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Proud to live in Shapleigh (letter)

We are so proud to be counted among Shapleigh’s Citizens, and especially among those voters that were at the Citizen’s Town Meeting this past Saturday, February 28, 2009.

HOORAY & KUDOS to all of us who voted to keep our water in our own hands. Hooray & kudos also to all who voted their conscience. It just proves that we now live in a town which gives every citizen the right to vote on issues that will impact our way of life. We’re not divided at all. We simply utilize our right to vote!

We’ve had a lot of precipitation lately, but that won’t always be the case. We heard recently that just before the Fire of 1947, there was an abundance of rain. Then quite suddenly a very dry period. People were actually driven to the ocean, we are told, to stand there in the water until the fire was extinguished. California is now experiencing a tremendous drought. One never knows when water will be badly needed here in York County where we are so blessed with water.

Edward Murphy of the Portland Press Herald wrote an article for the March 1, 2009, Sunday Telegram about our vote to ban large scale water extraction. It was a comment from Bill Hayes’, in this article, that took us by surprise. At all of the Public Hearings, questions were asked of him and the Planning Board about what Poland Springs was bringing to the table regarding monies they would spend for our water. Always the response was no particular water extractor had expressed an interest or applied for a permit, and that even if one had, discussion of money would not take place until well into the exploratory process. Now that all is said and done, and large scale water extractors are banned from mining our water, Mr. Hayes says that talks with the water bottler never got to the point where a dollar figure was discussed, but the amount “would have been significant.” Now wait a minute – talks with a water bottler? Weren’t we told none had applied for a permit? Wait another minute – didn’t get to the point of discussing dollars? How then would Mr. Hayes know it “would have been significant.”? Not that it would have mattered to Shapleigh’s citizens – at least most of them. We still want to keep our water within our control.

We the voters of Shapleigh made ourselves clear. We do not want our water extracted and sold. We’re a caring community. As far as we know, we would gladly give water to anyone who is thirsty.

Sat., March 14, 10:00 AM, Shapleigh Memorial School, is the annual Shapleigh Town Meeting. Part of that Warrant will be to enact the Town of Shapleigh Ordinance Governing the Large-Scale Pumping or Extraction of Groundwater, Spring Water and/or Water from Aquifers within the Municipality of Shapleigh, Maine – An addition to Town of Shapleigh Ordinances Section 105 -. We need to, once again go to the school and vote “NO” on this Regulatory Ordinance. We already stated with our vote on Shapleigh Water Rights & Local Self-Government Ordinance that we don’t want our water mined and sold out of our town.

And also on Sat., March 14, 1:00 PM, Newfield has the opportunity to be part of this historical moment and enact Newfield’s Water Rights & Local Self-Government Ordinance. We share an aquifer, and we’d like to share the historical glory. Abraham Lincoln stated it grandly: “Right Makes Might!” GO FOR IT!

Marty & Barbara Britten
No. Shapleigh, Maine

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