the Blue Communities Project.

Largest Water License Goes to Chinese Buyer

the Telegraph
 AUSTRALIA’S largest water farm will today fall into Chinese hands after the government approved its controversial sale late last night.

Queensland’s giant Cubbie Station will be sold for marginally less than the mooted $300 million price tag to one of China’s leading textile producers, Shandong Ruyi.

The Foreign Investment Review Board is believed to have recommended to the federal government that the sale be allowed, with an announcement due today.

The Cubbie property holds the largest water licence in Australia and has long been the centre of dispute over water rights for NSW farmers along the Murray Darling Basin.

Cubbie Station, a collection of three vast properties with interconnected dams that can hold up to 539 billion litres of water – more than Sydney Harbour – had racked up $320 million in debt by the time administrators were called in three years ago.

 The $320 million cotton station has been under administration for three years with the government unable to find an Australian buyer.

However, concerns have been raised whether the plant will continue to be Australian-managed and there is about 20 per cent Australian equity in the Shandong Ruyi-backed consortium.

The 96,000ha Cubbie cotton plant, Australia’s largest cotton grower, is set for a bumper year with its vast dams still brimming after two seasons of good rain.

With cotton prices easing from an average of $550 a bale last year to $400, the plant’s sale for a price near $300 million is a tidy improvement on the $220 million price originally floated when put on the market in 2009.

Treasurer Wayne Swan last night insisted the acquisition of Cubbie Group would not impact on water management arrangements, as the company would remain subject to state and Commonwealth regulations.

None of the parties to the deal would comment yesterday but the National Party’s Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has led opposition to the sale, calling on the FIRB to block it.

Mr Joyce argued that because the property produces 10 per cent of Australia’s cotton crop and has massive irrigation entitlements attached to it, Cubbie is a strategic asset that should not be sold.

Cubbie chairman Keith de Lacy has said there was nothing wrong with it going to a Chinese buyer provided the local management was kept.

Proof of Cianbro input on PPP Law

Unofficial copy (for hardcopy contact Chris, chris(at)defendingwater(dot)net

 

Testimony

in support of LD 1639

An Act To Stimulate the Maine Economy and Promote the Development of Maine’s Priority Transportation Infrastructure Needs

Rep Bruce MacDonald

January 21, 2010

 

Good afternoon Senator Damon, Representative Mazurek and esteemed members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation.  I am Representative Bruce MacDonald, representing the island and coastal towns of Arrowsic, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Georgetown, Southport and Westport Island.  I am here today to present and ask for your support of LD 1636, An Act to Stimulate the Maine Economy and Promote the Development of Maine’s Priority Transportation Infrastructure Needs.

This bill before you today is the result of some good work over several months by a group of stakeholders, all of whom contributed to the language in the bill you have in front of you.  The stakeholder group consists of Maria Fuentes, Director of the Maine Better Transportation Association; John Melrose, Director of Maine Tomorrow; Tim Walton of Cianbro Corporation; John O’Dea of Associated General Contractors; and Bruce Van Note of the Maine Department of Transportation.

The purpose of this bill is to clear the way for the Department of Transportation to receive or solicit proposals and enter into agreements with private entities or consortia for the building, operation, ownership, leasing or financing of certain transportation projects as set forth in Public Law 2007, chapter 470.  It is also intended to provide the Private Development Community with clear guidelines by which they might be encouraged to invest in Maine’s priority infrastructure development needs.

All of you sitting here on this committee know far better than I that there is currently a backlog of billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure needs in the State.  The deteriorating condition of our roads and bridges constitutes an ongoing emergency.  Meanwhile, the infusion of public funds at adequate levels to meet this emergency is unlikely. Private funding for selected priority projects could alleviate this problem.  Such investments would stimulate job growth as well as improve our infrastructure at a time when the need is great and unemployment is high.

