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Marie Zwicker’s Testimony in Opposition to LD 1671

As a voting resident and person who loves Maine “the way life should be” it has come to my attention that LD 1671, An Act To Provide Funding to the Department of Transportation for a Feasibility Study of an East-west Highway, is scheduled for a public hearing. As my memory serves, such a road has been under discussion and proposed off and on for approximately 20 years. At this point in time, it seems to be that the Cianbro Corporation wants to move ahead with studies for a project that could prove immensely profitable to them. Cianbro doesn’t have the money for the feasibility study, and as part of their business group, wrote a letter to Legislators asking for an emergency bill (LR2358) to support funding. This entire issue is being rushed through the committee process in the legislature, the legislature which has sworn to represent the interests of the people, not the corporations, of Maine. This has tremendous potential to do terrible damage to the Maine that we, the People, love.

 

One of my most serious concerns about this highway involves the danger that it poses to our pristine and beautiful state.  Passing legislation for a quick feasibility study will not provide sufficient time for a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), therefore will not take into account potential environmental impacts of this highway, particularly with respect to impacts to our water, air and forest wildlands. We have built our economic and development policies based on a human-centric model and assumed that nature would never fail to provide or that technology would save us. That is being proved to be a fallacy. I have lived in Maine long enough to note with dismay what has been continuing to happen to our beautiful state. Our natural resources are continuing to be eroded away. This destructive path that has been gradually occurring will be greatly exaccerbated by an East-West highway.

 

Maine has the highest percentage of forests in the east. It is the reason why Maine is a destination point for tourists who wish to enjoy one of the last remaining unbroken areas of wildlands. This highway would fragment this important resource, not only fragmenting the habitats of endangered species and closing the door to the return of other native, indigenous species, but it would seriously harm those businesses that make their living from promoting hiking, canoeing, white-water rafting, fishing, wildlife watching, bird watching, photography, etc. Touirism will suffer greatly as there are not many tourists who will wish to visit an industrial/commercial wasteland.

 

Another matter that concerns the vast majority of people in this state is that a feasibility study of the East-West highway as a private toll road should not be funded by taxpayers.  It is crazy to expect Maine taxpayers to pay for this private toll road, especially when it was originally presented as not being funded by taxpayers.

 

This bill is being rushed through to serve the interests of Cianbro, a private corporation, and Canadian businesses looking to cut transportation costs, without looking at the public interest of all Mainers, nor the protection of our natural resources.  Will the cutting down of our forests, the selling of our water, the degradation of our air by highway pollutants and being a transport throughway be in the best interest of Maine residents now and in the future?

 

Unfortunately I am currently out-of-state visiting relatives and consequently am unable to attend the public hearing in person to present my comments and strong opposition to any feasibility study of an East-West highway. Therefore this letter must serve to represent me and my objections. I shall look forward to receiving a response indicating how you plan to take into consideration these important concerns. I have also contacted my own representatives and senators, both in Maine and the U.S., on this critical issue so that they will be aware of this important issue and my strong opposition to it.

 

Thank you,

 

Marie Louise Morandi Long Zwicker

P.O. Box 230

149 Sanctuary Way

Sullivan, ME 04664

(207)460-8920

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