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

Monson residents unanimously pass moratorium to protect against East-West Corridor threat

A great success in Monson towards sending a message about how Mainer’s in the “hollow middle” (Vigue’s term) feel about the proposed East-West Corridor:

Monson residents unanimously endorse east-west highway moratorium, Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN

Monson highway meeting, WVII Fox, Bangor


Passamaquoddy Tribe to create $25M water bottling facility, 96 full-time jobs

By Sharon Kiley Mack, Special to the BDN
Posted Nov. 24, 2011

INDIAN TOWNSHIP, Maine — The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township has nearly completed lining up investors for a $25 million water bottling plant, a project that tribal Gov. Joseph Socabasin said will provide 96 full-time, good-paying jobs with benefits.

Socabasin discussed the project this week in the wake of the tribe’s loss at the polls in early November, which blocked plans for a tribe-owned racino in Washington County. Socabasin said the loss was a disappointment, but the tribe continues to pursue several other projects, including the bottling plant.

He said it will be the only Native American-owned water bottling company in North America and with its close proximity to the port at Eastport, may have the ability to market tribal water around the world. Tomah Water LLC, with an office in Bangor, has been created to seek investors for the project.

The water will come from a spring water aquifer on tribal land in Washington County and will be bottled and initially marketed — maybe as soon as next fall — to Native American casinos and hotel chains under those businesses’ own private labels, Socabasin said. Eventually, however, he hopes to break into the retail water market selling under the brand name Passamaquoddy Blue.

“This is very exciting for the tribe,” Socabasin said.

He said initial testing has indicated extremely high-quality water, and at least one million gallons a day can be extracted without affecting the aquifer’s recharge capacity. “There is absolutely no concern of draining the aquifer,” he said.

The aquifer is located about four miles into a forest from U.S. Route 1 just north of the center of town, near Telephone Road. Socabasin said it will be cheaper for the tribe to run a pipeline from the aquifer to the highway than build a road to the site. “This will be much less intrusive for the environment as well,” he said. A 40,000-square-foot facility will be built on Route 1.

Hydrologists and geologists, both privately hired by the tribe and from the Maine Drinking Water Program, have been on site and test pumpings have been conducted. Socabasin said a hydrologist who tested the water told him the quality was “the best water seen in the Northeast.”

Socabasin said the reservation has two freshwater aquifers. One is currently being used as the tribe’s drinking water source but the other would be used solely for bottled water production. He said there would be four bottling lines and when the facility is at its peak — in an estimated 18 months to two years — it will provide 96 full time jobs.

The primary objective of the bottling project, according to a statement online, is to create a significant source of jobs on the reservation with earnings that “can stimulate local improvements for the overall well-being of tribal members well into the future.”

The tribe has nearly completed putting together the investment package, Socabasin said, and construction could begin as early as next spring.

Permits will be required from the Maine Department of Agriculture, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection — because extraction will exceed 50,000 gallons a year — and the Maine Drinking Water Program.

Roger Crouse, director of the Drinking Water Program, said recently that one of his hydrologists is already working with the tribe on the project.

Socabasin said the tribe originally hoped to begin construction of the plant this summer but that was delayed because of funding issues. He explained that the project needs to be funded through private investors and loans from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“This is because traditional banks cannot foreclose on reservation properties,” he said.

“BIA was expected (in 2011) to get $250 million for its guaranteed loan program, but that was cut by 80 percent,” Socabasin said. “We were only able to obtain $4.4 million. We are now working with several other programs and expect the full financing package to be in place soon.” He would not be more specific about how much funding is in hand or a time frame for start up.

Socabasin said the tribe will initially market the water to other Native American businesses, such as casinos and hotel chains, which have a policy of dealing first with other Native American businesses.

The chief said that will give his tribe an immediate market and access to a steady stream of bottled water drinkers. Also the tribe’s business plan states that “private label bottling currently generates in excess of $1 billion in yearly sales with growth rates exceeding traditional brands.”

Eventually the water also will be sold retail.

“But in the beginning we will not be a position to compete with companies such as Poland Spring, now owned by Nestle,” the governor said. “We expect that it will take a couple of years before we will be able to offer our own brand.”

Socabasin said the capacity of the aquifer “is huge and offers an amazing economic opportunity for the tribe.”

He said that when he was elected governor a year ago, one of his first acts was to establish an Office of Economic Development. “We had never had such an effort before,” he said. “My whole goal is not just to create jobs, but to pay a livable wage.”

link to full article:

Brewer hires former code enforcement officer as water superintendent

Let’s keep an eye on this guy.

