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Become Informed about the Corridor- Op-Ed by Jane Crosen

Become Informed about the Corridor

Although Cianbro Corp.’s proposal to build an East-West Corridor across Maine has gone relatively quiet in the face of public and legislative opposition, it hasn’t gone away. Peter Vigue (Maine magazine, May 2014) remains committed to developing a freight and energy supercorridor to boost Maine’s global trade connectivity, and his son Andi, Cianbro’s president, recently stated (WABI TV, June 16) they are at the preliminary stage of final development for the project.

Meanwhile, with Canada in the midst of an energy boom, fuel corporations continue pushing for more direct routes between Canada’s northwestern and northeastern oil and gas fields, refineries, and offshore wells; East Coast ports are expanding to compete for supercontainer ship traffic. Maine is not only in the middle but rich in natural resources, some of which could be extracted and exported. Maine’s economy, including our largest and most sustainable industry, tourism, depends on these same natural resources.

While the proponents have not disclosed specific route plans, enough details have emerged to form a pretty clear idea of potential route options and how this supercorridor (a fenced heavyweight truck highway bundled with pipelines and utilities), if built, could impact Maine’s landscape, statewide and Downeast. Cianbro’s last stated route would loop from Calais to Eastport to Route 95, crossing six river watersheds, with only two access points in between. Imagining how this infrastructure barrier–this international trade conduit, dividing our state–might impact local road and trail access, wildlife and recreation, businesses and communities, environment and waterways, it is hard to see how it would be in Maine’s best interest.

With Cianbro persevering toward a project proposal, it would be wise for Maine voters and visitors to become informed about the corridor. Despite the lack of information cited by gubernatorial candidates in a recent interview (Bangor Daily News, July 20), a wealth of sources–articles, maps, studies, films, archived audio and video–can be found at www.stopthecorridor.org, a website maintained by a coalition of Maine residents, businesses, and organizations concerned about the corridor.

In Hancock County, Advocates for Sustainable Futures Downeast, a local group formed to raise public awareness about the corridor, posts information on its Facebook page. And in Bar Harbor, the Friends of the Piscataquis Valley have launched a No-Corridor exhibit on the second floor of the store In The Woods, on Main Street near the Village Green. The ongoing exhibit is open to the public during store hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m

Also on Mount Desert Island, in Northeast Harbor, an art show and fundraiser will be featuring work by 18 artists in areas threatened by the proposed the East-West Corridor. The show, sponsored by Defending Water for Life, runs from August 13 to 19, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, at 131 Main Street, and can be previewed at www.ewcartshow.weebly.com.

Jane Crosen, Penobscot, Maine

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