WERU Special: The Future of Sears Island 6/5/08

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Topic:  Sears Island, a 941-acre undeveloped island in Penobscot Bay, has been the focus of various development schemes for decades—and for decades there have been people who have fought to preserve the island.   But each battle ended with the long-term fate of the island still undecided.  That may all be about to change.

The Maine Department of Transportation owns the island and they have never lost sight of their goal to develop at least part of it, for a deep water shipping port.  Knowing that there would be strong opposition to such a plan, the Baldacci administration pulled together a group of stakeholders back in 2006 and asked them to come up with recommendations about possible uses for the island– by consensus.    Last year the group, called the Sears Island Planning Initiative, released a Consensus Agreement  that calls for an easement of 600 acres that will be set aside for light recreational, educational, and conservation facilities and uses, and reserves 341 acres on the west side of the island for potential port development.   A smaller committee, the Joint Use Planning Committee, has been meeting since last year to figure out the boundaries of the 2 areas and other details.

The people we have joining us in the studio today have differing opinions about the Consensus Agreement.   Should it be seen as a victory that permanently protected  2/3rds of the island or a sell-out of the other 3rd?

Guests:  Ken Cline, Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club; Peter Tabor and Harlan McLaughlin of Fair Play for Sears Island

Call in show

NOTE:  We’ll take up this topic again, and try to take some of the calls that didn’t get through this morning, on RadioActive this afternoon from 4-4:30p.m.