March and April, 2015: Stop the East-West Corridor helped introduce two bills that would protect people against the Corridor and improve state policy to protect from future unnecessary trauma by maintaining the power of planning, development, and maintenance within the MDOT, without compromising input from private developers.
On April 2, 2015 the Transportation Committee unanimously voted “ought not to pass” on LD 506. LD 1168 has not yet been heard by the Judiciary Committee.
The Bangor Daily News’ ideas for Maine 12-13-14: View article for a glimpse of what the BDN’s editorial board sees as options for the future. Note this does not include local sustainable development as an option, except for farming.
Possible Connections? 12-10-14: The Maine Green Line is a major power transmission project that would link Canadian hydropower and Maine windpower to Southern New England. Cianbro is involved. People suspect an EWC connection and are keeping an eye on this network. Link to BDN article.
ALTHOUGH A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ORGANIZING OCCURRED OVER 2014, THIS TIMELINE WAS NEGLECTED IN FAVOR OF OTHER PRIORITIES. IT REMAINS, HOWEVER, A GREAT RESOURCE FOR EARLY ACTIVITY. 2014 NEWS MAY BE FOUND ON THIS WEBSITE UNDER THE “EAST-WEST CORRIDOR” TAB, OR BY VISITING STOPTHECORRIDOR.ORGThank you for your understanding.
Update 5-7-13: Today was the work session on all of the April 30 EWC bills, as well as LD 721 to increase transparency in PPPs. The committee voted unanimously to pass Senator Mazurek’s bill, LD 985. They also unanimously passed an amended version of LD 721 which would change the PPP law to allow the public to access all information except for trade secrets. However the other amendment was to strike subsection “L.” that required MDOT to assess whether or not the PPP was in the public’s best interest. The Committee agreed with MDOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Van Note that the public interest should be determined by the legislative committee, and not MDOT.
It is a tremendous success for the Committee to rescind the feasibility study, because it sends a very strong message to potential investors that not only is the EWC unpopular with people, but also politically. The EWC is dying a slow, prolonged death. However, we don’t expect Peter Vigue to back down and admit defeat, so we will push on with our organizing and use this momentum to kill the project for good, and then turn to supporting communities to achieve real economic democracy!
Update 5-1-13: STEWC met at the Parkman Grange and turned out about 60 people! Our next meeting will be May 23rd in Cambridge at 5:30pm. Location should be confirmed soon, please check our calendar.
Update 4-30-13: Today was our big day before the Transportation Committee. This was the public hearing on six bills about the EWC and we turned out about forty people, in addition to many people who just wrote written testimony about their concerns.
The primary message of Chris’s testimony, which you can read here along with everyone else’s, was to recommend that the Committee rescind the feasibility study, repeal the Public-Private-Partnership law, and strengthen Maine’s Sensible Transportation Policy Act to include private projects and PPPs in its scope. We surely won the day, with so many people telling the Committee to kill the project, and only a couple lobbyists against the bills. Good job folks!
Update 4-11-13: Chris participated in a panel with John Banks, the Penobscot Nation’s Director of Natural Resources, and Gene Ripley, a farmer and entrepreneur from Dover-Foxcroft whose farm may be on the proposed EWC route. This panel presentation on the East-West Corridor was hosted by UMO’s Socialist and Marxist Studies Controversy Series.
STEWC met at the Garland Grange. The next meeting will be 5-1-13, 5:30pm, in Parkman. Check the calendar at www.stopthecorridor.org
Update 4-7-13: Ben Price and Gail Darrell from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund completed a two day democracy school training on April 5 and 6 to teach local residents about how the regulatory legal structure is failing to protect citizens from corporate harms. On April 7, citizens who had attended one of the previous five local schools participated in a Rights-Based-Ordinance workshop. These schools are currently being hosted and scheduled by local organizers from Sangerville.
Also on April 7, Chris participated in a panel discussion on the environment with Ken Agabian of Thanks But No Tank at a Teach-In at UMO, hosted by the Alliance for the Common Good.
Finally on April 7, Chris participated in a Citizen’s Speak Out in Alton, hosted by Orono Community Forums and Happy Acres Hall. Chris shared information and updates about the EWC and STEWC.
Update 4-2-13: STEWC members and especially Garland residents blast Vigue at Penobscot County Commissioner’s meeting. This was the first opportunity the public had to directly ask questions and make comments to Peter Vigue of Cianbro. Read the article and view the video.