To stimulate these private dollars, this legislation is needed to clarify explicitly the terms and conditions under which private funds would be invited into public development projects.  The size of investment contemplated will require months of pre-planning on the part of both the State and possible private partners.  We know that willing potential private investors exist, and we know that the State is in principle willing to become involved in such partnerships.  This bill would clarify important elements in such arrangements and make private investment more likely.  Examples of clarification needed include contract lengths, operational responsibilities, revenue sharing and public safety issues.  To the extent such issues can be made clear ahead of time, then to that extent private investors will be more willing to come forward.

I will be followed by experts in this field who can testify to a far greater extent than I on the needs and on the effectiveness of this proposed legislation.  I hope you will ask them the many questions I am sure you have.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

 ###

(FYI: Tim Walton was Executive Director of the Associated Builders and Contractors, and in 2008 was “promoted” to vice-chairman of Region 7. Info here.  He is the Director of External Affairs for Cianbro, and serves as their lobbyist.  Cianbro, through Tim, spent $12K in Augusta this year and $19.5K last year lobbying.)

 

First Nation launches constitutional challenge to Shell tar sands expansion

  MONTHLY REVIEW                    

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation spokesperson Eriel Deranger speaks out against the oilsands at a recent event in Vancouver.

by David P. Ball
Indian Country Today October 5, 2012

A First Nation whose land sits in the heart of the Alberta oil sands has ramped up its legal battle against the vast industrial development, which has generated controversy because of its massive carbon footprint, untreated tailings ponds and at least three proposed pipelines: Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge‘s Northern Gateway.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) on October 1 launched a constitutional challenge based in Treaty 8 alleging that the provincial government and the energy giant Shell Canada, which is looking to expand its Jackpine oil sands mine in the band’s traditional territories, have failed to adequately consult them and thus have in effect violated their treaty rights to use their land traditionally.

The challenge, submitted to the review panel that is evaluating the proposal, calls for mandatory consultation with First Nation treaty signatories. It also demands that their right to access their territories for hunting, trapping, harvesting and other traditional uses be honored. The Chipewyan allege that the Jackpine expansion, by damaging the environment, would prevent them from engaging in those activities and resources and thus violate the treaty.

Treaty 8, which forms the basis for ACFN’s constitutional challenge, is a historic agreement between the Crown and indigenous nations that promised aboriginal people the right to use their traditional lands and natural resources, and to self-governance. The ACFN is hoping to ”set new precedents that may mean changes to the regulatory process,” the band said in a statement.

“Consultation and accommodation—and the way it’s being done—has become shady deals, and coercion does not encompass the idea of free, prior and informed consent,” ACFN spokesperson Eriel Deranger told Indian Country Today Media Network. “The communities here have been bullied—by industry, a pro-industry provincial government and a pro-industry federal government—to just shut up and take what we can get out of a deal.”

Shell’s proposal—already facing a separate ACFN lawsuit to halt or alter it—would see the Jackpine project increase production every day by 100,000 barrels. But the company must first complete a review that begins on October 29, and ACFN says that the 31,429-acre disturbance area of the mine would devastate part of the culturally important Muskeg River, which is where the nation conducts most of its traditional hunting, trapping and harvesting activities.

“What are the costs of pushing the industry through?” Deranger asked. “We’re talking about doubling production in the tar sands. We’re already having problems with the current pace of development. Doubling it is psychotic. Some people think the tar sands and First Nations people can coexist, [but] I don’t know how you could possible rip up thousands of kilometers of boreal forest and traditional territories, de-water, poison and contaminate river systems, and consider that a plausible way for coexistence?”

But Shell insisted that it has, in fact, consulted the First Nation repeatedly, and that it does respect ACFN’s treaty rights.

“Shell has engaged extensively with ACFN over the last 15 years,” spokesperson David Williams told The Globe and Mail. “We’re aware of their concerns around Treaty 8, and our door remains open.”

Deranger acknowledged that some aboriginal people are divided over the benefits of the oil sands (or what its opponents call tar sands) in which a thick oil product, bitumen, is extracted from the earth in an energy-intensive mining and refining process.

