Amid Drought, Water Wars Pick Up on Border

A view of the Red River looking east, north of Bonham, Texas. Texas is to the right, and Oklahoma is on the left. The border between the two states runs along the south (right) bank of the river.

A view of the Red River looking east, north of Bonham, Texas. Texas is to the right, and Oklahoma is on the left. The border between the two states runs along the south (right) bank of the river.

Jan. 16, 2013

The Texas Tribune

By Audrey White

As Texas’ drought wears into its third year, water fights are accelerating within the state as farmers, cities and industry compete for limited supplies from dwindling reservoirs. But many of these seem like small-scale skirmishes compared with the complex and high-stakes battles along Texas’ borders that stem from pacts signed decades ago.

Texas is currently locked in a legal conflict over water with New Mexico, and a North Texas county is suing to get access to a vast amount of water — more than 460,000 acre-feet, equivalent to a year’s supply for several Austin-size cities — from Oklahoma. Mexico is also delivering water from the Rio Grande to Texas at a slower than usual rate.

Along the Texas-New Mexico border, the rhetoric is particularly heated. Last week, Texas filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court that accused New Mexico of failing to deliver water from a reservoir along the Rio Grande known as Elephant Butte. New Mexico’s attorney general, Gary King, called the move “tantamount to extortion” and harmful to New Mexico’s farming interests. Texas counters that in accordance with a 1938 Rio Grande Compact, the water should be going to Texas farmers rather than being held in New Mexico.

In another case, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear, Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, wants Oklahoma to sell water from Red River reservoirs to the county. But Oklahoma has refused to sell water to the county, and Tarrant County sued. The case, which stems from a dispute over a 1980 Red River compact, began in 2007, and Tarrant County has lost in lower courts. The U.S. solicitor general had recommended the high court hear the case, which could have broader implications for other multistate water pacts around the country.

Battles over border water increase in times of drought, and so do the number of lawsuits and proposed laws that affect water use, preservation and distribution, according to Martin Rochelle, a water attorney in Austin. And with a drought that some experts predict could last until 2020, cross-border water relations will remain complex.

“Most of the important water laws have been passed during periods of drought, when people are focused on it,” said Glenn Jarvis, a McAllen attorney who works on water issues. “With the drought we’re in now, people are more likely going to be more focused on it and be inclined to do something about it either legally or in the courts.”

Back on the Rio Grande, Mexico is again behind on deliveries of water to Texas under a 1944 treaty that requires Mexico to deliver over the course of five years an average of 350,000 acre-feet of water to Texas per year. More than two years into the current five-year cycle, Mexico is almost 350,000 acre-feet behind schedule. (For comparison, the city of Austin used about 107,000 acre-feet in 2011.)

“Texas is aware of that, Mexico is aware of that, and we’ve been sitting down and talking about ways we can better understand the status of the basin,” said Sally Spener, a foreign affairs officer for the International Boundary and Water Commission, which oversees water agreements between the U.S. and Mexico.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mexico was behind schedule on water deliveries at the end of the five-year cycle and eventually made it up. Jarvis, the McAllen attorney, said it is too early in the cycle to tell what will happen. Texas is mindful of the challenges that extreme drought has posed for Mexico, he said.

The difficulty of managing water agreements across borders increases when it’s between countries rather than states, Jarvis said.

“When [treaties are] not enforced, you almost have to have more of a diplomatic solution rather than a court solution,” Jarvis said.

There is a bit of good news along Texas’ eastern borders because of the vastly different hydrologic climate in East Texas: Experts say there have been no major disputes between Texas and Louisiana or Arkansas over border water — yet.

* Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that Tarrant County was suing the state of Oklahoma for access to more than 460 million acre-feet of water. The figure should be 460,000 acre-feet.

URL: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/01/16/drought-water-wars-pick-borders/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 16, 2013


Amid Drought, Water Wars Pick Up on Borders
by Audrey White

Foreign Company Now Owns Six Major US Tolls Roads

Truckers Report

View Original Article.

