Democracy School in Dover-Foxcroft

This democracy school by CELDF was brought to Dover-Foxcroft by members of Stop the East-West Corridor.  There will be another school on April 5 and 6th, followed by a rights-based-ordinance workshop on April 7th.  Visit our calendar for details.

Citizens and Activists Learn About U.S. Government System

by WABI-TV5 News Desk | March 8th 2013

View Original Article.

Dover-Foxcroft – Concerned citizens and activists had a chance to learn more about the United States government system.

The Daniel Pennock Democracy School was held at the Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft earlier this week.

This was the third time the course has been taught in the area by members of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Folks come here to learn about the legal structure. How it’s set up and what they can to do to actually take local democracy back and actually make those decisions for themselves”
“It’s about giving them an avenue to follow to be able to get that kind of community established and in place.”

Nat Pop: “So were going actually move now and take a look at the constitution of the United States of America.”

Participant Matthew Newman was paying close attention throughout the session.

“I came here specifically to learn how to write legislation or ordinances for towns along the route so that they can self govern”

In particular, he is concerned with the East West Corridor proposal.

“we should have the right as the community to to say as a community that we don’t want this”

But not everyone is here for the same reason as Matthew,

“We’ve had elected officials folks from all different political backgrounds. Folks come to this school when they either would like to say no to something coming into their community that they don’t want to see that’s going to harm…Or they would actually like to implement a positive policy ”
“I very rarely know what political leanings the people who participate in these democracy schools are. I seldom ask and I seldom find out. It’s really about those members of the communities who see that they perhaps are somehow being restricted from really obtaining the goals they have for their children or their grandchildren”

Caitlin Burchill. WABI TV 5 News. Dover-Foxcroft.

Senator Doug Thomas claims he was threatened

In this article 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.

State Senator Threatened For East-West Highway Support

Link to Video and Original Article.

AUGUSTA (WGME) — Threats and intimidation, that’s what one state senator claims he’s been subjected to, over his support for an east-west highway in Maine.

That project has been talked about for years, drawing support, opposition and controversy at every turn. But one of the most vocal supporters of the project claims the debate is taking a dark turn.

State Senator Doug Thomas: “It’s a great place to represent.  I’ve got Moosehead Lake and Baxter State Park and Mount Khatadin and just wonderful people.”

State Senator Doug Thomas represents Piscataquis county.  His constituents are divided over the proposed East-West highway.  If built, it would cut through the southern end of the county.  Senator Thomas supports the highway because he thinks it will benefit people in northern Maine by linking them to Canada.

Thomas: “They’re our biggest trading partner.  And their economy is thriving while ours seems to be sinking.  And we need to take a look.  We need to be better connected to the Canadian economy.”

Senator Thomas believes radical environmental groups will do anything to stop this highway from being built.  The senator says he met with the head of a radical environmental group and two days later, someone placed dead fish, one every 50 feet or so, in either direction on the road outside his home.  The latest threat came in an email this week.

Thomas: “It said that I needed to be careful for my political future and my business’s future.  And that I should change my position and if I didn’t, it was going to cost me. This is a concealed weapons permit that I’m going after today.  I’m going to defend myself.”

There’s a lot of opposition to the East-West highway.  Environmental groups say it won’t bring in long term jobs, won’t help local economies, and won’t bring in tourists.  Instead, they say it will bring in pollution, and adversely impact Maine’s forests, waterways and wildlife.  Senator Thomas, though, doesn’t believe any of that’s true.”

The senator says it should be up to the people of Maine to decide if the highway should be built, not radical environmentalists.

Earth First is one of the environmental groups working in Maine to stop the east-west highway. We tried reaching them, but did not hear back. However, on its website, Earth First says, quote, “We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, including civil disobedience.”

East-West Corridor: Pig in a Poke

Op-Ed by Jane Crosen | February 15, 2013

On January 18, in Eastport and Calais, Cianbro’s program manager Darryl Brown presented the company’s current plans for routing an East-West Corridor through eastern Maine. As with previous promotions, this one was long on vague promises about economic development and avoidance of sensitive areas, but short on maps showing the actual route. Brown’s presentation did, however, reveal enough details for people well acquainted with the downeast landscape to make an educated guess of the Corridor’s route and impacts.