“There are First Nations who think the tar sands are great,” Deranger admitted. “People have jobs. People now can afford to take their kids to Edmonton to go to the dentist. These are luxuries for people. But we have to start weighing the costs.”

Those costs—hundreds of toxic tailings ponds, open pit mines, significant emissions and polluted rivers across a giant swathe of Alberta—have not been properly addressed with ACFN, Deranger says.

“How will they potentially mitigate the impacts on traditional and treaty rights from their proposed expansion project in the oil sands?” she asked. “Industry isn’t meeting those standards. We’re not going to make any deals with you anymore. We’re going to fight your projects tooth and nail through a process that already exists.”

Hunt for water in eastern Oregon has farmers scrambling to tap Columbia River

By Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian 

BUTTER CREEK — The crick, as it’s called, tumbles out of the Blue Mountains, carrying snowmelt and spring rain to the Umatilla River. Water is scarce here, eight to 12 inches of precipitation annually on the flats, but Butter Creek grows enough in its 57 mile run to become a rushing stream for a couple months a year. By high summer it is bone dry, a channeled low spot amid the sage.Early farmers claimed water rights and built seasonal dams to flood and saturate the rich bottom ground for the dry months. Later farmers built canals, tapped the Umatilla River, sank wells and pumped irrigation water, a practice that spread through the Umatilla Basin.

The basin blossomed with the combination of water, sunny days and a long growing season. Farmers say it’s the best place on the globe to grow irrigated vegetables, and it’s capable of producing even more food for a hungry world.

But it’s also a place where the finger-pointing over Oregon agriculture’s voracious water consumption hits home, and all sides recite the lessons of reckless water use from memory.

Heavy irrigation dropped aquifers by up to 500 feet in a matter of decades, among the steepest declines worldwide. A carbon-dating study showed wells had reached water that had been underground for 27,250 years.

Chinook and coho salmon runs in the Umatilla River were declared dead in 1926 and weren’t restored until 1994. Designation of four “critical groundwater” areas in the basin reduced irrigation rights basin-wide by 67 percent.

Farmers say the economic boom is stalled, and more water — say, 100,000 acre feet from the Columbia River — would allow them to grow more valuable crops. A 2006 study said recharging aquifers with river water would stimulate the basin’s economy by $344 million, create more than 2,000 jobs, increase labor income $72 million and add $5 million annually to state tax revenue.

Call it a push by Big Ag, but that’s not a pejorative out here. For all the glow of Willamette Valley farming, Umatilla and Morrow counties, 175 miles east of Portland, ranked second and third statewide in 2011 with $503 million and $477 million in gross farm and ranch sales, respectively. Agriculture provides more than 14,000 direct and secondary jobs in the basin, and its growers and food processors annually ship products worth more than $1 billion  to domestic and international markets.

Umatilla basin farmers have been seeking additional water for more than 20 years. They believe technology and mitigation will allow them to increase their draw from the Columbia, even during spring and summer, without harm to endangered salmon.

They say they’ve learned from past mistakes of over-pumping.

“Sins of our fathers,” acknowledges Craig Reeder, chief operating and financial officer of a large farm along Butter Creek.

Key conservation groups believe he’s sincere, in part because Reeder articulates their views even as he hammers home his own. But they are wary of pumping Columbia River water and the impact on salmon. And they question essentially rewarding the industry that caused the problems. You can see the thought bubble: “These guys drained an aquifer to grow watermelons in the desert, and now they want more?”

Reeder and others understand the concern about an agricultural “water grab.” Agriculture is the state’s largest water user, taking about 85 percent of the water diverted for out-of-stream use.

Gov. John Kitzhaber wants the problem fixed, and designated the basin an “Oregon Solutions” project in April. Recommendations from a 20-member committee of farmers, environmentalists and government regulators are expected by December.