In a short-sighted attempt to fill holes in their budgets, some states have been selling the control over their toll roads to private foreign investors. The most famous case is the Indiana Toll road 75-year lease that started back in 2006. During the first five years of control, the company in charge more than doubled the toll for five-axel trucks from $14 to $32. That same company has been buying up control of U.S. toll roads since 1999 and now controls 6 major U.S. roadways.

Spanish company Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte (or Cintra) just signed a deal with the state of Texas worth $1.38 billion where it will operate two future portions of the North Tarrant Express in Dallas/Fort Worth.

While previous deals signed by Cintra have been for up to 99 years of control, this new deal only gives them control for 43 years. The lease will start from the date of completion which is estimated to be in mid-2018.

The company has proudly declared that lanes that are currently toll-free will remain toll-free. Given that they will be taking control of primarily new lanes, this is not particularly comforting. The new roads will be built alongside the old overly-congested roads, but in order to use the new roads, drivers must pay tolls that increase based on the level on congestion. The more traffic there is in the free area, the more you’ll pay to get into the paid area. There has been no word yet on how much Cintra plans on charging for access to their “premium” roadway, or how much that price will fluctuate based on traffic.

Cintra hopes to grow their total tally to seven toll roads in the near future. A new deal is being drawn up by Cintra’s parent company, Ferrovial, in hopes of building a new toll road parallel to U.S. 460 in Virginia’s port region.

Pros and cons of east-west highway debated

The Quoddy Tides | January 25, 2013 | Edward French

Link to original article.

Although limited by time constraints in asking questions about the east-west highway project, the nearly 40 people who attended the forum in Eastport pressed the project developer on issues ranging from how the project would benefit Maine, why rail isn’t being considered instead and how much the truck traffic to the Port of Eastport might increase. The informational meetings, held January 18 in Eastport and Calais, were presented by the Cianbro Corporation, which is proposing the project, and the Sunrise County Economic Council.
In his presentation, which took up most of the meeting, Darryl Brown, the program manager for the east-west highway project for Cianbro, pointed to the project’s selling points: attracting additional investment to Maine’s rural communities; reducing travel time; improving utility transmission; and revitalizing Maine’s ports. “It can make Maine the breadbasket of the Northeast,” he said.
Noting that “people are leaving the northern part of the state in droves” and pointing to statistics on the economy, unemployment rate and median age that all show that northern Maine is not faring well, Brown stated, “We believe this will be an economic booster for all of Maine’s economy.”
The 220-mile, 500-foot-wide privately funded corridor would run from Calais to Coburn Gore, and the four-lane highway would provide easier access to the major markets in the Midwest for the Maritimes. Brown noted that Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states lacking an east-west transportation route. Linking to the trade gateways of Montreal and Chicago is “critical to Maine’s economy,” Brown said, noting that Lincoln Paper and Tissue has estimated it would save over $1 million a year in the company’s transportation costs. He added that privately funded infrastructure projects are increasingly being undertaken, since public funding has dried up. At least six interchanges are planned for access to the highway in the state, and a recreational trail would be developed within the corridor.
Brown outlined how the route would be determined, with Cianbro considering property lines, the avoidance of homes, topography, wetlands, conservation lands, deer yards, vernal pools and other environmental concerns. The company is committed to providing wildlife crossings, and eminent domain would not be used for any land acquisition for the road. “It will be the most environmentally compliant road in North America,” he said.
However, a recent Sierra Club national report cites the highway proposal as one of the worst transportation projects in the United States, noting potential negative impacts on Maine’s air and water quality and critical wildlife habitat. The report states that similar highway proposals have been studied and rejected numerous times in the past and that the privately funded highway connecting the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick through forested regions in Maine would serve large industry and trucking interests at the expense of Maine communities. Sierra Club Maine is advocating that the state consider revitalizing the existing freight rail line, which parallels the proposed highway route.

