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.

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!

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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!

WIN! Big step for the Right to Water in Mexico!

Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena writes:

Mexico’s chamber of deputies

Last Thursday (April 28), the water movement in Mexico had an important victory. The federal chamber of deputies approved an initiative to recognize the right to water and to a healthy environment in the Mexican Constitution!

For several years, particularly since 2006, many Mexican organizations and citizens have demanded the recognition of the human right to water in our Constitution. The Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water (COMDA) among other organizations started a campaign with this purpose in the first worldwide celebration of Blue October in 2006. At this time there were several initiatives in Congress to recognize this right, but there were no clear signs that things could move forward.

Citizens around the country are concerned about water: having access to safe and affordable water is a matter of life and life quality. The official figure, used by the government, of the percentage of people with access to water – “91.5% of the population has access to piped water” – hides inequalities. Not only do 8.5% lack access to piped water, within this 91.5% figure, but the government counts people that have access to piped water through public taps or neighbors and need to carry it back home. The fact is that a bit less than 70% of the population has in-house tap water. Moreover, of the houses that have piped water only 73% have water continuously, 15% have water every other day and the rest have it, maybe, once a week or once every two weeks . These numbers are only about physical access, yet we also need to talk about quality and affordability which are also key elements. To the question: ‘Would you drink a glass of tap water in Mexico?’ Most would answer no, and there is reason in this answer.

The approved initiative still needs to go through the Senate; and then more than half of the state legislatures need to pass it to become part of our Constitution. This process could take months, maybe years. However, the fact that it passed through the chamber of deputies is a huge step. The debate to pass it through considered international law specifically the General Comment 15 and last year’s General Assembly Resolution.

The wording that should be included in the forth article of the Constitution states every person has the right to a healthy environment, such a right will be guaranteed by the State, and harm to the environment will mean responsibility to those who provoke it. Every person has the right to access, use and sanitation of water for personal and domestic use in sufficient quantity, quality, acceptability and affordability. The State will guarantee this right and determine the base for equity and sustainability with the participation of all government levels and citizen participation.

This is a simple proposal, but it includes the key elements of sufficient quantity, quality and affordability. We will be working hard to push through this initiative to have the human right to water and to a healthy environment recognized in the Mexican Constitution!

[1] Alatorre, Adriana “Carece de agua 30% de viviendas” Reforma, March 20, 2011.