Maine: The Way Life Could Be 6/7/22: The “Water, Water Everywhere, But…” edition

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne

This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission

Welcome to this edition of Maine: The Way Life Could Be, a series in which we look at challenges and opportunities facing Maine in the lifetimes of people alive today.

Today, we focus on water. Water is a very big topic, especially for a coastal state like Maine. As we look ahead, we need to take into account possible changes to seawater, surface freshwater, and groundwater and their effects on life in the state. That is a lot to cover and we can’t go into great detail but we can provide an overview of things we may all need to think about as we look forward to our lives here in Maine.

We do that by reporting on existing research about water issues that are already becoming visible – and that will certainly be even bigger issues in our future. Later in the program, we will also be talking with people who are, in different ways, on the front lines of some major current water issues that may be even bigger in our common future.


Nickie Sekera lives in Fryeburg, Maine and hears tractor trailers loaded with water extracted from wells in her town passing her house as they haul that water out of state. That experience has motivated her to become knowledgeable about Maine’s laws and about corporate large scale extraction from Maine’s groundwater. She is the cofounder of Community Water Justice She also works with the Sunlight Media Collective, reporting on related topics, especially those that impact indigenous communities.

Former State Representative Ralph Chapman is a materials scientist who has studied the effects of mineral mining in Maine historically, and some of the mineral mining activities being proposed today and tomorrow here in Maine. He worked on legislation that would have to addressed some of the shortcomings he identifies in Maine’s mining rules revision while he was in the legislature.

For more information:

WERU’s Dawnland Signals, hosted by Maria Girouard and Esther Ann of Wabanaki Reach, report on Safe Drinking Water for the People of Sipayik, 4/21/22

Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and Its Effects in Maine, Maine Climate Council Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, August 2020

Maine’s Climate Future, 2020 Update, Ivan Fernandez, Sean Birkel, Catherine Schmitt, Julia Simonson, Brad Lyon, Andrew Pershing, Esperanza Stancioff, George Jacobson, and Paul Mayewski. University of Maine

Maine Won’t Wait: A Four Year Plan for Climate Action, Maine Climate Council, December 2020

Maine Principles of Ownership Along Water Bodies, Maine Law Review, Knud E. Hermansen & Donald R. Richards, Maine Principles of Ownership Along Water Bodies, 47 Me. L. Rev. 35 (2018).

Notes for Talk on Groundwater Law, Peggy Bensinger, May 1, 2020 meeting of Maine’s Water Resources Planning Committee

The non-partisan Gulf of Maine Research Center

The University of Maine’s [Senator George J.] Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.