Also today, TransCanada released their plans and a map to build a west-east pipeline to St. John, New Brunswick to connect with the Irving Refinery. Although their current proposed pipeline stays in Canada, their plans may change and other competitors may still use the EWC to move tar sands to the Atlantic. Read article and view videos.
Also today there was a STEWC meeting at the Daybreak Bakery in Old Town. Next meeting scheduled for 4-11-13.
Update 3-23-13: STEWC members, ACLU, Sierra Club, NRCM, and more testified today on LD 721, to provide transparency in Public Private Partnership law, or repeal the law altogether. Here is an opinion piece from April 3, written by Lindsay Newland Bowker explaining why the law should be repealed.
Act today to submit testimony to the Transportation Committee on LD 721 to get rid of the PPP law. Without the PPP, we don’t see how the EWC could be built.
Update 3-15-13: Somerset Economic Development Corporation supports E/W. A local firefighter and a Solon selectperson express concerns. Read the article.
Update 3-13-13: Members of STEWC hosted a panel presentation and community conversation about the EWC in Calais at Washington County Community College. Our next Downeast presentation will be on March 27 from 5:30-7:30pm at UMM’s science building, room 102.
Update 3-9-13: Darryl Brown, program manager for the EWC project for Cianbro, spoke to Charleston residents for about 30 minutes during a recess of their annual town meeting. He had been invited by the town selectboard after they learned he had been in Dexter but not to Charleston, even though the Corridor is proposed to go through Charleston. Most residents appeared to be frustrated because Brown did not answer most of their questions. In response to a question from a firefighter expressing concern about how they’d handle a hazardous material spill that could wipe out the town’s entire annual budget for the fire department, Brown said the town was currently dealing with other highways…vastly minimizing the concern and not addressing it. At that point over half of the attendees were up and milling around, apparently done listening to Brown if he was not going to answer their questions.
The same day at the Garland town meeting, residents agreed to hold a special town meeting to vote on a moratorium on private highways and utility corridors. They were unable to vote today because that referendum item wasn’t published in advance. The town is expected to pass the moratorium.
Also on this day, members of STEWC hosted an informational meeting about the EWC at the Orono Public Library specifically to attract new members.
Update 3-8-13: Members of STEWC hosted the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to provide a Democracy School training to citizens around Dover-Foxcroft. Using rights-based-law to protect the community from corporate abuse is a principal strategy in Defending Water for Life and STEWC’S work.
There will be another school on April 5 and 6th, followed by a rights-based-ordinance workshop on April 7th for Democracy School graduates. Visit our calendar for details.
Update 3-5-13: Eminent domain bills, LD 78, LD 165, and LD 311 were heard before the Judiciary Committee today. This was the second public hearing on LD 78. STEWC testified neither for nor against because members have not had the chance to vote on which bills to support yet, but brought up concerns about the EWC.
Update 3-2-13: Several members of STEWC organized, presented, and led a community discussion about the EWC in Dexter at the Ridgeview Elementary School. The school’s maintenance person estimated there were at least 200 people there. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to organize the event, man tables, talk to the press, and make attendees feel welcome!
Update 2-26-13: In this WGME news report Senator Doug Thomas claims he was threatened by environmental extremists, and that they put fish in his dooryard. Since then, Thomas’s neighbor came forward to share that a fish truck had spilled fish for about a mile along the whole road, effecting all of them. This appears to be another attempt by Thomas and EWC proponents to minimize and criminalize Corridor opponents, and create fear in the greater public. That neighbor has contacted WGME to clarify the situation. We expect a corrected news story soon.
Update 2-20-13: In a private meeting with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Darryl Brown tells us that the East-West Corridor, “is going to happen.” Is Cianbro leading Maine by dictatorship? Read the article.
Update 2-9-13: STEWC met in Dexter. The next meeting will be Saturday, March 30 at the Daybreak Cafe in Old Town from 10am – 1pm. Email info(at)stopthecorridor(dot)org FMI.