Truck traffic to port
During the forum, Brown said the project would help the Port of Eastport attract additional markets. Container ship traffic is the most efficient means of transporting goods, and that traffic is expected to triple from 2008 to 2024. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, many major ports are having to dredge or cannot handle the larger post-Panamax vessels. “There will be a huge need for ports to handle these larger ships,” Brown said, noting that the Port of Eastport has the greatest depth, at 64 feet, of any port in the continental U.S.
The east-west highway route would go south of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, which would provide closer connectivity for the Port of Eastport. Although the proposal does not at present indicate an access point for the toll highway near the port, Brown said an interchange, possibly near Route 214 in Charlotte, could be included. Questions were raised about the estimated increase in truck traffic in the Eastport area, and Brown said more work needs to be done on any estimates.
Concerning why a rail project is not being undertaken instead, Brown said that rail works best for transporting bulk materials but trucks are better for “just in time” delivery, a production strategy used by certain businesses and industries. “The best model is to have rail, trucks and ports.” Eastport Port Director Chris Gardner commented that port officials know that there is a limit on how much truck traffic can be handled at the port. “Rail connectivity has to be part of our future,” he said. “Without that, we can’t grow to meet our capacity. We want this to mesh with the highway.”

Benefits for Maine?
Others observed that the highway would help Canada a great deal, particularly the Nova Scotian ports at Halifax and Melford, but they wondered how it would help Maine. Suzanne Brown of Milbridge asked how the project would bring money into the state. Noting that she is invested in a farm that serves a local instead of a global market and that the poor soil in Washington County prevents local farmers from competing globally, she said, “I don’t see the highway addressing the state’s economic issues. I don’t think it’s the answer.” Brown responded that the project is being done for Maine, not Canada, and noted that there are good farmland soils in some areas of Maine. He said that Canadian truckers are excited about the project and that they would be paying for the highway through tolls.
Pam Dyer Stewart of Harrington asked what would happen to families that are displaced by the corridor. She said the toll highway would “suck the life out of downtowns” and that the development of distribution centers along the highway, with big-box stores, would harm local small businesses. Studies have shown that such highways do not benefit a state and hurt local downtowns, she said. Brown replied that Cianbro is “committed to limiting the impact to property owners as much as possible.”
Steve Koenig, executive director of Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement), noted that the corridor would cut across rivers that have an endangered species listing for Atlantic salmon, and Brown said Cianbro would work with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other groups on that issue.
Concerning possible use of the corridor for power lines or pipelines, Brown says in an interview that there are no plans at this time, although a fiber optic line along the highway corridor might be a possibility. “Down the line there may be a need” for other uses of the corridor, he says. The permitting process for this project, which is estimated will take three years, will be only for the highway. A transmission line or pipeline would have to proceed through a separate permitting process in the future.

Audiolog East-West Corridor Presentations, January 18, Eastport & Calais

Audiolog

East-West Corridor Presentation

January 18, 2013

Darryl Brown, EWC Program Manager, Cianbro

 

Eastport, Maine, Shead HS, 2:45–4:00

(File 1)

1:40–3:40  —  Brown’s background: owns Eastport property, recent posts w/ Maine Land Development, 2 yrs. DEP Commissioner.

3:90–5:00  —  Transparent as they can be at this point. Project of state significance; not trying to separate state in two. This project needs to happen.

5:10–9:00  —  Economic disparity between N & S of state. ME’s rep as one of worst states to do business. Older population, poverty, unemployment.

9:00–10:40  —  Corridor 220 miles long, 500’ wide, 13,333A. Toll hwy. Calais to Coburn Gore. Privately funded, owned, and maintained; policed by ME state police under contract from owner (like ME Tpke). Cianbro committed that project will be constructed by ME companies and people.

10:40–12:40  —  ME close to Canada, Brown’s father born in NB, Canada our friend. Canadian companies 6 largest investors in ME, 1/3 of ME goods to Canada, Canadian tourism.

12:45–15:45  —  Global container traffic, TEUs container ships 20’ long x 8’ x 8’; most efficient, least expensive way to ship product around world, as little as 1 container per ship; major way of shipping products.