The privately owned transportation and utility corridor across Maine would include a four-lane divided highway authorized for Canadian tandem trailer trucks. Other uses could include pipelines and utilities, although Brown didn’t mention these.

Earlier reports indicated the Corridor proponents were intending to follow the Stud Mill Road, which has a 2,000′ ROW but crosses or closely passes several significant conservation lands, including Sunkhaze NWR, the Machias River Waterway, and the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership’s Sunrise Easement. The recent announcement of Cianbro’s commitment to avoid routing through the Sunrise Easement lands came as good news to many (including myself) concerned about the impacts a fenced truck highway and utility corridor would have on eastern Maine’s environment and recreation opportunities. However, the route Cianbro is now proposing would mean cutting a new and longer swath closer to the coast, still crossing the Machias watershed, six other river systems, and a number of conserved areas.

According to Brown, Cianbro ran into a roadblock with routing through Moosehorn NWR, so they decided to “turn challenge into opportunity” by looping closer to the coast. Despite Halifax’s woes from underuse and a proposed superport in Melford, Nova Scotia, Brown believes connectivity to unobstructed deep-water ports at Eastport and Calais would make Maine a major player in global shipping. He wants to encourage development of big-box distribution centers in outlying areas providing jobs handling cargo off super container ships from Asia.

From Calais they now plan to route the 500’ corridor around the east side of Moosehorn’s Baring unit, then south to Route 214 where they may build an interchange for access from Eastport. From Route 214 the Corridor would run west, south of Route 9, likely crossing Route 9 near Wesley where there may be an interchange allowing access from Machias. From there the Corridor would run north to “utilize a 35-mile section of the Stud Mill Road right-of-way” west toward the Penobscot River, crossing north of Bangor. There would be an interchange at Route 95, and another north of Dexter on Route 15.

Besides the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, Brown said Cianbro has “reached out to” several other major conservation and recreation groups. His presentation emphasized the company’s “commitment” to avoid “most” conserved lands, tribal lands, wetlands, deeryards, and vernal pools, including endangered species habitat, as much as possible. (In previous presentations Cianbro “committed” to avoiding “all” conserved lands.) Never has the public seen any mapped portion of the actual intended route. Brown said the company’s routing plans are still a work in progress, and not something they are ready to reveal on maps.

Looking at all the lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in the area east and south of Moosehorn, and from the Machias–East Machias watersheds west to Beddington and the Stud Mill Road, it’s hard to imagine how the developers would be able to route the Corridor through this area while honoring all their “commitments.” Besides the Machias River Waterway, it would impact or cross a number of other important salmon and trout streams, wildlife management areas, and working forest and conservation lands open to hunting, fishing, and other recreational use by people throughout eastern Maine, supporting guiding, ecotourism, and other local enterprises. The area between Calais, Cobscook Bay, and the Machias River frames many pristine lakes and ponds settled with camps. Eastport and other nearby coastal communities enjoy thriving local and tourist retail and service economies. How would these fare surrounded by major transportation infrastructure carrying heavy trucks loaded with Chinese-manufactured goods to supply big-box retailers? (Brown noted Lewiston’s Walmart distribution center serves over 300 trucks per day.) Would the highway/Corridor development really bring meaningful jobs or long-term benefit to the people in the area it runs through? How would it impact the quality of life in eastern Maine communities? Taxes would be paid to the towns it runs through, but at what cost?

How would the limited-access highway affect travel patterns on local roads and trails? The highway proponents say they would build overpasses or ramps for “all” multiuse gravel roads, and would accommodate wildlife passage with “appropriately located” wildlife crossings and tunnels. They plan to run a recreational trail statewide along the highway for ATVs, snowmobiles, hikers, and horseback riders “providing an outstanding recreational experience.”

Promises aside, common sense tells us highways built for high-speed heavyweight tandem truck traffic cannot weave around every damp spot along the way (and this region has plenty of water). Wetlands are filled in; ramps, roadbeds, and bridge abutments are built up; interchanges and service facilities are developed. Where will all that sand and gravel come from? How much of downeast Maine’s uniquely well-preserved glacial landscape will be scraped up and used to build the highway–or exported? What about the aquifers under the gravel, the streamsheds, lakes, and ponds fed by them? What will happen to the cold-water fisheries? What besides Asian commodities and Canadian products will trucks be carrying? Accidents involving heavy trucks have heavy consequences. What about chemical and fuel spills, de-icing and runoff? Brown minimized the highway’s footprint, but the environmental impacts could be disastrous and very expensive or impossible to clean up, affecting the whole region downstream to the coast.