Update 1-25-13: On January 18, Darryl Brown, E-W Project Manager for Cianbro, did presentations in Eastport and Calais. Significant news is that to go south of the Moosehorn, Cianbro may go as far south as Perry where they want to build an interchange to allow access to Eastport. This puts the route much further South. It would run west by Pembroke before heading Northwest, paralleling route 214. They would only use about 35 miles of the Stud Mill Rd, Brown said. Brown also said they were working with the Snowmobile Association of Maine to include an East-West snowmobile trail. Brown also backed off of previous “committments” by Vigue to avoid all conservation land, saying they’d avoid most conserved lands. These were the first Cianbro presentations where the public was able to directly ask questions.
Update 1-24-13: STEWC met in Monson. The next meeting will be February 9, 12-3, at the library in Dexter.
Update 1-13-13: After learning of the Corridor routing through Charleston in late December (see 12-27-13) Charleston residents informed the town selectmen of Cianbro’s plan at their next regularly scheduled meeting. The selectmen reported not being approached yet by Cianbro. The first selectwoman agreed to outreach to Cianbro and invited Cianbro to attend the town meeting in March. Terry assured Charleston residents that Cianbro would primarily answer public questions at the town meeting. Darryl Brown will be attending the meeting on March 9th. STEWC asks that seating, questions, and general involvement be prioritized to Charleston residents at the request of Charleston residents who are working to raise awareness about the Corridor. Action by non-Charleston residents is discouraged at this time due to local residents’ strong efforts to maintain community unity.
Update 1-11-13: After meeting with Downeast Lakes Landtrust Director Mike Barry, DLLT released this article publishing Cianbro’s committment NOT to go through the Sunrise Conservation Easement or the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Cianbro says they will go south of the Moosehorn’s Baring Unit.
Update 1-8-13: STEWC partnered with the Alliance for Common Good, a new coalition of over 20 Maine-based environmental and social justice groups to advocate for Maine citizens at the Rally of Unity in Augusta.
Update 1-1-13: This sign was spotted on the Stud Mill Road, effective this date. Someone called the number on the sign and they said their company wasn’t related to the E/W Corridor.
Update 12-27-13: STEWC discovers Cianbro’s Darryl Brown and GIS planner Cory Verrill have met with the Corinth town manager about routing the Corridor through Charleston. Reports from the T.M. are that Cianbro plans to intersect route 15 just north of the Bacon Road. They are looking to route it between the Campbell and Center roads in Charleston.
Update 12-11-12: The Sierra Club released an article publicizing findings in their national report that the East-West Corridor is one of the worst transportation projects nation-wide. Article.
Update 12-5-12: STEWC met at the Friends of the Piscataquis Valley Information Center in Dover-Foxcroft.
Update 11-30-12: Chris did a STEWC presentation to Bingham and surrounding residents at the Quimby Elementary School.
Update 11-28-12: Defending Water for Life hosted members of several environmental groups who have taken a stance against the E/W to share information and collaborate. There were representatives from: 350 Maine, Conservation Law Foundation, Don’t Waste ME, Environment Maine, Forest Ecology Network, Food and Water Watch, NRCM, Penobscot Citizens, RESTORE the North Woods, Sierra Club, and STEWC
Update 11-17-12: Chris did a STEWC presentation to the Friends of the Sunkhaze National Wildlife Refuge at Daybreak Bakery in Old Town. Close to 40 people attended. WERU took audio footage that’s available
Update 11-15-12: We had a STEWC statewide coalition meeting in Monson. The next meeting will be December 5th, 5:30pm in downtown Dover-Foxcroft at the new Friends of the Piscataquis Valley (FOTPV) information center, next to the Center Theater.
Update 11-14-12: There are 4 more articles about moving TarSands East since the 10-10 update. All of the TarSands articles are here.
Update 11-13-12: 350.org with Bill McKibben was in Portland for their Do The Math Tour, and mentions our coalition!
Update 10-29-12: WABI 5 asks Senate candidates where they stand on the E/W Corridor. No one is openly in favor of the project. Link here.
Update 10-29-12: Darryl Brown spoke at a private meeting at Northern Maine Development Corporation’s office in Caribou. According to the article, MDOT was present.
Update 10-25-12: We had a STEWC statewide coalition meeting in Newport.
Update 10-16-12: The Saint John Board of Trade hosted Paul LePage and Premier David Alward for “its first ever cross border business event.” One of the afternoon panels was, “Energy: A Regional Perspective for Maine and the Maritimes”.