15:50–18:20  —  Panama & Suez expanding to accommodate larger ships; huge need for these larger ships to get to ports that can take them. Ports already investing in expanding/developing. Eastport at 64’ deeper than anywhere else on E or W coast, huge opportunity. ME perfectly positioned to expand and develop deepwater ports. Not just deep but no obstructions, no bridges to raise (see Calais 5, 2:40), critical in developing gateway port.

18:20–23:50  —  ME in middle of Atlantic gateway. East of ME, all 4 lanes. ME, NH, VT have no 4-lane E-W connectivity. Lacking just 62 miles 4-lane to Sherbrooke, then 4 lanes to Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, Midwest manufacturing. Current routes at least 2 hours longer travel time depending on congestion; quicker travel, less fuel, reduce carbon footprint. Lincoln Tissue one example of savings to ME business: 80 trucks/wk, would save $1–2 million/yr on transport cost.

23:50–28:50  —  Routing team: Brown, Steve Malatesta, Corey Verrill (mapmaker), Joe Poria. Letting folks know how it’s done, transparency by demonstrating fictional example. “Trying as hard as we can to avoid as many homes as possible. People do come 1st.” Take into consideration property lines, soils, wetlands; impossible to avoid some wetlands, in which case mitigate or compensate. Trying to as much as possible avoid all conservation lands and tribal lands.

28:50–35:00  —  Demonstration of layers on aerial photos, fictitious route sections. Three criteria for wetlands: hydric soils, wetland vegetation, wetland characteristics. Work to avoid deer yards, vernal pools, wetlands. Absolute route has not been established, still a work in progress.

35:00–37:00  —  Committed to siting wildlife crossings, working w/ organizations to make sure properly placed. Tunnels, over-the-road crossings. Have reached out to TNC, NRCM, ME Audubon & working w/ them on these and other environmental issues.

37:00–39:00  —  Avoiding conservation lands, tribal lands. Discovered deal made several yrs. ago: Routes 9 &1 thru Moosehorn (Baring) could never be widened more than 66’. Appeared might stop project, but turned adversity into opportunity: Route south for greater connectivity to Eastport port area and all of Washington Co. Current proposed route would run below southern line of proposed North Woods NP.

40:00–42:20  —  Why E-W Corridor important to Maine? Puts ME on map, critical piece of global economy, attract business. ME has prime agricultural soils, could make ME breadbasket of NE. Reduce travel time, carbon footprint; improve communication. Jobs, tax base; for every town the hwy. goes through, will provide property tax.

42:00–44:10  —  Committed to providing multiuse recreational trail within corridor: QP to NB, full passage across rivers on all bridges. Active participation w/ ME snowmobile assoc., will not cut off access to snowmobile trails.

44:10–45:20  —  Will not utilize eminent domain. Hwy. will be private entity, can’t practice eminent domain.

45:50–46:50  —  Committed to using high environmental standards.

46:50–48:20  —  NY Times article, well done, balanced, ending quote by Tony Brinkley of UMO: “The Maine brand should not be poverty. Why not Maine?”

 

Q&A

48:20–51:20  —  Q1) Why privately owned? A) E-W concept has been around, determined costly, public $ (even bonds) have dried up. Increasingly, large infrastructure projects being done as private enterprise: TX hwy, Miami airport, PEI bridge.

51:20–52:00  —  Q2) (Chris H, port manager?) & A) Private business, price differential.

52:00–54:00  —  Q3) Co.’s commitment to safety, price differential. Why not railway? A) Not competing w/ rail. Rail best suited for trans. of bulk materials. But manufacturing plants around world need Just-In-Time delivery, trucking: intermodal rail, port, trucking.

54:00–56:50  —  Q4) (Suzanne Brown) Lack of specific info on Calais to Eastport, quality of life, concerned about projection of number of trucks. A) Better connectivity to Eastport; hwy. corridor itself will not extend to Eastport. Committed to protecting quality of life, but also to providing opportunity for people. Need more work to determine actual numbers, projections. Will there be increase in traffic? Sure.

