WERU News Report 3/11/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributing Producer: Carolyn Coe

Segment 1:
The Maine House of Representatives voted to pass LD1252 “An Act To Improve Maine’s Economy and Energy Security with Solar and Wind Energy” by a margin of 95 to 47 earlier today. The bill will now be taken up by the Senate. (Audio from the house floor pre-vote)

Segment 2:
In other news from the state house today, cell phone labeling legislation also moved forward after lengthy debate on the house floor. LD1013 “An Act To Create the Children’s Wireless Protection Act” would require more prominent warning labels on cell phones sold in Maine, of the “health effects associated with nonthermal effects of cellular telephone radiation”. Here is some of the house debate on that issue

Segment 3:
WERU’s Carolyn Coe traveled to Washington, DC for the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference this month.
-People gathered outside the annual AIPAC conference to demonstrate against AIPAC’s support for continued illegal settlement building and the occupation of Palestine, and to call for diplomacy, not war, with Iran.
-Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, cites evidence that AIPAC’s influence in the US Congress is lessening, a little.
-The situation in Gaza remains extremely difficult. Most attempting to travel to Gaza in solidarity with Palestinians for International Women’s Day were stopped at the Cairo airport and deported.

Segment 4:
In other news, over the weekend, the members of Maine Lobstering Union – Local 207 voted unanimously to oppose the expansion dredging of Searsport Harbor. There has been a great deal of controversy—and even contradictory information—about plans to make the channel there 5 feet deeper. 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 the Army Corps of Engineers plan to dump the dredged materials elsewhere in Penobscot Bay. 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 many times above the reporting levels…