Two STEWC members attended. For more information email Pete: stopthecorridor(at)gmail(dot)com
Update 10-15-12: Keep It Grand, an organization dedicated to protecting East Grand Lake, published a press release on Cianbro’s connection to Malcolm French, the owner of the land that was seized in Township 37 (see update 9-26-12). The organization questions Cianbro’s trustworthyness considering its affiliations.
Update 10-10-12: More on TarSands and Maine. Also see update from 9-6-12. Documents just released show that Governor LePage and the Maine DEP have met secretly with TarSands companies.
Update 10-3-12: We had a STEWC statewide coalition meeting in Sangerville.
Update 9-30-12: This last weekend members of STEWC completed a Direct Action training hosted by local Maine activists. The training included workshops on: facilitation and consensus; identifying goals, strategies, and tactics; background on affinity groups; what is direct action?; identifying a target; knowing your legal rights; and background on hard blocks and soft blocks. Thanks to all the trainers for doing a great job, to everyone who attended the workshops, and to folks that brought us such good food!
Update 9-26-12: Washington County. Federal prosecutors say they may seize all of Township 37, and some additional territory according to locals, as follow-up on the huge 2009 pot bust. About 5 miles of this land goes along the Stud Mill Road, and lies dead on the proposed East-West Corridor route.
Update 9-26-12: At an early-bird breakfast, paper mill executives stressed how members of the paper industry need a viable rail connection to be competitive. They also said an East-West highway was on their wishlist, but that may have been just Lincoln Pulp and Tissue talking, who has been a proponent from the start.
Update 9-19-12: The Sierra Club gave a small presentation of their draft powerpoint and messaging to select invitees. Many folks at this meeting expressed concern that the Sierra Club was missing the point by calling the project a “highway” and by being unwilling at this time to link the project into a larger global framework. The Sierra Club said that they wanted only to present “facts” and since the project investors have not been identified, they couldn’t postulate in detail what the corridor may entail. Chris requested that the Sierra Club not do presentations to the public along the route unless they were willing to take on the full message of all the implications.
Update 9-13-12: Peter Vigue presents on how the East-West Corridor would benefit the industrial forest products industry at the SeaDog in Bangor. Chris attended with one other member of STEWC, while other members of STEWC and Friends of Piscataquis Valley protested outside. It cost $35 a person for non Forest Resource Association members to attend.
The Forest Resource Association is a very powerful forest products lobbying group nationwide.
During this event, Vigue’s primary arguments were 1) Fear based, messaging that if you don’t embrace this Corridor you will fail; and, 2) The Corridor would serve the just-in-time economy. Vigue promoted the corridor by saying that in the future, trucks will run off of Natural Gas, so despite Canadian competition Maine industry could compete. He encouraged people to keep an open mind to Canadian industry. He also stated that all the logging roads being used off the Stud Mill Road would remain accessible. Also, he stated in this presentation that the width of the Corridor would be only 500 feet the entire stretch of the state, that the corridor would not cross through any existing conservation lands including the Moosehorn, and therefore would not use the newest border crossing in Calais. Regarding a new crossing altogether, he said it’d be “a little north and a little west” of the recently completed one. A few audience members were vocally supportive, but I was told that many attendants did not believe that the E/W Corridor would benefit their business.
Update 9-12-12: Darryl Brown is now on staff at Cianbro as the Program Manager for the East-West Corridor. Darryl Brown was Paul LePage’s nominee for the Maine DEP, but had to step down due to numerous conflicts of interest.
We have heard that Brown is traveling around the state setting up private meetings with various companies and leaders in economic development. We believe that a couple recent Letters to the Editor in the Piscataquis Observer from Lincoln Pulp and Paper (already a supporter), and a manufacturing plant in Milo (sorry, can’t find the articles!) were a result of Brown’s networking.
Update 9-6-12: The link between Tar Sands pipelines and the East-West Corridor is confirmed!
Defending Water for Life in Maine and Stop the East-West Corridor members have anticipated exposure of the link between tar-sands oil and the East-West Corridor due to pressure to get the oil from Alberta to east coast ports.
While other environmental groups are focused on opposing the reversal of the Portland-Montreal Enbridge pipeline to transport tar sands from Montreal to Portland, we believe the East-West Corridor is a more viable option for industry.
Now, Canada has expressed a desire to ship tar-sands oil to the refinery in St. John’s, placing tremendous pressure on the development of the East-West Corridor through Maine.
Update 9-5-12: We had a STEWC Steering Committee meeting.