57:00–59:00  —  A) More co’s. around world seeking remote areas for distribution centers, as in Lewiston (see Calais, Q1, 35:00). Dexter will be a town Corridor going thru, has empty factory buildings perfect for developing distribution center.

59:00–1:00:00  —  Q5) Map shows how hwy. will help Canada, but interchanges few. 500’ or 2,000’? Can’t see how hwy. helping state, ME people, and Eastport.

1:00:00–1:06:30  —  A) Never intended would be 2,000’; will be utilizing approx. 35 miles of Stud Mill Road, which has 2,000’ easement but will not be using. Committed to using a 500’ corridor. Will have at least 6 interchanges, probably a few more. As make loop around Eastport, Route 214, Pembroke, somewhere in that area, hope can be interchange in that area as well. Eastport folks pointed out 214 would be logical place. Canadian truckers excited but will be paying in tolls. How ME will benefit: Potential for development, agriculture in the county, distribution centers, manufacturing. We’ll never be a Halifax or Medford, but Price Rupert (new, 100A, already #16 in world market, 5,000 jobs, is similar to what Eastport could be.

 

(File 2)

0–3:05  —  Q6) (Suzanne B.) Doesn’t seem useful for ME to be conduit. Prime soils maybe midstate/Aroostook, but not in Wash. Co. Problem not lack of E-W Corridor but much larger problem. Appreciate way of life, that we’re not nec. part of that global economy but connected to each other, different. There’s poverty, but don’t think E-W Hwy. is way to address that, don’t think of Walmart as socially responsible co. A) Agree to disagree w/o being disagreeable: Are we being used or do we see this as an opportunity for some good things to happen in ME?

4:30–6:00  —  Q7) Lack of interchanges, who’s going to develop businesses when we can’t get on/off? A) Heading west, will be crossing Route 9 at some point, and will no doubt be an interchange there allowing access to Machias (see Calais, Qs 2, 3, & 4, 36:10–39:30).

6:40–8:00  —  Q8) (Chris H.?) Shipping commodities thru Eastport? A) Rail connectivity back to Eastport has to be part of it. Perry, need to make sure… will change what we do in Eastport, a work in progress.

8:20–10:00  —  Q9) (Suzanne B.) You said committed to not using eminent domain; am concerned about all those property lines crossed in example, all those families the Corridor would displace. That kind of project sucks life out of downtowns; big boxes come in, small local businesses go under. Studies concluded no econ. benefit and did threaten small towns.

10:00–11:00  —  A) Committed insofar as much as possible to limit impact to property owners. Will be very deliberate, sensitive to working w/ property owners.

11:00–11:30  —  Q10) Cost of power…

11:30–12:30  —  Q11) (Steve Koenig, Project SHARE) Haven’t mentioned environmental concerns of Atlantic salmon. A) Will be reaching out to IFW, salmon folks, seeking their advice. To extent we (Cianbro) have those maps available to us from LURC, working w/ those folks to avoid impacts to endangered species.

13:00–13:50  —  Q12) Approval process? A) At least 3 years. Permits thru unorganized territories, ME DEP, ____ Act, Fed. agencies. Lots of opportunity for public involvement.

 

Calais, WCCC Riverview Room, 5:30–6:30

File 5 (brief notations, refer back to Eastport log above, generally better recording)

2:40–5:20 — Deepwater ports in both Eastport and Calais w/ no obstructions (can cost $500 million just to raise a bridge), 75’ in channel, no need for dredging. Global markets and connectivity: this is the future, opportunity for ME

5:20–10:50 — Repeats same economic profile as Eastport.

10:50–12:40 — Route a work in progress. Very important to avoid as many homes as possible. Will use existing ROWs such as 35 miles along Stud Mill Road.

12:40–14:05 — Criteria of avoiding wetlands. Where can’t avoid, mitigation and compensation. Commitment to avoid conservation land, tribal land, deeryards, vernal pools.

14:05–20:10 — Demo of routing w/ map overlays.

20:10–22:45 — Wildlife crossings.