Carefully scripted winter withdrawals from the Columbia — when fish don’t need it and there’s plenty to generate power — might be acceptable to all sides. Farmers hope for a solution that applies only to the Umatilla Basin — one that isn’t opposed by environmentalists because they see it as a troublesome precedent for the rest of the state.

By all accounts, the parties work hard to understand each other.

“We’ve been able to stay at the table,” says Joe Whitworth, president of Portland’s Freshwater Trust. “It hasn’t been the typical greens vs. browns debate.”

Fill it upJ.R. Cook, director of the Umatilla Basin Water Commission, leads the way to a shallow, 5-acre depression scooped from the sand and sage. Protruding from the center is the lip of a 18-foot diameter steel pipe, set vertically like the drain in a bathtub. This is the first test of artificially recharging the alluvial aquifer with Columbia River water.Its homemade look belies the serious nature of the question.Can the basin store some of the Columbia’s high winter flow and pump it back out during summer?

Using some of a $2.5 million state grant, Cook’s commission extended a pipeline from a poplar tree farm and last year pumped 2,000 acre feet of Columbia River water and 16,000 acre feet of Umatilla River water to the infiltration test site. An acre foot of water covers an acre of land one-foot deep.

Over months, the water settled and seeped. Fifty-two wells traced its path.

Cook talks about the unknowns. “Storage capacity, where it goes and how long it takes to get there, and the carryover question: If I leave it in the ground one year, will it be there the next?”

The early indication? The test area might be able to store 25,000 acre feet annually, a quarter of what farmers hope to pull from the Columbia. Not a silver bullet, Cook says, but helpful in combination with other projects.

On Butter Creek, to the south, farmers Kent Madison and Mike McCarty hold state permits to do their own, smaller recharges. When the creek runs high, they divert limited amounts of water to a series of laser-leveled fields set at grade, so each is saturated in turn. At an underground collection point, they pump some for irrigation, and also inject water into the deeper basalt aquifer.

The basin’s projects are miniscule compared to Eastern Washington, where farmers also want more Columbia water. In 2006, the Washington Legislature established a $200 million Columbia River Basin Development Account to “aggressively” seek new water sources.

Derek Sandison, state Department of Ecology’s regional point man, says 40 projects are in various stages. On the back burner is a proposal to dam Crab Creek and pump Columbia River water there for storage. It could hold one- to three-million acre feet, but it would likely cost billions and take decades.

Sandison says Eastern Washington’s water shortages also stem from heavy irrigation and over-appropriation of water rights, followed by groundwater declines and a reduction of irrigation rights.

“They put their money where their mouth is,” says J.R. Cook, of the Umatilla Basin.

Wait and see

The first irrigation well in the Butter Creek area was dug in 1925. The first reports of water table decline came in 1958. By 1972 the area had 72 irrigation wells, from 665 to 1,500 feet deep. Butter Creek’s critical groundwater designation came in 1986.

The search for more water has been on ever since.

Oregon administrative rule prohibits direct irrigation with Columbia River from April 15 to Sept. 30. Withdrawal for storage is allowed, but basin farmers say the Columbia often is going full-bore past April, and they believe water can be safely diverted after the cutoff date.

The state Water Resources Department says that’s possible, but the idea needs study.

Taking more water in summer is a different story. “We’d have to be convinced,” says department engineer Barry Norris.

But change may be afoot. The Oregon Solutions has Gov. John Kitzhaber’s support and the attention of Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland, chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Legislature’s involvement may not be necessary, Dingfelder says, if the basin solutions group reaches consensus.

“It’s premature to speculate how it will turn out,” she says.

Numerous complications exist. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla steadfastly pursue a settlement of their treaty rights to Umatilla River water. The impact of climate change on precipitation patterns is unknown.

Whitworth, of the Freshwater Trust, says the balance of fish and farm must be restored. Agriculture is “at once the most destructive and most necessary activity on the face of the earth,” he says.

But if technology and quantified conservation projects put the state in position to make tradeoffs and achieve environmental gain, “We’re all over this,” Whitworth says.