Update 9-4-12: Tonight, the town of Monson made history by unanimously voting for a 180-day moratorium on private highways and supercorridors. A huge slap in the face to East-West Corridor promoters, a way to spread awareness of this issue and the significance of people’s concners, and a leadership step for other small communities facing this proposal.
If you want support to introduce a moratorium in your town, people from Monson will help you! Please contact Chris at 357-1443 or chris(at)defendingwater(dot)net for support.
Update 8-24-12: Chris did a public presentation for STEWC at the Blue Hill Library. Thanks to the Alliance for Democracy for hosting! We had a great discussion and started to talk about the importance of empowering communities to do visioning work so we all are imagining and creating what we want for our futures.
Update 8-13-12: The original sponsor of the financial feasibility study, Senator Doug Thomas, asked Paul LePage to slow down the feasibility study. He said he had “stepped into a hornet’s nest,” hearing concerns about eminent domain and lack of information about the project. Thomas says he will introduce legislation to prevent eminent domain takings by private companies during the next legislative session. Thomas suggests slowdown (BDN).
Although this is a success, it was the only political option for Thomas, who wants to get re-elected. Additionally, there are still no contractors bidding on the feasibility study, so it is “slowed down” anyway.
In the articles, LePage says they will get more information about the East-West Corridor project, but there is actually no government avenue to do this at this time. LePage is saying the state will spend money to study a project so that the MDOT can pursue the financial feasiblity study of the project. What? LePage says the state will find facts.
NRCM is taking action by asking people to send a message to LePage asking for him to throw out the feasibility study. Take action here.
Update 8-12-12: STEWC hosted an informational meeting to bring together members of the Eastern Region (Costigan to Calais) at the Penobscot Nation’s Community Center on Indian Island. Chief Kirk Francis welcomed attendants. Many thanks to the Chief, Maria Girouard for coordinating, and the Penobscot Nation for allowing us to use that space.
Update 8-8-12: OneMaine, a brain-child of Elliot Cutler’s to foster discussion, sponsored a panel of transportation experts to answer questions from the public about the future of transportation in Maine. Although David Bernhardt from MDOT was supposed to attend, he withdrew last minute. Commissioner Bernhardt has been receiving pressure from STEWC members to answer questions publicly about the E/W Corridor since he went to St. Stephen’s, NB and advocated for the project with Peter Vigue last March.
Most of the panel experts, except for Maria Fuentes of the Maine Better Transportation Association who is a pro-transportation infrastructure lobbyist, expressed that the E/W Corridor was a confusing project, and they didn’t see the need for it, or the economic benefits to Maine.
Update 7-18-12: Members of STEWC did a presentation at the Belfast Library to members of the public. The event was very well attended. Thanks to the NorthWoods Balladeer for starting the evening off with his protest song against the E/W Corridor!
Update 7-16-12: Members of Stop the East-West Corridor presented concerns about the exemption clause recommended by the Rights to Know Advisory Committee last year, excluding the public from access to information about public-private-parternship infrastructure projects. This exemption effectively prevents the public from accessing information from MDOT about the East-West Corridor project. People recommended that the Right to Know Advisory Committee recommend that this exemption be repealed from the public-private-partnership legislation. If the Committee adopts this recommendation to repeal, it would go before the judiciary committee in January with the legislature reconvenes. Thanks to the Committee for their time.
Update 7-14-12: DDATT and Stop the East-West Corridor hosted a Celebration of Local Economy and Public Forum at the Ridgeview Community School in Dexter. During the celebration, local businesses tabled and music, food, and much information and resources were provided by the public and Stop the East-West Corridor about the Corridor project.
At 6pm approximately 175 members of the public attended a panel discussion by several local and state representatives, as well as two members of Stop the East-West Corridor. Our press release is available here.
Update 6-5-12: Multiple members of the Coalition completed a factual and multifaceted presentation to the Piscataquis County Commissioner’s at their regularly scheduled meeting. Presenters were all from the county and represented their area of expertise, including: the railroad alternative, supporting organic farming, the negative impact on mills and mill workers, concerns of truckers, and legal concerns around eminent domain and the public private partnership law. Video coverage of the presentation will be available soon.