22:45–24:05 — Moosehorn challenge, section of Routes 1/9 that can never be widened more than 66’. Realized maybe turn challenge into opportunity: route closer to Eastport, deeper into Washington Co., critical for economic development.

24:10–26:05 — Economic benefits, including tax: every town the EWC passes through will be paid property tax.

26:05–27:50 — Because a private hwy., can do more than can do within publicly financed roadways. Will include recreational trail, snowmobiles from Quebec to NB, enhancing existing snowmobile trails. Have been working w/ MSA Bob Myers.

28:30–29:30 — Will accommodate Canadian weight limits, tandem trailers. Pledged will not utilize eminent domain; can’t since private entity.

 

Q&A

30:50–35:50 — Q1) (Gordon Mott) Economic benefit of moving product across state, limited interchanges, how will that help us (ME)? A) Deepwater port development big plus in ME’s economy, will create jobs (Prince Rupert). Potentially 2 additional interchanges in Wash. Co. Agriculture, manufacturing, dev. of distribution centers in remote areas (like Walmart’s in Lewiston, a huge facility with 300 trucks in/out per day, 600 jobs).

36:10–37:25 — Q2) (George Wallace) Route above DLLT Sunrise Easement, along Airline? A) South of Route 9, west and connect w/ 214, then at some point head up to Stud Mill Road crossing Route 9, undoubtedly will be interchange in that area [in/near Wesley, per conversation w/ Corey Verrill following Eastport session].

37:25–37:55 — Q3) (Jane Crosen) How much area involved w/ interchange? cloverleaf? A) Not overly extensive; going to minimize impact as much as possible.

37:55–39:30 — Q4) (Ted Carter) Alexander, truck traffic along Route 9. Always pictured EWC route proposed thru Baileyville and up to and along Stud Mill Road. But if run south of Moosehorn, up Route 214, crossing Route 9 where? A) Very much a work in progress, have not defined route. (Ted) That’s going to be your biggest issue, the route, plus cost.

39:30–41:30 — Q5) (Ted C.) Has Cianbro made any consideration of high-speed rail in a time of dwindling oil resources? A) Not competing w/ rail, need for both. Rail best suited for bulk transport; intermodal facilities. Trucks can do JIT delivery, rail can’t.

41:30–42:05 — Q6) (Jane C.) Tolls for passsenger cars? A) Have determined tolls for cars will be comparable to ME Turnpike.

42:40–44:00 — (Q7) Off-ramps for recreational trails? A) Yes, working closely w/ clubs to make sure. [will build off-ramps/overpasses over all of them, per conversation w/ Corey V.] Where following SMR, will not be cutting off access to people’s properties. Will not necessarily be routing hwy. over SMR but along it, crossing from side to side as needed.

44:00–44:35 (Q8) Investors, will companies from foreign countries be owning part of ME? A) No different than current trend.

44:35–45:05 — (Q9) (Gordon M.) Decided where will cross Penobscot River? A) Are pretty close [to a decision]; have had conversation w/ Chief Kirk Francis, working closely w/ him.

45:05–45:50 — (Q10) Sable Island pipeline running along SMR, coming close to that? A) 2,000’ ROW, 500’ for EW corridor.

45:50–46:35 — Mayor Marianne Moore of Calais presents letter of support from Calais, St. Stephen, Baileyville.

Dividing the State: Proposed East-West Corridor Affects Washington County

Link to Original Articleby Hillary Savage | Machias Valley News Observer | January 19, 2013
A highway bisecting Maine, running from Canada in the East, to Canada in the West has brought much concern from the people of Maine. Ranging from environmental concerns, economic and business, to quality of life and property rights, the proposed East-West Highway by Peter Vigue and Cianbro has already divided the state.An informational hearing, coordinated by Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) was held in Eastport on Friday. Darryl Brown, Cianbro’s Program Manager for the East-West Highway project presented to the audience a slideshow about the project, where it stands now, and ways that the company is taking concerns into account through the planning stages.

