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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: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    The legalization of fireworks in Maine has been impacting everyone from farmers to people with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and pitting neighbor against neighbor. Today we’ll hear some of those stories, and listen in on legislative committee hearings as they consider ways to address the issues- and then we open the phone lines for listener calls.

    But first.. We’re always looking for stories about ways communities are keeping power and control in local hands. Today’s story comes from Augusta, where residents have turned a mobile home community into a co-op, becoming the fourth resident-owned community in the state. Maine Cooperative Development Specialist and Director of RONA – the Residents Owned Neighborhood Association of Maine, Jessica Pooley, joins us to tell that story

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

    Encouraging Maine towns to make plans for dealing with rising sea levels due to climate change, a challenge to the right to vote on legalizing marijuana locally, and balancing the budget on the backs of Maine’s most vulnerable — today we take you to public hearings held by the state legislature on these issues, and open the phone lines for your calls.

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  • 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

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

    The Maine legislature’s committee on Environment & Natural Resources held a public hearing today in the latest round of the controversial re-write of Maine’s mining regulations. As we’ve reported previously, the original legislation was introduced on behalf of the Irving Corporation, and consisted of an industry wish list of changes to existing protections. Irving wants to changes that would allow them to mine Bald Mountain in Aroostook County—a prospect that has been rejected by other companies in previous decades as being environmentally and economically unfeasible- but these new mining rules would open up mining at locations across the state. Following a convoluted path through the legislature, the same proposed rules that were rejected last year are being re-introduced. This has resulted in allegations of administrative misconduct in addition to public outcry against loosening environmental protections.

    Today on the WERU News Report we’ll be talking with Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine about that group’s legislative priorities for this session, including the mining regs re-write, and we’ll be taking your calls with questions or comments. But first we start with some of the testimony from today’s public hearing

    FMI: www.nrcm.org

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

    In Augusta yesterday, the legislature’s committee on Agriculture Conservation & Forestry heard nearly 2 hours of public comments in support of legalizing growing hemp in Maine – and not one argument in opposition. In the 1st half of today’s program we take you to that public hearing. Then we’re joined by Karen Marysdaughter of “Climate Solutions” and 350Maine; WERU General Manager Matt Murphy and Board Member John Greenman for a discussion of the station’s upcoming vote on divesting from fossil fuels. Meredith DeFrancesco also joins us with a preview of tomorrow’s episode of “RadioActive” which will be focusing on the latest developments in the controversial re-write of Maine’s mining regulations

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    As the state legislative session is coming to a close, today we take a look at the status of some of the legislation we’ve been reporting on – and that the Natural Resources Council of Maine has been tracking—with NRCM’s Senior Director of Advocacy, Pete Didisheim. FMI: www.nrcm.org

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