Numbers guy

Craig Reeder calls himself a numbers guy, and he lays out the value of water with PowerPoint efficiency.

Dryland wheat, grown without irrigation, produces about $100 an acre, he says. Adding one acre-foot increases that to $500 an acre. A second foot allows the farmer to grow hay and some vegetables at $1,500 an acre.

A third acre-foot of water allows production of potatoes, onions and carrots, which gain value to $5,000 an acre or more with processing and international shipment.

Umatilla Basin farms play in the big leagues. Bud Rich Potato is the national supplier of Wendy’s foil-wrapped baked potatoes. Riverpoint Farms supplies the red onions for Subway sandwiches. JSH Farms produces mint flavoring and spices for Colgate, Wrigley, Proctor & Gamble and McCormick. Madison Farms will supply canola oil to Whole Foods. The bag of frozen corn at Safeway in Hermiston was grown and processed within a 20-minute drive.

Hale Farms on Butter Creek, where Reeder is chief operating and financial officer, grows potatoes that go from harvest to McDonald’s french fries in two hours.

Reeder grew up in the Willamette Valley but spent his summers on an uncle’s farm on the eastern edge of the Umatilla Basin. He studied agriculture business management and finance at Oregon State University. In addition to working for Hale Farms, he grows 1,000 acres of unirrigated wheat and is piecing together ownership of farmland that’s been in the family for five generations.

More water ensures the basin’s arc of prosperity and a future for his son, Reeder says.

He fervently believes more water can be drawn from the Columbia without harm. High-tech pump screens, designed by Hermiston’s IRZ Consulting, prevent fish kill, he says. Irrigators could help pay to repair the Wallowa Lake Dam, increasing storage for release to the Columbia in summer and offsetting some of what basin farmers would draw, he says. Today’s center-pivot irrigation systems are far more efficient than sprinklers used decades ago.

The basin’s economic opportunity doesn’t require drying up the Columbia, Reeder says.

“It’s not about the traditional ‘Give us this water and we’ll put people to work,'” he says. “That’s not the only argument. It won’t work politically and it won’t work socially.

“We get it, now.”

Democrat David Pearson and GOP Raymond Wallace vie for House District 24 seat

By Rachel Ohm | 10-11-12 | Morning Sentinel

Link to Original Article

A Democrat opposed to an east-west highway in northern Maine and an incumbent Republican who wants more information about the project’s impact are competing for a state Legislative seat to represent an area that includes Athens and Harmony.

 

 

Democrat David B. Pearson, 63, of Dexter, faces incumbent Republican Raymond Wallace, 67, also of Dexter, in the race for House District 24 seat, which Wallace has held since winning a special election in November. The other towns in the district are Charleston, Dexter, Garland and Ripley.

Pearson, who is town manager of Sangerville, said he would like to see the state focus on local development and good use of natural resources. He said he does not support a proposed east-west highway across Maine, but would like to support local agriculture and local development groups.

Wallace, who is retired from the Dexter Shoe Company, said he supports the Legislature’s recent decision to fund a $300,000 study to examine the viability of the proposed 220-mile privately financed highway that would run through the Piscataquis Valley from Calais to Coburn Gore.

“I want to see the study done to see what the effects would be,” he said. “We are in northern Penobscot County and it’s a little out of the way. It’s hard to get people to invest in central Maine.”

He also said that he is in favor of development and wouldn’t restrict development in the area.

“We are a developing state and we need to develop it,” he said, adding that towns should focus on turning old buildings into housing or new businesses.

Meanwhile, Pearson has chosen to focus on local agriculture as a way to create more jobs.

“We ship too much lumber out of the state,” he said. “It is very rarely sawed or made into products here. We have lobster and fish but not many processing plants. We have great natural resources and transportation costs are going up, so why not make them into something here?”

As vice chairman of the Dexter Regional Development Corporation, Pearson has also been involved with local development and is working on the Fossa General Store in Dexter, a year-round indoor farmers market that is tentatively scheduled to open this fall.