 

“We’re trying to be as transparent at this point,” Brown stated at the start of the meeting. “I’m passionate to say that this project is going to happen, needs to happen and will happen.”

Citing young people as the biggest export of Maine, Brown and Cianbro are confident that a highway will bring economic opportunity that will bring young people back to the state. The business he expects to be along the highway, however, include gas stations, mainly Irving (a Canadian company) as well as distribution centers for large business, such as Wal-Mart that will be along the proposed trade route.

The concept of global trade, and the urgency put on the need to “get up to speed and accept it” is something that was stressed at the meeting. Container ships which are the most effective, efficient, cheapest and widely used form of transportation of goods around the world are now causing the expansion of the Panama and Suez canals. These canals are the highways for global trade, and Brown and Cianbro are of the opinion that with Eastport having the deepest water of any port on the East coast, a highway running nearby is a clear solution to the economic problem.

Two young women, both Maine residents seemed most concerned with the quality of life issues that would come with the building of the highway. Meg Gilmartin, who lives in Corinth attended the meeting, saying that the proposed highway would run two miles from her property, and there has been no public meeting held in her town about the project. “Maine is full of strong, small communities and a healthy environment. This will destroy both,” she stated.

Chris Buchannan of the group Defending Water for Life in Maine said, “Maine’s greatest assetts are the people and the environment. It is why people have stayed and lived here for so many years. This would ruin the culture and environment that make it possible for people to live here to have that quality of life.”

New Route Information ~ Charleston

 

Update 1-13-13: After learning of the Corridor routing through Charleston in late December (see 12-27-13) Charleston residents informed the town selectmen of Cianbro’s plan at their next regularly scheduled meeting.  The selectmen reported not being approached yet by Cianbro.  The first selectwoman agreed to outreach to Cianbro and invited Cianbro to attend the town meeting in March.  The first selectwoman assured Charleston residents that Cianbro would primarily answer public questions at the town meeting.  Darryl Brown will be attending the meeting on March 9th.  STEWC asks that seating, questions, and general involvement be prioritized to Charleston residents at the request of Charleston residents who are working to raise awareness about the Corridor.  Action by non-Charleston residents is discouraged at this time due to local residents’ strong efforts to maintain community unity.

Update 12-27-13: STEWC discovers Cianbro’s Darryl Brown and GIS planner Cory Verrill have met with the Corinth town manager about routing the Corridor through Charleston.  Reports from STEWC members who spoke with the town secretary and the town manager are that Cianbro plans to intersect route 15 just north of the Bacon Road.  They are looking to route it between the Campbell and Center roads in Charleston.

If you live in Charleston and want to be connected with your neighbors who are involved, contact Chris:

chris(at)defendingwater(dot)net

Visit our timeline for all updates.

STEWC has strong presence at Rally of Unity on January 8th!

On January 8th, members of STEWC joined members of over 20 other progressive activist groups in a Rally of Unity at the State House.  It was an inspiring and successful day with over 150 participants, including drumming and dancing led by members of the Wabanaki Confederacy who are also raising awareness on #IdleNoMore.  Thanks to everyone for coming to speak to legislators and share hope for a healthy and prosperous future in Maine, the way life should be!

DSC00148

Click on the following links for video and news coverage:

WERU

Portland Phoenix article by Lance Tapley

WGME Channel 13

Morning Sentinel

 

Here is the press release from the event:

Press Release

On January 8th, 2013 the Alliance for Common Good will hold a “Rally of Unity” in the Statehouse Hall of Flags.  Participants will assemble on the common area outside of the statehouse at 12:00 noon and proceed to the Hall of Flags at 1:00. The “Rally of Unity” is assembling as a unified front to push back against corporate dominance in government. The primary focus is giving voice to ordinary Maine people who are concerned about the fiscal cliff, cuts to social services, the East-West corridor, open pit mining of Bald Mountain, tar sands pipelines, importing out of state waste, and the liquefied propane tank at Sears Island.  All of these issues threaten to irreversibly harm Maine’s people, economy, and environment.