Such a sensitively routed, state-of-the-art highway as Brown describes would be expensive to build–over four times the cost of improving east-west rail lines between Montreal and eastern Canada, as estimated by the Sierra Club. Rail transport is exponentially safer than truck transport, with far less environmental impact. Many people ask, why is rail not good enough to meet demand for faster east-west freight transport? Brown says trucks do better at meeting global demand for just-in-time delivery. Or is there something else in the pipeline? Maine’s existing east-west rail lines, running not far north of the proposed Corridor route, are already being used to transport tar sands oil from the Alberta oil fields to the Irving refinery in St. John.

The proposed route aligns with convenient export of other natural resources in eastern and northern Maine increasingly valuable in the global economy. Could the Corridor open the door to more wind farms and transmission lines? What about eastern Maine’s abundant supply of fresh water, not just for human consumption but used in gas fracking?

Cianbro is promoting the Corridor as a construction project; who are the investors? As a woman in Calais asked, is it possible a swath across Maine might belong to someone from China? Brown replied that foreign ownership is not only possible but likely according to current trends.

Although growing public opposition has brought several Corridor-related bills before the legislature, the proponents of this project, backed by powerful corporate and political interests, are intent on pushing it through–and not disclosing much about the route or impacts of this proverbial pig in a poke. It would be well for everyone in eastern Maine to learn and demand more information about the project and consider what far-reaching impacts it would have on the environment, economies, communities, and quality of life.

Stop the East-West Corridor, a statewide coalition of concerned citizens and groups working to raise public awareness about the proposed project and impacts, is planning two informational meetings in eastern Maine: in Calais on March 13 at WCCC’s Riverview lecture hall, and in Machias on March 27 at UMM in Room 102 of the Science Building. Both events will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will combine a panel presentation with opportunity for public conversation. Links to articles, study maps, and other information are posted on the coalition’s website, www.stopthecorridor.org.

Jane Crosen is a mapmaker known for her hand-drawn maps of Maine regions. Living in Penobscot, she and her husband have a camp near Wesley. She does eastern outreach for Stop the East-West Corridor.

Upcoming East-West Corridor Events

Updated February 10, 2013

February 21 ~ Hancock County Democratic Committee, 7-8pm, Ellsworth City Hall, FMI Contact Kent Price 469-1903 
Chris Buchanan, coordinator for Stop the [East-West] Corridor, and State Representative
Katherine Cassidy (D-Lubec) at 7 pm on Thursday, February 21, will address
the controversial East-West Highway currently planned for the Calais area to
Coburn Gore. The presentation will be the feature segment of the Hancock
County Democratic Committee’s regular monthly meeting, in Ellsworth City
Hall’s third-floor auditorium.

Chris Buchanan, who is working with many groups opposing the toll road, will
provide an overview of the proposal. Rep. Cassidy is a co-sponsor of the
bill to defund the $300,000 economic feasibility study that had been
authorized by the previous Maine legislature.

March 2 ~ Presentation at Dexter School, 1-4pm
Presentation for the local community being organized by STEWC members.  Confirmed details TBA soon!
March 9 ~ Outreach / Informational Meeting
STEWC meeting focused on sharing information and reaching out to more people, being organized by Sidney Mitchell.  Confirmed details TBA shortly.
 
March 13 ~ The East-West Corridor, Why Not? A Panel Presentation and Community Conversation by STEWC 
5:30 – 7:30pm Washington County Community College Lecture Hall, Calais
Panelists include:
Gene Ripley – jobs and economic impacts
Maria Girouard – water, natural resources, and our relationship with the Earth
Paul Schroeder – transparency, sovereignty / local control, eminent domain, Public-Private-Partnerships
Chris Buchanan – introductory overview, moderation
Jane Crosen is working with the map team to provide high quality maps of potential routes.
March 27 ~ The East-West Corridor, Why Not? A Panel Presentation and Community Conversation by STEWC 
5:30 – 7:30pm University of Maine at Machias, Lecture Hall in the Science Building, Machias
Panelists include:
Gene Ripley – jobs and economic impacts
Maria Girouard – water, natural resources, connecting the dots, and our relationship with the Earth
Paul Schroeder – transparency, sovereignty / local control, eminent domain, Public-Private-Partnerships
Chris Buchanan – introductory overview, moderation
Jane Crosen is working with the map team to provide high quality maps of potential routes.
March 30 ~ next STEWC coalition meeting, Daybreak Cafe, Old Town, exact time TBA but expect it to be in the morning
 
April 7 ~ Alliance for the Common Good Teach-In, UMO
More details TBA.  The theme is “Budget For All . . . Why not?” After keynote speakers there will be a panel of five people talking about topics of concern. Finally there will be two sessions of workshops with 5 workshops in each session.  The proposed LPG Tank in Searsport and the E/W Corridor will be the focus of one of the workshops. The Alliance has three slogans, one of which is a Develop a Maine Economy that protects Maine’s Environment. In this 40 minute workshop we will provide context and information for the group on how people can become involved in our campaigns.  Maximum participation is encouraged.
April 11 ~ AN EAST-WEST CORRIDOR THROUGH MAINE? PERSPECTIVES FROM THE PEOPLE
part of the Socialist and Marxist Studies Series (controversy series) this Spring on Thursdays, 12:30-1:45pm in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union, UMO
 
John Banks is a Penobscot tribal member and has served as Director of its
Natural Resources for 32 years.
Chris Buchanan is Maine Coordinator for Defending Water for Life and
statewide Coordinator for Stop the East-West Corridor (STEWC).
Gene Ripley is a farmer and entrepreneur whose Dover-Foxcroft farm may lie
in the path of the proposed East-West corridor.

Pros and cons of east-west highway debated

The Quoddy Tides | January 25, 2013 | Edward French

Link to original article.

Although limited by time constraints in asking questions about the east-west highway project, the nearly 40 people who attended the forum in Eastport pressed the project developer on issues ranging from how the project would benefit Maine, why rail isn’t being considered instead and how much the truck traffic to the Port of Eastport might increase. The informational meetings, held January 18 in Eastport and Calais, were presented by the Cianbro Corporation, which is proposing the project, and the Sunrise County Economic Council.
In his presentation, which took up most of the meeting, Darryl Brown, the program manager for the east-west highway project for Cianbro, pointed to the project’s selling points: attracting additional investment to Maine’s rural communities; reducing travel time; improving utility transmission; and revitalizing Maine’s ports. “It can make Maine the breadbasket of the Northeast,” he said.
Noting that “people are leaving the northern part of the state in droves” and pointing to statistics on the economy, unemployment rate and median age that all show that northern Maine is not faring well, Brown stated, “We believe this will be an economic booster for all of Maine’s economy.”
The 220-mile, 500-foot-wide privately funded corridor would run from Calais to Coburn Gore, and the four-lane highway would provide easier access to the major markets in the Midwest for the Maritimes. Brown noted that Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states lacking an east-west transportation route. Linking to the trade gateways of Montreal and Chicago is “critical to Maine’s economy,” Brown said, noting that Lincoln Paper and Tissue has estimated it would save over $1 million a year in the company’s transportation costs. He added that privately funded infrastructure projects are increasingly being undertaken, since public funding has dried up. At least six interchanges are planned for access to the highway in the state, and a recreational trail would be developed within the corridor.
Brown outlined how the route would be determined, with Cianbro considering property lines, the avoidance of homes, topography, wetlands, conservation lands, deer yards, vernal pools and other environmental concerns. The company is committed to providing wildlife crossings, and eminent domain would not be used for any land acquisition for the road. “It will be the most environmentally compliant road in North America,” he said.
However, a recent Sierra Club national report cites the highway proposal as one of the worst transportation projects in the United States, noting potential negative impacts on Maine’s air and water quality and critical wildlife habitat. The report states that similar highway proposals have been studied and rejected numerous times in the past and that the privately funded highway connecting the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick through forested regions in Maine would serve large industry and trucking interests at the expense of Maine communities. Sierra Club Maine is advocating that the state consider revitalizing the existing freight rail line, which parallels the proposed highway route.

Truck traffic to port
During the forum, Brown said the project would help the Port of Eastport attract additional markets. Container ship traffic is the most efficient means of transporting goods, and that traffic is expected to triple from 2008 to 2024. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, many major ports are having to dredge or cannot handle the larger post-Panamax vessels. “There will be a huge need for ports to handle these larger ships,” Brown said, noting that the Port of Eastport has the greatest depth, at 64 feet, of any port in the continental U.S.
The east-west highway route would go south of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, which would provide closer connectivity for the Port of Eastport. Although the proposal does not at present indicate an access point for the toll highway near the port, Brown said an interchange, possibly near Route 214 in Charlotte, could be included. Questions were raised about the estimated increase in truck traffic in the Eastport area, and Brown said more work needs to be done on any estimates.
Concerning why a rail project is not being undertaken instead, Brown said that rail works best for transporting bulk materials but trucks are better for “just in time” delivery, a production strategy used by certain businesses and industries. “The best model is to have rail, trucks and ports.” Eastport Port Director Chris Gardner commented that port officials know that there is a limit on how much truck traffic can be handled at the port. “Rail connectivity has to be part of our future,” he said. “Without that, we can’t grow to meet our capacity. We want this to mesh with the highway.”

Benefits for Maine?
Others observed that the highway would help Canada a great deal, particularly the Nova Scotian ports at Halifax and Melford, but they wondered how it would help Maine. Suzanne Brown of Milbridge asked how the project would bring money into the state. Noting that she is invested in a farm that serves a local instead of a global market and that the poor soil in Washington County prevents local farmers from competing globally, she said, “I don’t see the highway addressing the state’s economic issues. I don’t think it’s the answer.” Brown responded that the project is being done for Maine, not Canada, and noted that there are good farmland soils in some areas of Maine. He said that Canadian truckers are excited about the project and that they would be paying for the highway through tolls.
Pam Dyer Stewart of Harrington asked what would happen to families that are displaced by the corridor. She said the toll highway would “suck the life out of downtowns” and that the development of distribution centers along the highway, with big-box stores, would harm local small businesses. Studies have shown that such highways do not benefit a state and hurt local downtowns, she said. Brown replied that Cianbro is “committed to limiting the impact to property owners as much as possible.”
Steve Koenig, executive director of Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement), noted that the corridor would cut across rivers that have an endangered species listing for Atlantic salmon, and Brown said Cianbro would work with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other groups on that issue.
Concerning possible use of the corridor for power lines or pipelines, Brown says in an interview that there are no plans at this time, although a fiber optic line along the highway corridor might be a possibility. “Down the line there may be a need” for other uses of the corridor, he says. The permitting process for this project, which is estimated will take three years, will be only for the highway. A transmission line or pipeline would have to proceed through a separate permitting process in the future.

Audiolog East-West Corridor Presentations, January 18, Eastport & Calais

Audiolog

East-West Corridor Presentation

January 18, 2013

Darryl Brown, EWC Program Manager, Cianbro

 

Eastport, Maine, Shead HS, 2:45–4:00

(File 1)

1:40–3:40  —  Brown’s background: owns Eastport property, recent posts w/ Maine Land Development, 2 yrs. DEP Commissioner.

3:90–5:00  —  Transparent as they can be at this point. Project of state significance; not trying to separate state in two. This project needs to happen.

5:10–9:00  —  Economic disparity between N & S of state. ME’s rep as one of worst states to do business. Older population, poverty, unemployment.

9:00–10:40  —  Corridor 220 miles long, 500’ wide, 13,333A. Toll hwy. Calais to Coburn Gore. Privately funded, owned, and maintained; policed by ME state police under contract from owner (like ME Tpke). Cianbro committed that project will be constructed by ME companies and people.

10:40–12:40  —  ME close to Canada, Brown’s father born in NB, Canada our friend. Canadian companies 6 largest investors in ME, 1/3 of ME goods to Canada, Canadian tourism.

12:45–15:45  —  Global container traffic, TEUs container ships 20’ long x 8’ x 8’; most efficient, least expensive way to ship product around world, as little as 1 container per ship; major way of shipping products.

15:50–18:20  —  Panama & Suez expanding to accommodate larger ships; huge need for these larger ships to get to ports that can take them. Ports already investing in expanding/developing. Eastport at 64’ deeper than anywhere else on E or W coast, huge opportunity. ME perfectly positioned to expand and develop deepwater ports. Not just deep but no obstructions, no bridges to raise (see Calais 5, 2:40), critical in developing gateway port.

18:20–23:50  —  ME in middle of Atlantic gateway. East of ME, all 4 lanes. ME, NH, VT have no 4-lane E-W connectivity. Lacking just 62 miles 4-lane to Sherbrooke, then 4 lanes to Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, Midwest manufacturing. Current routes at least 2 hours longer travel time depending on congestion; quicker travel, less fuel, reduce carbon footprint. Lincoln Tissue one example of savings to ME business: 80 trucks/wk, would save $1–2 million/yr on transport cost.

23:50–28:50  —  Routing team: Brown, Steve Malatesta, Corey Verrill (mapmaker), Joe Poria. Letting folks know how it’s done, transparency by demonstrating fictional example. “Trying as hard as we can to avoid as many homes as possible. People do come 1st.” Take into consideration property lines, soils, wetlands; impossible to avoid some wetlands, in which case mitigate or compensate. Trying to as much as possible avoid all conservation lands and tribal lands.

28:50–35:00  —  Demonstration of layers on aerial photos, fictitious route sections. Three criteria for wetlands: hydric soils, wetland vegetation, wetland characteristics. Work to avoid deer yards, vernal pools, wetlands. Absolute route has not been established, still a work in progress.

35:00–37:00  —  Committed to siting wildlife crossings, working w/ organizations to make sure properly placed. Tunnels, over-the-road crossings. Have reached out to TNC, NRCM, ME Audubon & working w/ them on these and other environmental issues.

37:00–39:00  —  Avoiding conservation lands, tribal lands. Discovered deal made several yrs. ago: Routes 9 &1 thru Moosehorn (Baring) could never be widened more than 66’. Appeared might stop project, but turned adversity into opportunity: Route south for greater connectivity to Eastport port area and all of Washington Co. Current proposed route would run below southern line of proposed North Woods NP.

40:00–42:20  —  Why E-W Corridor important to Maine? Puts ME on map, critical piece of global economy, attract business. ME has prime agricultural soils, could make ME breadbasket of NE. Reduce travel time, carbon footprint; improve communication. Jobs, tax base; for every town the hwy. goes through, will provide property tax.

42:00–44:10  —  Committed to providing multiuse recreational trail within corridor: QP to NB, full passage across rivers on all bridges. Active participation w/ ME snowmobile assoc., will not cut off access to snowmobile trails.

44:10–45:20  —  Will not utilize eminent domain. Hwy. will be private entity, can’t practice eminent domain.

45:50–46:50  —  Committed to using high environmental standards.

46:50–48:20  —  NY Times article, well done, balanced, ending quote by Tony Brinkley of UMO: “The Maine brand should not be poverty. Why not Maine?”

 

Q&A

48:20–51:20  —  Q1) Why privately owned? A) E-W concept has been around, determined costly, public $ (even bonds) have dried up. Increasingly, large infrastructure projects being done as private enterprise: TX hwy, Miami airport, PEI bridge.

51:20–52:00  —  Q2) (Chris H, port manager?) & A) Private business, price differential.

52:00–54:00  —  Q3) Co.’s commitment to safety, price differential. Why not railway? A) Not competing w/ rail. Rail best suited for trans. of bulk materials. But manufacturing plants around world need Just-In-Time delivery, trucking: intermodal rail, port, trucking.

54:00–56:50  —  Q4) (Suzanne Brown) Lack of specific info on Calais to Eastport, quality of life, concerned about projection of number of trucks. A) Better connectivity to Eastport; hwy. corridor itself will not extend to Eastport. Committed to protecting quality of life, but also to providing opportunity for people. Need more work to determine actual numbers, projections. Will there be increase in traffic? Sure.

57:00–59:00  —  A) More co’s. around world seeking remote areas for distribution centers, as in Lewiston (see Calais, Q1, 35:00). Dexter will be a town Corridor going thru, has empty factory buildings perfect for developing distribution center.

59:00–1:00:00  —  Q5) Map shows how hwy. will help Canada, but interchanges few. 500’ or 2,000’? Can’t see how hwy. helping state, ME people, and Eastport.

1:00:00–1:06:30  —  A) Never intended would be 2,000’; will be utilizing approx. 35 miles of Stud Mill Road, which has 2,000’ easement but will not be using. Committed to using a 500’ corridor. Will have at least 6 interchanges, probably a few more. As make loop around Eastport, Route 214, Pembroke, somewhere in that area, hope can be interchange in that area as well. Eastport folks pointed out 214 would be logical place. Canadian truckers excited but will be paying in tolls. How ME will benefit: Potential for development, agriculture in the county, distribution centers, manufacturing. We’ll never be a Halifax or Medford, but Price Rupert (new, 100A, already #16 in world market, 5,000 jobs, is similar to what Eastport could be.

