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WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill, Maine Local News and Public Affairs Archives

Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Penobscot Nation v Mills, with Chief Francis and Local Organizing to Withdraw Orono from the Case

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Despite years of cooperation and co-management with the state, and explicit direction from past administrations that the Penobscot Nation does have jurisdiction when it comes to monitoring their sustenance fishing waters, in 2012, the state began action to disassociate the water flowing through the Penobscot Nation from tribal control. On August 8th, 2012, the Attorney General William Schneider wrote a letter to the Penobscot Nation declaring that “the State of Maine has exclusive regulatory jurisdiction over activities taking place on the River.”
    b) In response, the Penobscot Nation is suing the Attorney General’s Office (now occupied by Janet Mills) in federal court, in Penobscot Nation v Mills, et al. The attorney representing the state, Matt Manahan from law firm Pierce Atwood, has gone on the public relations offensive, and has additionally signed 18 towns and corporations to the case as intervenors for the state.
    c) These 18 are waste water dischargers on the river, though the case is not about pollution discharges, and many of these entities are down stream from the Penobscot Nation. One of these towns is Orono. We hear from Orono resident Cheryl Robertson about efforts there to withdraw the town from the lawsuit.

    The Orono Town Council will hold a public meeting on the issue at 5:30pm on Monday, March 16th.

    Guests:
    Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation, penobscotnation.org
    Cheryl Roberston, Orono resident

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: The legislature’s public hearing on a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Today we hear some of the public testimony and reactions to the legislature’s hearing yesterday on LD 146, a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining. Testimony was almost entirely in opposition to the bill.

    b) LD 146 contains Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) rules that were rejected by the 125th Legislature.Opponents say the rules are not protective ground and surface water or tax payers, who could end up paying for extensive cleanup or disaster costs. The metallic mining industry’s historic and current operations around the world are synonymous with water pollution that lasts for decades. The last mining site in Maine, the Callhan mine in Brooksville, continues to pollute 40 years after closure, with tax payers footing the bill.

    c) Another point of contention with this bill is the legality of the process in re-introducing the DEP rules. The Maine Attorney General’s office confirms that under Maine’s Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA) these rules should go before a DEP public hearing prior to going before the legislature. The AG office has said the legislature can only preempt the act with a vote by the full legislature.

    Guests:
    Alice Bolstridge, Presque Isle
    Shelley Mountain, Portage Lake
    Rep. Janice Cooper (D- Yarmouth), former member of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment
    Browne Carson, former director of Natural Resources Council of Maine
    Current members of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment: Chair, Sen.Tom Saviello (R-Franklin), Rep. Bob Duechene (D-Hudson), Rep. Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Rep John Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
    Anthony Hourihan, Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
    Jim Mitchell, lobbyist for Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
    Nick Bennett, staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: EPA Decision: Maine Water Quality Standards are Not Protective of Tribes; The Environmental Impacts of Metallic Mining as Maine looks to Open the State for Irving Project

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) On February 2nd, the US EPA issued a decision that the state of Maine’s water quality standards are not stringent enough in tribal waters. Maine has been directed to strengthen these standards in compliance with protection of tribal sustenance fishing rights under the federal Clean Water Act.

    b) We speak with Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis on the importance of this decision to the tribe. And we look at the State of Maine’s inflamatory public relations offensive, primarily through Pierce Atwood attorney Matt Manahan, to re-frame the issue as a tribal power grab that will cost dischargers all along the Penobscot River millions of dollars. We also look at the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, and a landmark case currently in the courts, Penobscot Nation v Mills, in which the Penobscot Nation is suing the Maine Attorney General’s office for it’s 2012 attempt to disassociate the water flowing through the Penobscot Nation from it’s tribal territory.

    c) We also hear part of a presentation on the environmental destruction caused by metallic mining, given by Nick Bennett, staff scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Maine lawmakers are attempting to rush through previously rejected DEP rules that would open Maine to metallic mining. LD 146, is being hopscotched over the requirement under Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA) that proposed rule changes must have a public hearing before the DEP, prior to proceeding to the legislature. Proponents of the rule changes say, the MAPA requirements can be worked around. The Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is holding it’s public hearing on LD 146 on February 25th, at 9am at the Augusta State House.