Update 5-31-12: The Coalition hosted a public rally and soap box prior to Peter Vigue’s first public presentation at the Foxcroft Academy Gym. The rally and soap box was the first public opportunity for people to mingle and express their thoughts and concerns about the Corridor project. Multiple media covered the event, although they labled concerned opposition as protestors. In reality, people with concerns shared information and materials to assist in the East-West Corridor campaign, and then attended the public presentation. Folks were encouraged to wear hunter orange if they were opposed.
At least 200 people came through the rally and soapbox. About 1000 croweded into the gym. Approximately half wore hunter orange, a huge grassroots success for the Coalition!
Critical to this event was the fact that the public microphone portion of the event was cancelled. According to one selectperson who found out about the change after arriving at the event, Vigue had approached town manager Jack Clukey just before the event and threatened to cancel if the public had access to microphones. Clukey submitted, unfortunately. Therefore, Vigue was able to pontificate and ask rhetorical questions to the crowd without anyone being empowered to respond directly. After a succcessful rally, the presentation was frustrating due to being silenced.
Update 5-15-12: Peter Vigue presented to the Piscataquis County Commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting. Tom Lizotte, the Board chair from Dover Foxcroft, had originally said that the meeting would take place in the New County Courthouse, but later renigged, apparently due to concern that protestors may do damage to the $5 million building. Due to that decision, only eighteen members of the public were able to attend the Board meeting. The rest of the folks from Piscataquis County that came to show their Commissioner’s that they had concerns, held signs and dicussed their concerns with each other outside of the courthouse for the duration of the meeting. There were about 80 local people demonstrating opposition.
Later in the day, the coalition met thanks to the support and gracious hosts at the East Sangerville Grange, with over 40 attendants. We picked a name for the Coalition! STOP THE EAST WEST CORRIDOR. Onward!
Update 5-11-12: Peter Vigue was hosted by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce for $30 a person. Stop the East West Corridor members demonstrated outside to raise awareness of presentation participants that many local folks have concerns about the project. The police came by briefly to remind us all to be safe on the road and were great to work with. Thanks Chief.
Update 5-1-12: Cianbro, Conroy Development Corp., and Jay Cashman Inc. announced plans to buy the old Moscow radar site. It may be part of the e/w plan as a communications corridor, due to the fact that Vigue states, “There are opportunities for the buildings on site that are potentially attractive to certain types of businesses,” Vigue said in a Cianbro news release last week. “There is isolation, which means good security. There is also a good supply of electricity which would be readily available for firms that require plenty of energy — to run large servers, for example.”” link to full article: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/05/cianbro-ceo-stoked-about-green-power
Update 4-23-12 thru 4-24-12: The University of Maine, Orono’s Center for Canadian American Studies hosted government officials, business-people, and academics to a two day conference entitled, “The Cross Border Economic Conference.” Chris attended both days. The panel was very pro-east-west corridor, with UMO President Ferguson expressing support in his welcoming speech, followed by Paul LePage’s economic advisor Paul Butera expressing support. On Tuesday, April 24, Peter Vigue gave a presentation on the East-West Corridor and also participated in a panel discussion. Here are multiple links to news coverage of the event:
Chris’s notes from the conference: (to be posted soon)
Update 4-12-12: Peter Vigue was hosted by the Women’s Transportation Seminar at the Senator Inn, Augusta, to present on the East-West Corridor. Defending Water encouraged all opponents to demonstrate outside in opposition. Although we did not get local news coverage, OccupyME TV, FreeRadio, and Lance Tapley covered the demonstration. Here is a link to the raw footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbU0YY1Y3-Q
Update 4-12-12: Chris attended a conference today called Maine’s Gateways to International Trade, sponsored by the Maine Maritime Academy’s Small Business Association. There was much information on trade, transporation, and logistics with a focus on ports and rails. For people interested in getting a glimpse into the global agenda of Maine’s port, rail, and industry, feel free to review my notes: (will be posted soon)
Update 4-5-12: Governor Paul LePage signed LD 1671 to officially sanction the MDOT to oversee a financial feasibility study of the east-west corridor. TV coverage and articles:
Update 3-29-12: Peter Vigue from Cianbro and David Bernhardt presented at a “Gateway to Opportunity” Luncheon in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, sponsored by the town of St. Stephen. Local people from Dover Foxcroft demonstrated outside to voice their concerns over the impact of a supercorridor running through their land. Article:
Update 3-22-12: The Senate and House approved LD 1671. Our strategy is now to focus on educating and mobilizing resistance along the route.
