A video report on a victory through SB88

Follow this link to watch a video report on the effect that the Human Right to Water law, SB88, has had for the residents of Matheny Tract, California.  Matheny Tract is a small town of about 1,000 people in the Central Valley. A majority of its residents are immigrants who live under the poverty line. And many of them can’t remember the last time they had access to clean water. For eight years, Matheny Tract residents lived with known poisonous water, contaminated by arsenic and by pesticides from nearby fields.

As of last week, the town has access to clean water. That’s because of SB88 in California, a new law that makes providing clean water the responsibility of the state and gives California the ability to force nearby cities like Tulare to share its clean water supply with impoverished communities like Matheny Tract. Just as they have for the past eight years, Matheny Tract pays for its water, but now, it’s water they can use.

Source: http://www.newsy.com/videos/beyond-flint-this-town-is-a-test-case-for-water-as-a-human-right/

New Video Highlights Protection of Cascade Locks Water

This new video on the community fight to protect Cascade Locks OR water from being bottled and shipped by Nestlé needs to be watched and shared! Alliance for Democracy is an endorser of the campaign.

A ballot measure for Hood River County, in which the town of Cascade Locks is located, seeks to block the export of water by by banning any water bottling operation that produces 1,000 gallons or more a day. Nestlé expects to package 11 times that amount from Oxbow Springs in an average hour. The group Local Water Alliance is backing the measure, and you can learn more about them, and support their work, at their website.

Senate Candidates share position on E/W Corridor

Senate Question 10-29-12

Link to article and video.

 by WABI-TV5 News Desk – October 29th 2012 11:09am – Read more 2012 Candidate Profiles

The campaign trail is heating up as the campaign season winds down.

TV 5 has been featuring the three major candidates running to replace Sen. Olympia Snowe in the U.S. senate.

We asked our Facebook fans to post questions, and we then posed those to Angus King, Cynthia Dill and Charlie Summers.
Here is Monday’s inquiry.

Do you support the proposed East West Highway in Maine? Why or why not?

Angus King:
“I’m not ready to, to take a firm position on that. I’ve talked to Peter Vigue about it, I’ve talked to a lot of people in northern Maine most recently, just in the last few days. I guess I would say right now I’m skeptical. I need to understand what the benefits would be for Maine. I understand the benefits for Canada , for the Maritimes, and for Montreal, but I need to understand what would the benefits would be for Maine. I also need to understand why we can’t do what, what is being proposed, with the existing East-West highway in Maine, which is, which is the rail line. We already got a corridor straight through Maine, from the Mari-times into, into, into Quebec, and it’s been there for a hundred years. The line is there, the right away is there, we don’t have to spend a lot of money and, and do all of the environmental things to, to create a new strip through the state. So, I’m listening, the cases that would help the Port, it would help some of our great paper mills, and I’m very sympathetic to that, but I’m, I’m skeptical the benefits won’t be outweighed by the costs, particularly to run an entirely new corridor right through the state of Maine. But I do think we got to get natural gas to some of those paper mills, that’s the best thing we can do for them.”

Cynthia Dill:
“As a state senator, I’ve voted against using public money to fund a study for a private road. I don’t think that’s an appropriate use of government. I don’t believe that infrastructure should be privately owned, only to serve the interests of corporations that really just have a profit motive. So, the East-West highway, as it is currently proposed, is not something I support. If in fact, we as a community, as a state, as a country, need an East-West highway, if that would better the lives of people and businesses, then we should support it, using tax payer dollars and have it be open and accessible to everybody, on an equal basis. I do not believe that privatization of our infrastructure and our public ways is a good thing. It’s not going to help average working families. It’s gonna just help the corporations and super wealthy people that already have so much. ”

Charlie Summers:
“I think anything that can help with economic development is a good thing. My concern is the private property rights that are associated with that, so as this moves forward, I’ll be anxious to see how the legislature tackles it.”

Darryl Brown in Caribou – 2 Articles

The first article, East-West Maine highway may be privately built toll road, is from October 23 and announces Brown’s upcoming October 29 meetings in Aroostook County.  This provides a good outline of proponent talking points.

The second article, Proposed Highway To Bring Great Development, is from October 29.  It includes a video with many of Brown’s powerpoint slides, which are new.  One new selling point includes a multi-use recreation trail.  Also of note, the reporter says that MDOT was at the table.  This meeting was at Northern Maine Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Mobilize Maine.

There is a lot of information about Mobilize Maine and Eastern Maine Development Corporation in the Timeline of E/W Activity.  Although Mobilize Maine and the regional development corporations say that they promote “asset-based” development, the East-West Corridor is clearly not asset-based, but rather needs-based, i.e. to fill the “hollow middle.”

NAFTA Super Corridor Video

Link to the following video.

ALERT! UPDATED! MUST WATCH! EMERGENCY ALERT! UPDATE Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with Winnipeg’s new inland port officials began a trade mission this month (January, 2010) in an effort to sell the idea to potential tenants and trade partners. The mission kicked off in Guanajuato, Mexico and will also include visits to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago. This mission is about meeting key decision makers, learning more about their needs, exploring joint opportunities and promoting the strategic advantages of CentrePort Canada, such as the fact we are now a North American foreign trade zone, CentrePort CEO Diane Gray said in a release. It is also about getting a first-hand look and gaining a community-wide understanding of all the factors that go into building a successful inland port. Port mission begins www.winnipegsun.com

Video Credit To: www.youtube.com www.infowars.com www.prisonplanet.tv

E/W Alert! Drug Forfeiture May Lead to Seizure of Township 37

In 2009, there was a huge pot bust in Washington County.  Then just last week, federal prosecutors in Maine said that they may seize most of Township 37.  There is additional land in surrounding townships that may also be seized, pending the outcome of this case.