 

(File 2)

0–3:05  —  Q6) (Suzanne B.) Doesn’t seem useful for ME to be conduit. Prime soils maybe midstate/Aroostook, but not in Wash. Co. Problem not lack of E-W Corridor but much larger problem. Appreciate way of life, that we’re not nec. part of that global economy but connected to each other, different. There’s poverty, but don’t think E-W Hwy. is way to address that, don’t think of Walmart as socially responsible co. A) Agree to disagree w/o being disagreeable: Are we being used or do we see this as an opportunity for some good things to happen in ME?

4:30–6:00  —  Q7) Lack of interchanges, who’s going to develop businesses when we can’t get on/off? A) Heading west, will be crossing Route 9 at some point, and will no doubt be an interchange there allowing access to Machias (see Calais, Qs 2, 3, & 4, 36:10–39:30).

6:40–8:00  —  Q8) (Chris H.?) Shipping commodities thru Eastport? A) Rail connectivity back to Eastport has to be part of it. Perry, need to make sure… will change what we do in Eastport, a work in progress.

8:20–10:00  —  Q9) (Suzanne B.) You said committed to not using eminent domain; am concerned about all those property lines crossed in example, all those families the Corridor would displace. That kind of project sucks life out of downtowns; big boxes come in, small local businesses go under. Studies concluded no econ. benefit and did threaten small towns.

10:00–11:00  —  A) Committed insofar as much as possible to limit impact to property owners. Will be very deliberate, sensitive to working w/ property owners.

11:00–11:30  —  Q10) Cost of power…

11:30–12:30  —  Q11) (Steve Koenig, Project SHARE) Haven’t mentioned environmental concerns of Atlantic salmon. A) Will be reaching out to IFW, salmon folks, seeking their advice. To extent we (Cianbro) have those maps available to us from LURC, working w/ those folks to avoid impacts to endangered species.

13:00–13:50  —  Q12) Approval process? A) At least 3 years. Permits thru unorganized territories, ME DEP, ____ Act, Fed. agencies. Lots of opportunity for public involvement.

 

Calais, WCCC Riverview Room, 5:30–6:30

File 5 (brief notations, refer back to Eastport log above, generally better recording)

2:40–5:20 — Deepwater ports in both Eastport and Calais w/ no obstructions (can cost $500 million just to raise a bridge), 75’ in channel, no need for dredging. Global markets and connectivity: this is the future, opportunity for ME

5:20–10:50 — Repeats same economic profile as Eastport.

10:50–12:40 — Route a work in progress. Very important to avoid as many homes as possible. Will use existing ROWs such as 35 miles along Stud Mill Road.

12:40–14:05 — Criteria of avoiding wetlands. Where can’t avoid, mitigation and compensation. Commitment to avoid conservation land, tribal land, deeryards, vernal pools.

14:05–20:10 — Demo of routing w/ map overlays.

20:10–22:45 — Wildlife crossings.

22:45–24:05 — Moosehorn challenge, section of Routes 1/9 that can never be widened more than 66’. Realized maybe turn challenge into opportunity: route closer to Eastport, deeper into Washington Co., critical for economic development.

24:10–26:05 — Economic benefits, including tax: every town the EWC passes through will be paid property tax.

26:05–27:50 — Because a private hwy., can do more than can do within publicly financed roadways. Will include recreational trail, snowmobiles from Quebec to NB, enhancing existing snowmobile trails. Have been working w/ MSA Bob Myers.

28:30–29:30 — Will accommodate Canadian weight limits, tandem trailers. Pledged will not utilize eminent domain; can’t since private entity.

 

Q&A

30:50–35:50 — Q1) (Gordon Mott) Economic benefit of moving product across state, limited interchanges, how will that help us (ME)? A) Deepwater port development big plus in ME’s economy, will create jobs (Prince Rupert). Potentially 2 additional interchanges in Wash. Co. Agriculture, manufacturing, dev. of distribution centers in remote areas (like Walmart’s in Lewiston, a huge facility with 300 trucks in/out per day, 600 jobs).

