Archives for Searsport

Coastal Conversations 1/25/19 (web only) & 1/31/19

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Note: Because of storm-related power outages in the area, Coastal Conversation aired only via live stream on it’s usual air date, 1/25/19. It was rebroadcast on 1/31/19.

Maine coastal and ocean issues: The Maine Ocean School

Key Discussion Points:
-Interviews with students, faculty and board members at the Maine Ocean School, a new public magnet school based in Searsport with a mission to provide a theme-based high school education focused on the ocean.
-Students talk about their aspirations for the future and how the Ocean School will help them get there.
-Founders talk about how this unique educational model came about with support from marine industry members from throughout the state.
-Teachers talk about the school’s innovative curriculum.


The 12 students of the Maine Ocean School‘s inaugural class
Leslie Gregroy, Lead Teacher, Maine Ocean School
Meg Begley, Teacher, Maine Ocean School
James Gillway,school founder and chairman of the Maine Ocean School Foundation Searsport Town Manager, State Representative
Gayle Zydlewski, member of the board of trustees of the Maine Ocean School
University of Maine Associate Professor of Marine Sciences and Director of Maine Sea Grant
Almon D. (Bud) Rivers, member of the board of trustees, Maine Ocean School Searsport Emergency Management Director

WERU News Report 7/29/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

Attorney Kim Ervin Tucker joins us today with all the latest news on the proposed dredging project in Searsport Harbor, including an important deadline coming up next week for anyone who would like to be involved as an intervenor.

For more information about becoming an intervenor:

FMI re the “Dawson Alternative”:

Special thanks to Ron Huber for allowing us to use audio clips he recorded at the 7/16/15 BEP meeting. To hear more visit his website:

WERU News Report 6/10/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

The Maine Department of Marine Resources Public Hearing on the Controversial Searsport Harbor Dredging Project

The auditorium of Searsport District High school last night was a sea of red shirts, worn by lobstermen and their supporters at a public hearing on the controversial Searsport harbor dredging project. Every person who spoke was opposed to the Army Corps of Engineer’s plan to dredge nearly a million cubic yards of material from the harbor and dump it near Islesboro. The public hearing was held by the Maine Department of Marine Resources who will advise the Department of Environmental Protection about potential impacts on the fisheries. Before the public spoke, the DMR staff explained the limited scope of the meeting and gave a brief overview of the proposal. We hear from them and from members of the public — including lobstermen and scientists — who spoke at the hearing.

FMI re the “Dawson Alternative”:

WERU News Report 6/3/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

An update on the controversial Searsport Harbor dredging project

The Department of Marine Resources is holding a public hearing next week (Tuesday 6/9/15, 6pm at Searsport District High School) focused on the fisheries impacts of the proposal to dredge nearly a million cubic yards of possibly contaminated silt from Searsport Harbor and dump it elsewhere in Penobscot Bay.

Additionally, attorney Kim Tucker (our guest today) has submitted a formal request for the Board of Environmental Protection to take over jurisdiction on the project. She represents the Maine Lobstering Union; the Lincolnville Lobstermen’s Association (including all licensed lobstermen and their sternmen who fish from Lincolnville, Maine); the Pemaquid Mussel Farm (“PMF”), located off Northport on land leased for cultivation of mussels; the Sierra Club of Maine (“Sierra Club”); the citizens and small business owners from the Searsport area known and incorporated as “Thanks But No Tank” (“TBNT”); as well as Armindy McFadden, co-owner and lease holder of the PMF off Northport, and a seaweed cultivation license holder and harvester off Searsport; and Mike Hutchings, western Penobscot Bay lobsterman, Zone D Lobster Council member from District 10 and the Lincolnville Harbor Master.

The rationale for this Army Corps of Engineers project is that the shipping channel needs to be expanded in order to increase commerce in the area – an assertion that opponents reject.
The location of the proposed dredging is in close proximity to an area that has been closed to lobstering and shell fishing because of mercury contamination, and testing for a nearby private dredging project found levels of heavy metals and other toxins that were several times about the acceptable limits. While proponents of the project claim that their own testing proves that the materials to be dredged are clean, their methods have been called into question by a scientist specializing in this type of testing who did a thorough review of their work.

The projected economic impacts of the project have also been called into question. Those who are promoting the project say increasing the depth of the shipping channel is necessary in order to allow larger commercial vessels to enter the port. They say that increased oil tanker traffic will lead to result in lower energy costs and that increased traffic in general will be a boon to the local economy. But many people who make their living on the bay are skeptical about the projected increase in shipping traffic. They have also expressed fears that the project jeopardizes an already booming local fishery and the tourism industry – all for the benefit of large multinational companies. The estimated $13 million dollar tab for the project would be paid by tax payers.

WERU News Report 2/18/15

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

Segment 1: WERU board votes to divest from fossil fuels, moving to a “socially-responsible” investment fund. WERU General Manager Matt Murphy and Board President John Greenman join us with the details.

Segment 2: A new report from Naomi Schalit of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, that will give you a clear idea of what you’re up against when you try to have some influence over your state legislators. Can you compete with the luxury resort stay and steak dinners offered by Time Warner?
(Full report:

Segment 3: Latest news on some of the threats to Penobscot Bay, as well as plans for developing a Bay Keeper position with guests Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay and Sheila Dassatt, Executive Director of the Downeast Lobstermen’s Association. We open the phone lines for listener calls. FMI: &

WERU News Report 1/28/15

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

Interactive news report covering issues with a local connection and taking calls. Today: Many Searsport veterans of the successful fight against a massive LPG tank in that town had just started a process of coming together with other residents to look at what kinds of economic development they DO want in town, when suddenly they found themselves faced with another proposed development that is raising alarms. We’ll be getting all the latest on that with our guests in the studio (Peter Taber and Harlan McLaughlin) and taking your calls as well. Before we start on that topic though, we want to take you to the University of Maine Trustee’s meeting on Monday where they made history by becoming the first land grant university system to vote to divest from coal.

WERU News Report 1/21/15

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

Interactive news report covering issues with a local connection and taking calls. Today: Marking the 5th anniversary of “Citizens United” by talking with Jan Carpenter of “We The People Maine” and State Representative Ralph Chapman, about the progress of efforts to overturn that Supreme Court decision —which equated money with free speech and corporations with people. And the latest potential threat to Searsport Harbor may come from a company that’s run into a lot of trouble with their operations in New Hampshire. We’ve got Searsport resident Peter Taber with us to talk about that. John Greenman has news from last night’s wind power moratorium vote in Orland. Also a call Oamshri Amarasingham of the ACLU Maine, about the Coalition for Maine Women the Maine Choice Coalition announcement of their legislative priorities at a State House press conference today. AND we’re going to be opening the phone lines for your calls because this is INTERACTIVE news.

WERU News Report 12/9/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Department of Marine Resources held a public hearing in Searsport last night on a proposal for maintanence dredging at the Sprague Energy docks in that town. As we’ve reported previously, testing that was done last year near the Sprague piers found high levels– many above reporting limits–of a large variety of contaminants and known carcinogens including pesticides, heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In addition, Dr. Kevin Yeager, an independent scientist hired by the federal court in the Holtrachem mercury case, has examined the testing that was done in this case, and raised concerns that it was inadequate. The DMR will report any concerns about impacts on the fisheries to the Department of Environmental Resources. Today on the News Report, we bring you to last night’s hearing: