June 20, 2019  
   You are here:  Home    
Protect Maine waters, Sep 20
Protect Maine waters, Sep 20
We need your help to ensure Maine’s rivers and streams receive the protection they deserve.

Please attend a Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) hearing on Thursday, September 20 at 1:00 p.m. to testify in support of protecting Maine’s clean water! The hearing is at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

For the first time in almost 10 years (it’s supposed to happen every three years), Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing to upgrade water quality protections for hundreds of miles of Maine’s rivers and streams. The most remarkable proposals concern Maine’s largest river, the Penobscot. They reflect great gains in water quality that years of detailed monitoring demonstrates. The proposed upgrades are long overdue.

The proposals for the Penobscot River would:

• Upgrade the West Branch from the Millinocket area to Medway from Class C to Class B;
• Upgrade the Penobscot main stem from Medway to the confluence with the Mattawamkeag River in Mattawamkeag from Class C to Class B; and
• Require that the main stem of the river below Milford remain free-flowing to reflect the huge boost to the health of the river from the recently completed (in 2016) successful 15-year Penobscot restoration project.

Key points in support of the Penobscot upgrades:

• Moving from Class C to Class B is a substantial increase in water quality protection, and the upgrade proposals for the Penobscot are overdue. When a river or stream receives an upgrade, its legal classification, and all of the protections associated with that classification, go up. Maine’s rivers and streams have four classifications: C, B, A, and AA. AA is the highest.

• DEP’s computer modeling shows that even if major new industry moves to the Millinocket area and needs to discharge treated waste, downstream stretches of the West Branch and main stem would still meet Class B standards.

• Class B strikes the right balance, allowing new industrial development that respects Maine’s clean water and the countless people who work on, recreate on, and draw sustenance from the Penobscot. Maine does not need new industry that pollutes the old-fashioned way!

• Sea-run fish like alewives and shad are returning in huge numbers after the removals of the Veazie and Great Works dams. Maine needs to protect and capitalize on the enormous investment (about $60 million) of public and private funds in the Penobscot restoration by requiring that the river stay free-flowing below the Milford Dam. Keeping this segment of the river free-flowing will support and grow Maine’s natural resource-based economy, boosting commercial fishing, sport fishing (people are catching shad where the fish hadn’t been found for more than 100 years!), and outdoor recreation.

Eventually the Maine Legislature will have to approve DEP’s proposed upgrades, but the first step in the reclassification process is the BEP hearing on Thursday, September 20 at 1:00 p.m. The hearing is at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The BEP decides on what water bodies to recommend to the Legislature for upgrade.

We need you to show your support for the upgrades of the Penobscot and all of the other water bodies in DEP’s proposal, including upgrades to 200 miles of tributaries to Webb Lake near Tumbledown Mountain; 44 miles of Wesserunsett Stream near Athens; 10 miles of the west branch of the Mattawamkeag near Island Falls; and 25 miles of Fish Stream near Patten.

We do expect opposition, especially in the Penobscot watershed, from some interests who wish to retain the ability to pollute at historically high levels. Please don’t let these voices win the day! Come to the September 20th hearing in Bangor. I hope to see you there.


Nick Bennett
NRCM Staff Scientist

Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2018 (Archive on Saturday, October 13, 2018)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

Copyright © 2009-2019 Maine Environmental News
Terms Of Use Privacy Statement
Home|About|Links|Submit Content|Search|Contact