Archives for Searsport

WERU News Report 10/8/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The site of the GAC Chemical plant on the shoreline in Searsport has been the location of chemical & fertilizer
companies dating back to the early 1900s. The beach is littered with relics of the industrial past, but little was
known about what toxic legacy was left behind — until local residents, tired of refusals from state and federal
agencies, took matters into their own hands. In recent days news broke that DEP may be stepping in — but can they be counted on to conduct a full assessment? We talk with Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay; Sheila Dassatt, Executive Director of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association; Nick Seeger, Friends of Penobscot Bay.

(Photos that accompany this story can be found on the WERU facebook page: www.facebook.com/werufm )

WERU News Report 8/27/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

We check in with Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay, for an update on that group’s efforts to determine what was left behind on the shoreline near GAC chemical in Searsport, by generations of industry there. We also talk with DEP spokesperson Jessamine Logan for a response to Huber’s allegations that a FOAA records request to the agency did not yield requested phone records.

WERU News Report 8/27/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

We check in with Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay, for an update on that group’s efforts to determine what was left behind on the shoreline near GAC chemical in Searsport, by generations of industry there. We also talk with DEP spokesperson Jessamine Logan for a response to Huber’s allegations that a FOAA records request to the agency did not yield requested phone records.

WERU News Report 8/26/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Rebroadcast of a segment of the WERU Special on the Searsport dredging controversy that originally aired at 10am on 8/25/14

WERU Special 8/25/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: Joel Mann

The US Army Corps of Engineers and Maine DOT are proposing a dredging project in Searsport Harbor that would result in nearly a million cubic yards of materials being dumped in Penobscot Bay near Islesboro. The project would deepen and widen the shipping channel. Supporters say that would improve commerce in the port, but opponents say the economic and environmental risks far outweigh any potential benefits.

Joining me in the studio today are Joel Pitcher of the Maine Lobstering Union, and attorney Kim Tucker. She represents the Maine Lobstering Union, Pemaquid Muscle Farm, and the Sierra Club of Maine as well as some individual members of the Zone D lobster council. The program also features excerpts from an interview with Dr. Kevin Yeager- an independent scientist who previously worked on the Holtrachem/Mallinkrodt mercury case in the federal court system. He is the author of a new report that raises serious concerns about the plan– among them the possibility that inert mercury in the sediment may be converted to a more toxic form and make its way into the food chain in Penobscot Bay. He also criticizes the methology the Army Corps used in their sediment sampling.

WERU News Report 7/16/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Today we’re talking with Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay, about that group’s efforts to enlist the assistance of state and federal environmental protection agencies to help access the impact of decades of chemicals and fertilizer companies on the shoreline at Kidder Point in Searsport.

FMI: www.penbay.net/ and penobscotbay.blogspot.com/

WERU News Report 5/6/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Continuing with our on-going coverage of the Searsport dredge and dump controversy, today we hear the impressions of Penobscot bay lobstermen and people who work in the shell fish industry, following a private presentation by state and federal officials, organized by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association

WERU News Report 4/9/14 -special hour long edition

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributing producer: Matt Murphy

Segment 1: A standing-room-only crowd packed into an informational meeting at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast yesterday to hear details about the US Army Corps of Engineers and Maine DOT plans to dredge Searsport Harbor. The proposal is to deepen the channel near Mack Point to 40 feet, from the current 35, and to dump the sediment—nearly a million cubic yards of it — into Penobscot Bay.
Supporters say the depth needs to be expanded to 40 feet to accommodate larger ships and increase shipping traffic. Opponents have pointed out that Portland harbor is the same depth as Searsport currently, and does a great deal of business, and that there is already a deep water port in Eastport.
Most of the opponents of expansion dredging have voiced support of routine maintenance dredging, but there is concern about dumping of the sediment, which would most likely be done off the coast of Islesboro. While the ACoE recently stated that the materials are clean, and would not pose a risk to the fisheries in the bay, recent testing of the sediment near the adjacent docks has revealed a long list of heavy metals, carcinogens and endocrine disrupters – many present in levels severals times above the reportable limits.
After a slide presentation, which can be viewed on the Army Corps of Engineers website, the public was given an opportunity to direct comments and questions to representatives from the agencies at yesterday’s meeting. Today, in the special extended version of the WERU News Report, we’re bringing you some of the questions and comments, and the response from the reps from the state and federal agencies present. All but one person who spoke expressed concerns about the proposal, and the room was a sea of red shirts, worn to indicate solidarity with the lobstermen’s unions that have come out in opposition to the plan:

Segment 2: Matt Murphy with a report on efforts to raise funds for work against human trafficking – an interview with musician Peter Alexander