    Guests:
    Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation, penobscotnation.org
    Nick Bennett, staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine www.nrcm.org

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Changes to Maine’s Mining Regulations Pushed

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we talk with Rep. Ralph Chapman about fast moving and legally controversial changes to the state’s mining regulations and the power of industry in state government.

    b) Mining rule changes, crafted by JD Irving to expedite mining at Bald Mountain in Aroostook County, were rejected by the 126th legislature on the grounds that it did not protect the environment or the public from inevitably costly clean up. These same rules, however, have been re-introduced this session, as LD 146, hopscotching over the requirement under the Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA) that Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed rule changes must go before a public hearing before proceeding to the legislature. The Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, however, has scheduled a public hearing for Feb 25th at 9am. It is expected proponents will try to push the bill through as quickly as possible and onto the Governor’s desk for signing.

    c) We also look towards the annual Changing Maine Gathering this weekend in Augusta. This years theme : ” We DO Have the Power: Local Organizing Against Corporate/Industrial Projects”

    Guests:
    Rep. Ralph Chapman, District 133 (Blue Hill, Brooksville, Brooklin, Sedgwick, Castine, Surry)
    Sass Linneken, Resources Organizing for Social Change (ROSC), outreach coordinator

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
    Program Topic: Governor LePage’s “Welfare Reform” plans for his second term

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we look at some of Governor LePage’s “welfare reforms”, those he has recently instituted and measures slated for his second term.
    b) We also look at how “welfare reform” is defined, and how the governor’s strategy and measures hurt, instead of helps those in poverty.
    c) We speak with the public policy director of the low income policy and education advocacy organization Maine Equal Justice Partners about the negative impacts and missed opportunities in the LePage administration strategies, and the positive steps that could be taken to improve the lives of low income Mainers.

    Guest: Chris Hasted, public policy director at Maine Equal Justice Partners www.mejp.org

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Institutional racism : the historical and present day context to the recent police killings of unarmed African-Americans Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley.

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Today we look at institutional racism : the historical and present day context to the recent police killings of unarmed African-Americans Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley.

    b) Professor Samuel Roberts discusses “the war on drugs”, mass incarceration, the para-militarization of police forces, police harassment, the trend to arrest people of color for economic infractions, like unpaid parking tickets, and the social movement response.

    c) The director of the Maine ACLU looks at the racial breakdown of arrests made in Maine. According to a recent USA Today report, African-Americans in Auburn are 4 times more likely to be arrested then the white population. In South Portland, the rate is 3.5 times higher. Bangor is 3.2, Lewiston 2.8 and Portland is 2.6 times higher.

    Guests:
    Samuel K Roberts, Director of the the Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS), Associate Professor of History(Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences), Associate Professor of Sociomedical Science (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health) and Associate Professor of African-American Studies. samuelkroberts.com/

    Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine www.aclumaine.org/

    Related story: www.pressherald.com/2014/12/10/students-try-to-raise-their-voices-but-protest-interrupted/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Solidarity Rallies for Fast Food Workers Day of Action and Black Friday Protests at Walmart; Second El Salvador Municipality Bans Mining

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) The Community Union of Ellsworth and Hancock County talk about local rallies in support of national movements to raise the standar of living for low wage workers. Black Friday demonstrations focused on Walmart workers,and December 4th was a day of action with fast food workers.
    b) The Community Union also speaks to the importance of supporting the striking Fairpoint workers, who have no financial safety net, and who continue their daily pickets.
    c) Salvadoran activist speaks at the Penobscot Nation’s River Justice event on the importance of organizing to protect the environment.

    Guests:
    A) John Curtis, Community Union of Ellsworth and Hancock County, ph: 667-
    B) Edith Portillo, CRIPDES, stopesmining,org
    C) Cori Ring-Martinez, translator, US El Salvador Sister Cities elsalvadorsolidarity.org/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Solidarity Harvest and comments on Faripoint Strike and Bucksport Mill Closure

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) This Thanksgiving marks the 12th annual Solidarity Harvest, a food distribution effort organized Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council, in concert with union members, local farmers, laid off workers, the underemployed and other area organizations.
    b) Solidarity Harvest distributes food for Thanksgiving time for laid off workers and others struggling in Maine, but it is also specifically designed to be a model of solidarity, rather then charity, an example of an organized community response to an often unjust economic system.
    c) Jack Mckay also comments on the issues surrounding the Fairpoint workers strike and the closure of the Bucksport paper mill.

    Guest: Jack McKay, director of Food AND Medicine and president of Eastern Maine Labor Council. www.foodandmedicine.org

    No Comments