Rodney Butler, the previous code enforcement office, left to briefly work for Nestle and is now returning to Brewer as the water superintendent.  Let’s all watch to  ensure no sleezy deals go down between the water commodification giant and this nice little city while Butler is in charge.  Here’s the article from the Bangor Daily News:

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 21, 2011

BREWER, Maine — Rodney Butler, who departed as the city’s code enforcement officer last month, soon will return as the new water department supervisor, City Manager Steve Bost said.

“We’ve been in the process of looking for a water department supervisor for several months,” he said. “We did a rather extensive search and interestingly all roads eventually led to Rodney Butler.

“We’re very pleased that he is interested in coming back to Brewer,” Bost said.

Butler accepted an engineering position with Poland Springs Water Co. in September and assistant code enforcement officer Ben Breadmore was offered and accepted the code enforcement officer job.

Butler “expressed a strong desire to come back to Brewer and we are confident that he will do an outstanding job,” Bost said.

Rodney replaces Mike Riley, who left in June. His first day back in Brewer will be Nov. 1.

Link to original article:

“Tapped” showing in Belfast, September 15th




“Tapped” is a new film about public Water Supplies and resources that are now being tapped and used for private profit. “Tapped” looks at how a few corporations– specially Coca Cola, Nestle, Pepsi Cola–are benefiting from an unregulated industry– bottled water. These companies are depleting huge aquifers or taking large quantities of water from public water supplies. It discusses how millions of potentially dangerous empty water bottles are filling landfills, recycling centers and roadsides or oceans. The film also addresses an ultimate question: Is water a public resource and right From the producers of “Who Killed the Electric Car” and I.O.U.S.A., the award-winning documentary Tapped is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water.

An audience discussion with arepresentative of CELDF* will follow the film. The film is free; donations are appreciated For more information, call Jane Sanford at 338-3854

SPONSORED BY:UU Church Social Justice Committee, Belfast CO-OP, BelfastArea Transition Initiative, Waldo County Peace and Justice* Community Environment Legal Defense Fund
Click poster below to download flier

Protect Our Water

At a recent meeting in Ellsworth’s City Hall sponsored by the Lamoine Conservation Commission, a 2009 film called “Tapped,” about huge problems with bottled water, was shown. Concerned with the stubbornness of corporations in our daily lives, I was worried that a big company could drain “my aquifer” and leave me wicked thirsty. I learned enough to make me wicked worried! Continue reading

Water and the Web of Life

By Joyce White

We did not weave the web of life,
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
We do to ourselves.
– Attributed to Chief Seattle of the Dwamish tribe

We in Maine have such an abundance of water that we tend to take it for granted, seldom questioning that it will always be here for us; but by 2005, an ongoing struggle had begun in Maine to ensure the continuous supply of potable water for all. Now, towns in Maine and worldwide are struggling against giant corporations for control of water.

Somehow we became persuaded that purchased bottled water is better than free tap water. The “spring water” description implied by several bottling companies probably helped convince people that bottled water must be better – although we’ve since learned that most “spring water” comes from the same sources as public drinking water and that all those plastic water bottles are an environmental nightmare.

Jim Wilfong is the person most responsible for publicizing the complex issues of water in Maine. Four years on the Natural Resources Committee in the Maine legislature expanded his long-term interest in environmental issues; and during his stint as President Clinton’s assistant trade secretary, he noted that good drinking water was always among the top three issues in countries he worked with. That led him to think about groundwater – aquifers – differently. In his previous environmental work, Wilfong had focused on cleaning up surface waters – lakes and rivers – and hadn’t thought much about drinking water and water extraction issues. Continue reading

WERU coverage of “Tapped” documentary showing and panel

Executive Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Contributor: Meredith DeFrancesco

On Tuesday, the Lamoine Conservation Commission, the Bar Harbor Conservation Commission, the Union River Watershed Coalition, and Food & Water Watch, sponsored a showing of the documentary film “Tapped” and a panel discussion on bottled water and its impacts.   Today we bring you excerpts from the panel discussion and question and answer session.  The panelists are Rep. Jim Schatz of Blue Hill; Emily Posner, Coordinator for Defending Water for Life in Maine; Daphne Loring, Coordinator at the Maine Fair Trade Campaign;  and Willem Brutsaert, an Environmental Engineer Professor at the University of Maine, and expert in groundwater and surface water hydrology.

(Recorded by Meredith DeFrancesco;  Edited by Amy Browne)

original link HERE

icon for podpress Standard Podcast [57:53m]: Play Online at WERU

      1. Download

Poland Spring issue still boiling

It is unfortunate that you have chosen to give former law Professor Orlando Delogu what appears to be the final word on the issue of large water extractions in the town of Wells. He is long on pronouncements and short on insight, with a narrow lens through which he decides what is good for us and what is not.

Equally inappropriate is your headline for his April 27 column, which continues to muddy the issue of water extraction (“There’s no way Poland Spring could have depleted water in Wells”). Continue reading