The Alliance for Common Good is a collaboration of over 20 of Maine-based progressive activist groups that agree with these basic principles: We want legislators to prioritize Maine money for Maine people, developing a Maine economy that protects the environment, and getting money out of politics.  On January 8th, individual groups will provide their own message to the public and legislators by theater, song or signage.

It is hoped that all likeminded people will join us at the State House in reminding our newly elected state officials that they have been elected to represent the best interests of all of Maine’s people on this first day of the 126th Legislature.

drummers

The Alliance for Common Good currently includes:

350 Maine, AbilityMaine, Activist Art, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bring Our War $$ Home, Citizens United, CodePink, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Global Network, Industrial Wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, National War Tax Resisters, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, Social Workers,  Searsport LPG activists, Stop the East-West Corridor, Thanks But No Tank, Veterans for Peace… and growing!

Rally of Unity, January 8th, State House!

 

Join Stop the East-West Corridor at the Rally of Unity!

*JANUARY 8             STATE HOUSE              AUGUSTA*

 

Wear your blaze orange! ! !

 

11:30am : Meet-Up in Parking Lot behind the Blaine House

Let’s get fired up! Share info, signs, materials, blaze orange, etc…

 

NOON : Rally between State House and Cross Building

Carry signs and banners, sing songs, do a little skit?  Spokespeople talk to media!

 

1pm : Move into Hall of Flags

More rallying! Talk to legislators, wear black under your orange for a mock oil spill…

 

Needed:

  • A carpool coordinator, and carpool volunteers
  • Media spokespeople
  • Citizen lobbyists
  • to help contact: Chris 357-1443 or chris@defendingwater.net

 

With new information that Cianbro is speaking to Town Managers behind the backs of the public, we are gearing up for the next phase of organizing to stop the corridor!  This rally is an opportunity to come together, in solidarity with over 20 other environmental and social justice groups across the state, to tell our legislators to represent US by protecting our homes, health, and quality of life.  See you there in your BLAZE ORANGE!

 

no corridor, no compromise!

Rally of Unity, January 8th, State House!

Rally of Unity…

January 8th, NOON, State House, Augusta

…for our people AND our environment on the first day of the 126th Legislature ! ! !

Organized by the Alliance for the Common Good, an ad-hoc coalition assembling as a unified front under the theme, “Maine the Possible” to give voice to ordinary Maine people and to push back against corporate dominance in government, with hopes to organize into the future. Principles we agree on:

Maine $$ for Maine People

A Maine Economy that Protects our Environment

Money Out of Politics

Current details:

-At NOON we will gather outside, possible activities include:

-holding hands in a circle of unity

-singing

-skits

-color blocks (many people wearing one color)

-At 1pm we will move into the Hall of Flags, possible activities include:

-citizen lobbying

-a human oil spill or “die-in” (wear black and lie on the floor)

 

-Individuals and groups should represent themselves visually, and be creative to highlight issues

 

-No groups will be featured.  We do not all agree or endorse each other, but we can rally behind the above principles, therefore:

-One press release will represent all of us.  To contribute to the release, or to be on the list to review the release before it’s sent out, contact Lew before January 1: kingsburyk(at)hotmail(dot)com

-Alliance spokespeople will talk to press at the event.  We’d prefer these to be citizens with a personal story, who will speak to the message of unity and say why they’re at the rally.

-One resource packet for legislators will be available. To include your issue in the packet contact Ridgely with a one page, black and white document: ridgelyfuller(at)gmail(dot)com

 

Join us:  The bigger the movement, the stronger the impact!  If your organization is interested in joining the Alliance for the Common Good on January 8th, please contact Chris to confirm your support: chris(at)defendingwater(dot)net We will be in contact with you after January 8th to explore the future of this Alliance.

 

The Alliance for the Common Good currently includes:

350 Maine, AbilityMaine, Activist Art, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bring Our War $$ Home, Citizens United, CodePink, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Global Network, Industrial Wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, National War Tax Resisters, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, Social Workers,  Searsport LPG activists, Stop the East-West Corridor …