36:10–37:25 — Q2) (George Wallace) Route above DLLT Sunrise Easement, along Airline? A) South of Route 9, west and connect w/ 214, then at some point head up to Stud Mill Road crossing Route 9, undoubtedly will be interchange in that area [in/near Wesley, per conversation w/ Corey Verrill following Eastport session].

37:25–37:55 — Q3) (Jane Crosen) How much area involved w/ interchange? cloverleaf? A) Not overly extensive; going to minimize impact as much as possible.

37:55–39:30 — Q4) (Ted Carter) Alexander, truck traffic along Route 9. Always pictured EWC route proposed thru Baileyville and up to and along Stud Mill Road. But if run south of Moosehorn, up Route 214, crossing Route 9 where? A) Very much a work in progress, have not defined route. (Ted) That’s going to be your biggest issue, the route, plus cost.

39:30–41:30 — Q5) (Ted C.) Has Cianbro made any consideration of high-speed rail in a time of dwindling oil resources? A) Not competing w/ rail, need for both. Rail best suited for bulk transport; intermodal facilities. Trucks can do JIT delivery, rail can’t.

41:30–42:05 — Q6) (Jane C.) Tolls for passsenger cars? A) Have determined tolls for cars will be comparable to ME Turnpike.

42:40–44:00 — (Q7) Off-ramps for recreational trails? A) Yes, working closely w/ clubs to make sure. [will build off-ramps/overpasses over all of them, per conversation w/ Corey V.] Where following SMR, will not be cutting off access to people’s properties. Will not necessarily be routing hwy. over SMR but along it, crossing from side to side as needed.

44:00–44:35 (Q8) Investors, will companies from foreign countries be owning part of ME? A) No different than current trend.

44:35–45:05 — (Q9) (Gordon M.) Decided where will cross Penobscot River? A) Are pretty close [to a decision]; have had conversation w/ Chief Kirk Francis, working closely w/ him.

45:05–45:50 — (Q10) Sable Island pipeline running along SMR, coming close to that? A) 2,000’ ROW, 500’ for EW corridor.

45:50–46:35 — Mayor Marianne Moore of Calais presents letter of support from Calais, St. Stephen, Baileyville.

Dividing the State: Proposed East-West Corridor Affects Washington County

Link to Original Articleby Hillary Savage | Machias Valley News Observer | January 19, 2013
A highway bisecting Maine, running from Canada in the East, to Canada in the West has brought much concern from the people of Maine. Ranging from environmental concerns, economic and business, to quality of life and property rights, the proposed East-West Highway by Peter Vigue and Cianbro has already divided the state.An informational hearing, coordinated by Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) was held in Eastport on Friday. Darryl Brown, Cianbro’s Program Manager for the East-West Highway project presented to the audience a slideshow about the project, where it stands now, and ways that the company is taking concerns into account through the planning stages.

 

“We’re trying to be as transparent at this point,” Brown stated at the start of the meeting. “I’m passionate to say that this project is going to happen, needs to happen and will happen.”

Citing young people as the biggest export of Maine, Brown and Cianbro are confident that a highway will bring economic opportunity that will bring young people back to the state. The business he expects to be along the highway, however, include gas stations, mainly Irving (a Canadian company) as well as distribution centers for large business, such as Wal-Mart that will be along the proposed trade route.

The concept of global trade, and the urgency put on the need to “get up to speed and accept it” is something that was stressed at the meeting. Container ships which are the most effective, efficient, cheapest and widely used form of transportation of goods around the world are now causing the expansion of the Panama and Suez canals. These canals are the highways for global trade, and Brown and Cianbro are of the opinion that with Eastport having the deepest water of any port on the East coast, a highway running nearby is a clear solution to the economic problem.

Two young women, both Maine residents seemed most concerned with the quality of life issues that would come with the building of the highway. Meg Gilmartin, who lives in Corinth attended the meeting, saying that the proposed highway would run two miles from her property, and there has been no public meeting held in her town about the project. “Maine is full of strong, small communities and a healthy environment. This will destroy both,” she stated.

Chris Buchannan of the group Defending Water for Life in Maine said, “Maine’s greatest assetts are the people and the environment. It is why people have stayed and lived here for so many years. This would ruin the culture and environment that make it possible for people to live here to have that quality of life.”