About 5 miles of this land goes along the Stud Mill Road, and lies dead on the proposed East-West Corridor route.

Here are links to several news stories:

Drug Forfeiture May Lead to Seizure of Township, Jay Field, MPBN

Documents show path that led to massive Maine pot bust, David Hench, Kennebec Journal

Man killed self days before he was to testify about pot farm, Judy Harrison, BDN

Big drug bust, high stakes in Down East Maine, Kevin Miller, Portland Press Herald

Four charged in 2009 Washington County pot bust, WCSH 6

Six Charged in Township 37 Marijuana Grow Case, DEA

Peter Vigue takes east-west highway gospel to forest resources group

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff | Sept. 13, 2012, at 11:44 p.m

Link to Original Article & Video

BANGOR, Maine — Given its location, if Maine is to prosper in the evolving global economy, it must take advantage of every potential opportunity that it can.

And when it comes to competing, the state needs to address some major shortcomings in terms of getting goods and products to major markets in the Midwest and such major Canadian cities as Montreal, Cianbro Corp. Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue said Thursday during an address to movers and shakers in the forest products industry.

The solution, as Vigue sees it, is the proposed east-west highway, which has been talked about for decades. The effort to get the private toll highway built recently got a boost when Vigue decided to lead the charge.

Vigue spoke about the proposed toll highway at the Sea Dog Banquet & Conference Center at the invitation of the Forest Resources Association, a national organization that represents all segments of the wood fiber supply chain, including landowners, land managers, wood suppliers, wood buyers and others, according to its website.

Joel Swanton, northeast regional manager for the association, said association officials thought it would be a good idea to invite Vigue to speak because many of the association’s Maine members had questions about the project and its potential effects on their industry.

Vigue said the people behind the state’s forest resources industry

could be important allies in the project.

“One of the things I enjoy the most is when people come together to work together and collaborate to enhance and improve their industry, and that is something that is badly needed in the state,” he said. “You folks do it on a routine basis and I compliment you for it, particularly in an industry that is so important in this state and has such a rich history — and I believe a history that will be around for a long, long time to come.”

According to Vigue, one only need look at a map of North America to understand how vital the 220-mile highway across Maine would be to the state’s long-term economic viability.

The Georgia-Pacific Corp. mill in Old Town and the Lemforder plant in Brewer are just two of the many major employers that have left Maine in recent years.

The reason, Vigue says, is simple: “The cost of transportation costs and the cost of energy.”

Vigue said that one association member told him that evening that it cost $1 a mile to transport wood.

“That is a big deal considering where we live and where we’re located,” he said.

Those are some of the reasons why Vigue says he is leading the effort to get the highway built.

Proposed is a 220-mile toll road that would run a fairly straight shot from Calais due west to Coburn Gore, Vigue said. The road would be built on private rights-of-way, would run below the proposed “Restore” national park area and avoid existing protected natural resources.

Despite some questions about potential new costs to the industry, such as toll costs, there was virtually no opposition to the planned road during Thursday’s meeting.

The highway, however, is not universally supported.

Earlier this month, the Piscataquis County town of Monson became the first Maine municipality to impose a six-month moratorium on privately owned highways and utility corridors. The vote to that end was unanimous — 47 to 0.

Anti-east-west highway signs also have been popping up in Dover-Foxcroft and other nearby communities. Some concerns cited by foes include fears that land will be taken by eminent domain and potential adverse environmental effects — concerns Vigue has been working to allay.

“We have no intention of taking people’s property, we have no intention of impacting people in a negative manner,” he told association members Thursday night. “All I ask you to do is this: Look at our track record. Look at how we treat our people. Look at how we treat Maine companies and look at our history,” he said referring to Cianbro Corp.’s history in Maine.

While Vigue spoke to forest resources association members in the Sea Dog’s Penobscot Room, about a dozen protesters outside held up signs decrying the project.

The rally was organized by Friends of Piscataquis Valley, which is part of a larger coalition called Stop the East-West Corridor, said Sidney Mitchell of Dover-Foxcroft, a founding member of the former group.

“Our effort is all around the goal of no corridor, no compromise. We don’t want to mitigate, we don’t want to compromise with these people. They’re just into speculative profiteering and they will take this state.”

Mitchell called the proposed highway a “four-lane trucking route from Canada to Canada. Just that physical abomination is going to wipe out our entire area. Southern Piscataquis [County], northern Penobscot [County], all those highly populated rural areas will be destroyed by this.”

Another issue Vigue addressed Thursday was whether Canadian companies had more to gain from the road than Maine companies.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in Maine or in Canada. We’re all facing the same challenges” he said.

Asked about the time frame for the project, Vigue said plans call for lining up financial resources in the next nine months to a year. The next step, the design and right-of-way acquisition phase, is expected to take another three years and construction, three more years.