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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: 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

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  • 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

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    The latest chapter in a story we’ve been reporting on for nearly 15 years played out in Federal Court today, as lawyers for both sides in the Penobscot River mercury pollution case (Maine People’s Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council vs. Mallinckrodt Inc.) made their closing arguments. We start today with a press conference held outside the Federal Building held by the Maine People’s Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council—the 2 groups that successfully sued the huge corporation responsible for the major mercury pollution many years ago and are now trying to get them to stop delaying and start cleaning it up. We also have notes from the final arguments, and make the connection with the mercury in the bay and proposed dredging project by re-airing an August 2014 interview with Dr. Kevin Yeager, one of the court-appointed independent scientist who worked on the Holtrachem/Mallinckrodt mercury case and was later hired by parties concerned about the dredging project to take a look at the testing methods used by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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  • Producer/Editor/Host: Amy Browne
    Audio recorded by: John Greenman

    In 2012, Maine’s attorney general informed the Penobscot Nation that the state had decided that the Penobscot reservation didn’t actually include any of the water surrounding their islands—that they had no rights to their namesake river—contrary to historic agreements. The tribe responded with a lawsuit asserting their rights, now known as “Penobscot Nation vs Mills”. Since that time, several towns have signed on as intervenors, essentially taking the side of the state against the Penobscot Nation. Orono was among them until town residents learned about what was happening and pressured the town to withdraw. Now the Penobscot Nation is hoping that more towns will do the same if they know more about what is happening and what the stakes are.
    On April 30th, Maria Girouard of the Penobscot Nation — a frequent guest on WERU’s “Wabanaki Windows”—was a guest speaker at the Bucksport Town Council meeting. Bucksport is one of the towns along the river that have signed on as intervenors, but it became clear at the meeting that the council was very open to learning more. John Greenman attended and recorded the meeting, and we bring you there today. One more note before we get started, about a name you’ll hear mentioned a few times. Matt Manahan is an attorney for Pierce Atwood, the law firm representing the interveners. He’s also the author of an August 2012 article in the Bangor Daily News in which he said the Penobscot Nation had “endless Federal resources” and warned readers of dire consequences should they win their lawsuit, including: “What does it mean for you if the Penobscots prevail? They will regulate your hunting, trapping and fishing on the river. They will regulate municipal and other discharges into the river and some of its branches and tributaries, even though such discharges are already carefully controlled by the state and federal governments. If you live in a town that borders the river and thought your town ran to the middle of the river in accordance with Maine law — surprise! If you paddle, fish or otherwise use the Penobscot River in any way, you will now confront a new regulator telling you what you can or can’t do and how much it will cost you to do it. And, unlike state regulators, the Penobscots won’t even be obligated to listen to your concerns about the impact of their regulations; you will have no control or influence over those regulations. The Penobscots have even announced they intend to close the river to trapping and require a permit to access the river for any reason, making it their exclusive domain.” Manahan’s article concluded “There’s no question the history of the treatment of Indians in this country includes tragic episodes of overwhelming resources used to renege on commitments previously made. It’s ironic the same scenario is happening again, with roles reversed.” (bangordailynews.com/2014/08/06/opinion/contributors/role-reversal-how-the-penobscot-nation-is-suing-maine-and-has-the-upper-hand/)
    As you’ll hear, Maria Giroaurd and others strongly disagree with his portrayal

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Orono Council Committee Votes to Withdraw from Penobscot Nation v Mills

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) On March 16th, the Orono Town Council’s Community Development Committee, which contains all members of the council, voted unanimously to instruct the town manager to draw up an order to formally withdraw Orono from Penobscot Nation v Mills. This case concerns the
    Penobscot Nation’s jurisdiction to monitor their sustenance fishing waters, a status without issue until August 8th, 2012, when then Attorney General 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.” The Penobscot Nation is now suing the state in Federal Curt

    b) The state of Maine’s attorney, Matt Manahan from law firm Pierce Atwood, joined a consortium of 18 towns and corporations to the case, as intervenors for the state. These 18 are waste water dischargers on the river, though the case is not about pollution discharges, and many of these entities would not be effected if it were.

    c) A movement opposing Orono’s involvement developed when town residents were surprised to discover Orono’s involvement. Inquires showed none of Orono’s town councilors knew of the town’s involvement either.

    Today we listen to both councilors and the public at the Orono Town Council’s public meeting on March 16th.

    We also hear reactions from Orono organizer and resident Cheryl Robertson.

    *Note: On April 1st Orono formerly files to withdraw from Penobscot Nation v Mills.

    Guests:

    A) Orono Town Council members (Mark Haggerty,Geoffrey Gordon, Tom Perry, Tom Sptiz, Sam Kunz) and Orono Town Manager Sophie Wilson

    B) public testimony : Claudia Lawd, Eric Maynard,Maria Girouard, Kathy Pollard, Nancy Prisk, John Banks

    C) Rep. Ryan Tipping-Spitz

    D)Cheryl Roberston, Orono resident

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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

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