Wallace, in turn, has emphasized the development of small business, business regulations and benefits for workers. During his first year in the Legislature he was on the Committee of Labor, Commerce and Economic Development, where he worked on reforming worker’s compensation, made changes to unemployment policy that he said helped unemployed people return to work and reorganized the board of the Maine Housing Authority.

“This past year was a good learning year for me,” he said, noting that because he only served during the second session of a term he was unable to sponsor any bills.

Both candidates are focused on the future of Maine for young people and cited it as a motivation for running for office.

“We need to show them there’s a future,” Wallace said. “Right now young people in Maine have nothing in the future for them.”

According to Pearson, “I’d like to see Maine take a different direction, making it a place where people want to live and not just come because labor is cheap or there are resources.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

rohm@mainetoday.com

Democrat David Pearson and GOP Raymond Wallace vie for House District 24 seat

By Rachel Ohm | 10-11-12 | Morning Sentinel

Link to Original Article

A Democrat opposed to an east-west highway in northern Maine and an incumbent Republican who wants more information about the project’s impact are competing for a state Legislative seat to represent an area that includes Athens and Harmony.

 

 

Democrat David B. Pearson, 63, of Dexter, faces incumbent Republican Raymond Wallace, 67, also of Dexter, in the race for House District 24 seat, which Wallace has held since winning a special election in November. The other towns in the district are Charleston, Dexter, Garland and Ripley.

Pearson, who is town manager of Sangerville, said he would like to see the state focus on local development and good use of natural resources. He said he does not support a proposed east-west highway across Maine, but would like to support local agriculture and local development groups.

Wallace, who is retired from the Dexter Shoe Company, said he supports the Legislature’s recent decision to fund a $300,000 study to examine the viability of the proposed 220-mile privately financed highway that would run through the Piscataquis Valley from Calais to Coburn Gore.

“I want to see the study done to see what the effects would be,” he said. “We are in northern Penobscot County and it’s a little out of the way. It’s hard to get people to invest in central Maine.”

He also said that he is in favor of development and wouldn’t restrict development in the area.

“We are a developing state and we need to develop it,” he said, adding that towns should focus on turning old buildings into housing or new businesses.

Meanwhile, Pearson has chosen to focus on local agriculture as a way to create more jobs.

“We ship too much lumber out of the state,” he said. “It is very rarely sawed or made into products here. We have lobster and fish but not many processing plants. We have great natural resources and transportation costs are going up, so why not make them into something here?”

As vice chairman of the Dexter Regional Development Corporation, Pearson has also been involved with local development and is working on the Fossa General Store in Dexter, a year-round indoor farmers market that is tentatively scheduled to open this fall.

Wallace, in turn, has emphasized the development of small business, business regulations and benefits for workers. During his first year in the Legislature he was on the Committee of Labor, Commerce and Economic Development, where he worked on reforming worker’s compensation, made changes to unemployment policy that he said helped unemployed people return to work and reorganized the board of the Maine Housing Authority.

“This past year was a good learning year for me,” he said, noting that because he only served during the second session of a term he was unable to sponsor any bills.

Both candidates are focused on the future of Maine for young people and cited it as a motivation for running for office.

“We need to show them there’s a future,” Wallace said. “Right now young people in Maine have nothing in the future for them.”

According to Pearson, “I’d like to see Maine take a different direction, making it a place where people want to live and not just come because labor is cheap or there are resources.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

rohm@mainetoday.com

Fluoride: Oregon Foes File Petitions

By   New York Times
Published: October 11, 2012

Opponents of a plan to add fluoride to the water supply in Portland filed petitions that could put the issue to a vote. The plan was passed by the City Council last month, set to take effect in 2014, but foes said the idea was rushed and that concerns about fluoride in dental decay prevention are unresolved. A group collecting petitions, Clean Water Portland, said that more than 41,000 signatures were submitted, more than twice the number needed to put the matter on the ballot.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/us/oregon-fluoride-foes-file-petitions.html?_r=0