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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
    Production Assistance: John Greenman

    Today we have a special report on the proposal to remove the Orland Dam – a decision that regardless of which way it goes, will likely have impacts not only on that town, but on surrounding areas as well. Orland took over ownership of the dam from Verso in 2011. The dam has been found to have serious structural issues, has failed in the past, and currently salt water flows over the top periodically. It also blocks fish passage and the existing fish ladders are considered inadequate. The town will be voting on June 14th on a ballot question that gives 2 options: Keep the dam and have the town foot any associated costs, or move forward toward removal of the dam by working with NOAA fisheries and the Nature Conservancy to acquire available funding for removal of the dam and ancillary costs. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the major forces behind the Penobscot River Restoration project. In 2014 they designated the Penobscot River Watershed as a “Habitat Focus Area” — one of just two on the east coast –citing the environmental, cultural and recreational significance of New England’s second largest river, which provides habitat to many migratory fish species, including 3 that are listed as endangered.

    Those who oppose removing the dam are concerned about the impact on water front views, which would start changing with the tides, potential impacts of salt water on wells and bridges, and the need to find a new source of water for fire fighting (as the impoundment created by the dam has been used for that purpose)—and whether the grants the town might receive would cover those costs. The need to coordinate dam removal with the clean up of mercury in the river so as to not further mobilize a mercury hotspot just below the dam is also a concern.

    At a well-attended forum Wednesday night in Orland, experts who have been studying the issues and agencies offering funding for the project, provided updates and heard comments and questions from the public. The entire presentation last more than 2 hours. This morning we hear from some of the panelists and a few of the public comments.

    NOTE: The link to the full meeting (2+ hours in length) is also posted below. The 1st link is for today’s program, the second is the full meeting.

    FMI:
    orlandfutures.blogspot.com/
    www.orlandme.org/Orland%20Dam.html
    www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected/riverherring/tewg/presentations/river_herring_-_penobscot_hfa__september_3__2014_.pdf

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Donna Loring
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: River Sovereignty

    Program Topic: Penobscot Nation V Mills et els.

    Key Discussion Points:
    Case background
    Court findings
    Choices moving forward

    Guest: Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Audio contributed by John Greenman

    Segment 1: Bill Farrell, a University of Maine Ph.D. Candidate and Senior Advisor on Special Projects, for the international nonprofit Mercy Corps. speaking at the University last week on “The Syrian Refugee Crisis”.

    Segment 2: We bring you to last week’s town council meeting in Bucksport, where a vote was held on withdrawing the town’s legal support of the state in Penobscot Nation v Mills, a lawsuit between the state and the Penobscot Nation.

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Today we do a 2015 year in review with clips from stories about Divest UMaine, an investigation by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, Kim Ervin Tucker, scientists and lobstermen opposing the Searsport dredging project, the fight over mining regulations in Maine, the NRDC and Maine People’s Alliance’s federal lawsuit over the mercury pollution in the Penobscot River, Mainers opposing the TPP, and a story by Naomi Graychase , recording at “Bucksport, Then and Now”, and more — and we look ahead to 2016!

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Penobscot Nation v Mills : Decision at US District Court

    Key Discussion Points:

    1) Yesterday, US District Court Judge George Singal ruled that the Penosbcot Nation’s reservation does not include the river waters flowing through it.
    2) While Judge Singal affirmed the right of individual tribal members to sustenance fishing in the main stem of the Penosbcot River, he sided with the State of Maine in ruling that the Penobscot flowing through tribal territory is not part of the reservation. He based his decision on the State’s interpretation of the controversial Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act,saying if the Act did not explicitly mention the water as part of the territory, then the water is not included. The Tribe holds if they did not explicitly give up their rights to the waterway in the Settlement Act, they did not give it up.
    3) In the landmark case, Penobscot Nation v Maine Attornay General Janet Mills, The Penobscot Nation opposed the Maine Attorney General’s Office 2012 opinion that the Penobscot Indian reservation, which includes more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include any portion of the water. The Penobscot Nation has argued this amounts to a territorial taking by the state and erases their inherent, treaty reserved sustenance fishing rights.

    In October, Judge Singal heard oral arguments from Penobscot Nation counsel, counsel for the US Dept of Justice, intervening in the case on behalf of the Penobscot Nation, the Attorney General’s Office’s, and Pierce Atwood counsel which is representing a consortium of pollution dischargers intervening on behalf of the state.

    Guest: Sherri Mitchell, member of the Penobscot Tribe, indigenous rights attorney

    landpeacefoundation.net/

    www.facebook.com/dawnlanddefense

    www,sunlightmediacollective.org

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Penobscot Nation v Mills : Reactions to Court Hearing

    Key Discussion Points:

    1) Yesterday, US District Court Judge George Singal heard oral arguments for Penobscot Nation v Mills in Portland. The Penobscot Nation is opposing the Maine Attorney General’s Office 2012 opinion that the Penobscot Indian reservation, which includes more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include any portion of the water. The Penobscot Nation argues this amounts to a territorial taking by the state and erases their inherent, treaty reserved sustenance fishing rights.

    2) Judge Singal heard oral arguments from Penobscot Nation counsel, counsel for the US Dept of Justice. which is intervening in the case on behalf of the Penobscot Nation, the Attorney General’s Office’s, and Pierce Atwood counsel which is representing a consortium of pollution dischargers intervening on behalf of the state. Both sides have asked the judge for a summary judgement.

    3) We also speak with Hugh Curran about the annual Estia Conference on October 23rd at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast. This year the theme is Deep Ecology. Keynotes speakers include Darren Ranco, Maria Girouard and Sherri Mitchell. www.estiamaine.org

    Guests:
    Kathy Paul, Penobscot
    Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot indigenous rights attorney
    Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation
    Maria Girouard, Penobscot historian, Dawnland Environmental Defense
    Hugh Curran, University of Maine Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Estia Conference organizer

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Penobscot Nation Chief Francis on Penobscot Nation v Mills and Meeting in DC with President Obama

    Key Discussion Points:

    1) On October 14th, US District Court in Portland will hear oral arguments for Penobscot Nation v Mills.The Penobscot Nation is opposing the 2012 opinion by the Maine Attorney General’s Office that the Penobscot Indian reservation, which includes more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include any portion of the water, a decision that the Penobscot Nation argues breaks treaties and amounts to a territorial taking by the state.

    2) We speak with Chief Francis about the case, and about the separate legal battle concerning the federal EPA decision that, though Maine has the jurisdiction over water quality standards in tribal waters, under the Clean Water Act, state standards are not high enough to protect sustenance fishing.

    3) Last week, Chief Francis met with Congressional Representatives and President Obama on both these issues, among others. The US government is currently a legal intervenor in Penobscot Nation v Mills on behalf of the Penobscot Nation.

    Guests: Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Donna Loring
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Environmental issues and update on River case

    Program Topic: Environment and Wabanaki Struggles for Clean Water
    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Historic background on Environmental issues vs State
    b) Working with Allies
    c) Action we can take to educate the public

    Guests:
    Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation
    Maria Girouard, Penobscot Tribal Member and Founder of Dawnland Environmental Defense

    No Comments