Update 3-13-12: Yesterday, April 12, the Senate passed LD 1671 by a vote strictly along party lines, 19 for and 15 against. Now it goes to the house. Keep contacting your reps! Articles: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/13/politics/senate-approves-east-west-highway-study-bill/
Update 3-9-12: Broadcast on MPBN of Peter Mill’s speech to the Cumberland Club. Peter Mills is the Director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, and stated that the toll would cost between $100-$200. Start listening at 22:55 minutes here: http://www.mpbn.net/OnDemand/AudioOnDemand/SpeakingInMaine/tabid/294/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3480/ItemId/20640/Default.aspx
Update 3-1-12: Canadian article notes concerns from U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the East-West highway, and border security. It states that the border station at Coburn Gore would need to be rebuilt. Just more taxpayer dollars funding this private project. http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/68558-maine-reviews-highway-proposal
It now moves into the legislature. We believe that our hard work together resulted in the split vote, which will make it much more contentious on the floor. Stay tuned as we adjust our strategy for a floor fight. The best action right now, is to write Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor voicing your oppostion to the highway. Here are some examples (thank you for writing in!):
Update 1-27-12: Senator Douglas Thomas promoted the East-West highway to the Dover-Foxcroft selectboard on January 23rd. The Selectmen did not pass a resolution about the highway at this time, saying it was too early and there weren’t enough details. We ask: What exactly would the resolution be for? If you have more information, or can access the town notes, please let us know! Chris
Update 1-20-12: The Small Business Administration is looking to provide capital for “small businesses that need it.” There are two components of the article that are noteworthy.
1) The SBA opened up a loan guarantee program to mission-based and community lenders. Three groups applied for the program in Maine and were approved: Coastal Enterprises Inc., the Eastern Maine Development Corp., and the Northern Maine Development Corp..
As a primary proponent of the East-West Highway, it is critical to monitor what the Eastern Maine Development Corporation does with these funds.
2) In addition, the head of the SBA, Karen Mills, expressed that the Obama administration has an infrastructure proposal on the table, which would mean $200 million in projects for Maine.
With a pre-existing relationship with EMDC, and the East-West highway project needing funding, we must monitor this “infrastructure proposal.” If anyone has information please let us know! Chris
Update 1-11-12: Yesterday, LD 1671, the bill to fund the study was supposed to go into work session with the Finance and Appropriations Committee. However, it was moved to the Transportation Committee and we are now watching to see when the work session will be scheduled. Representative James S. Gillray (R-Searsport) is on the Transportation Committee. Note below that it was the Searsport selectmen asking for support of the highway.
Update 12-16-11: A nonprofit transportation research group out of Washington D.C., TRIP, released a statement identifying “Maine’s 50 most needed transportation projects for economic growth.” #3 was the construction of a new east-west highway. TRIP is sponsored by “construction businesses, insurance companies, equipment makers, labor unions and other transportation-related organizations.” We believe TRIP’s role is to encourage private funding of the study, since funding from Maine taxpayers would be highly controversial, as we face severe cuts on social services. Chris related link: http://www.tripnet.org/state-info-reports.php?state=Maine
Update 12-12-11: Here is the link between Vigue / Cianbro, Mobilize Eastern Maine / Eastern Maine Development Corporation / the Action Committee of 50, and LR2358…! Brief summary: Cianbro doesn’t have the money for the feasibility study, and as part of this business group, wrote a letter to Legislators asking for an emergency bill (LR2358) to support funding. Senator Thomas had sponsored a bill to approve funding earlier that was voted down 2-8. This letter from EMDC was an appeal to reconsider. Thomas then sponsored the emergency bill and it passed 10-0. Chris
Update 10-20-11: Cianbro’s EWC partner, Louis Berger, accused of defrauding the U.S. government in overseas war contracts. Read the article.
Update 1-25-10: On January 21, 2010, Representative Bruce MacDonald testified in favor of LD 1639, “An Act to Stimulate the Maine Economy and Promote the Development of Maine’s Priority Infrastructure Needs.” This bill became the Public-Private-Partnership law that is now preventing public access to information about the E/W Corridor. MacDonald’s testimony provides proof of Cianbro’s participation in developing the Public-Private-Partnership law. Here is a link to an unofficial copy of his letter.Here is a link to an article about MacDonald’s testimony.