|Green Party of Hancock County
Are We In Control of Our Own Water Destiny?
The State of Maine and the Department of Environmental Protection have outlined regulations that protect our water supply from degrading, from toxins, from chemical or physical alterations, and from flow limitations. The primary emphasis has always been on water quality. Regulations are in place to monitor water quality to ensure that toxic substances and harmful chemicals are maintained at acceptable levels for human consumption. In addition, rivers and streams are measured to maintain flow requirements.
At present, there aren’t monitoring systems in place that predict the long term affects to our aquifers from corporate extraction of public waters to be used for resale as bottled water. Our communities aren’t currently protected from corporations taking our public resource for their private profit. The Green Party of Hancock County Water Rights Platform hopes to highlight methods of citizen initiatives to give communities control. High-yield sand and gravel aquifers, like those in our loyal area are a unique and limited resource. They generally contain very clean water, and this water can be extracted from these aquifers at very high rates. Because the rate of recharge to these aquifers is very high, they are also particularly vulnerable to contamination.
Unfortunately for towns like Fryeburg, Nestle (Poland Springs) had installed its operation before the community was able to enact an ordinance that would have prevented the extraction of water from their town. Towns like Shapley and Newfield quickly learned from that lesson and have thus far avoided corporations like Nestles from setting up shop in their communities.
With Nestles having drilled test wells all over the state, a dozen or so bills have been written for our state legislature hoping to limit future extraction of water by large corporations. Opposition to these restrictions have pitted Nestles theme of potential job creation over the future of our water resource.
An Ordinance is a law enacted by a local government. In small towns, we live and breathe these regulations.
Before a large corporation buys land and begins daily extraction of huge volumes of water in a Hancock County community, we are outlining a method for prohibiting those efforts. The mechanisms by which residents can preclude the mass extraction of water from their aquifers are by enacting ordinances.
Like any law, writing an ordinance means complying with a specific form and language. But town officials are familiar with these details and if the ordinance is to be “citizen based” the learning curve to create one isn’t all that difficult. Town councils can adopt a moratorium to allow time for an ordinance to be written. However, without such laws, our cities and towns are at the mercy of developers.
Here are links to a few towns whose neighbors’ water rights have been abused and had the forethought to develop ordinances that prevent the same fate happening to their communities.
We’ve provided the following links to begin those investigations.
SOH2O (Save Our Water): A Maine based organization which support those communities which have already been devasted by Nestles (Poland Springs Water) extracting water from their community aquifers. http://soh2o.org/
Maine Green Party Water Rights Platform: (click – policy positions)
Sand and Gravel Aquifer Maps:
For specific questions re: Aquifers: Aquifers
Notary Town Meeting Regulations (citizen call for a town meeting):
Not In My Back Yard.
If all politics are local, how do you build a sense of a broader community? What happens to empathy and compassion for the guy down the road? And how do we make the connection that what harms our neighbors will ultimately harm us?
This issue of the Green Party of Hancock County newsletter is dedicated to water. Whether or not you are currently experiencing issues in your community over water rights or quality, there are definite problems in Hancock County. This is perhaps the most critical global issue we will face in the near future.
Imagine a world in which water becomes as prized a commodity as oil. Without the forethought to protect this natural resource, it could very well wind up in the hands of large corporations who drain our aquifers in order to sell our water to the highest bidders. Seems far off? Right now some bottled water sells for more than oil. What would prices look like if that resource becomes scare. Chants of Drill Baby Drill replaced by Pump Baby Pump.
Whether or not you are a member of the Green Party, it is important to support Green Party efforts to highlight concerns like these, bring to light abuses, and present solutions. Over the next few years, this state is going to be challenged in determining long-term policy. We hope this newsletter makes those issues clearer and delineates candidates by investigating the issues they support.
Help this newsletter survive
We asked the Koch brothers to fund us for our initial year – about $250 – but they declined. So, we are left with ourselves. We’d like to build a base subscriber list of 2,000 families in Hancock County to receive this letter each month. We currently send it out to about 250 homes. If each of the current subscribers simply chucked in $1, we’d be set for this year. Please consider sending us that dollar (or more). Send it to:
Ant Blasi, Chair
PO Box 53
Hancock, Maine 04640
We will post all “Sponsors” in all future newsletters. If you’d like to remain anonymous simply note that.
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of Hancock County
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Register to vote for the Green Independent Party at your town or city hall. The Green Party is Maine’s major political party that allows us to elect people who are committed to sustainable environmentalism thru Clean Election Campaigns.
Check out town meeting on your cable channel and/or attend meetings.
Call your town/city hall to get time and agenda.
It’s your town too!
by Roberty Shetterly
A Green Force of Nature
Pat Lamarche is a force of nature — quick, acerbic, funny, outraged, compassionate. She talks and tells stories — historical, anecdotal, and political — almost faster than one can hear. A Maine native who ran for governor of Maine in 1998,and was the Green Party’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2004. She is now head of community affairs for the Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It would be hard to imagine a better advocate for the homeless or a more trenchant critic of poverty and its causes in America. At the Blue Hill Library on the evening of June 9th Pat talked and answered questions about policy regarding the homeless. She decried the stupidity and incompetence of people and systems set up to serve the homeless as being insensitive and often cruel and humiliating — systems that blame and punish the victims, systems that talk about providing “services” when they should be providing necessities. Competent systems, she said, would be run by people who had been homeless themselves, understand the merciless degradation, and who would advocate for the primary solutions: affordable housing, a living wage, universal health care, and better education. A compassionate, just society, she said, would not allow homelessness to exist because it would have its priorities straight — it would not be spending more money every five days on war than it has spent in 50 years for the Peace Corps. Like so many of the deep problems in this society, the answers are obvious, fair, and less expensive than what’s being done now.
Pat is the author of Left Out in America: The State of Homelessness in the United States, Upala Press, 2006, Portland, Maine. She writes regularly for the Huffington Post on poverty and homelessness, and also writes a weekly political column for the Bangor Daily News.
This Op Ed was contributed by Robert Shetterly. Robert Shetterly lives, with his partner Gail Page, also a painter, in Brooksville, Maine.
Design the logo for the masthead of the
Green Party of Hancock E-newsletter.
Winning entries will be featured over the next year. Simply design a logo, include the copy – Green Party of Hancock County, and send it to us. Winners will be listed in the next issue.
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Late Breaking News
Congratulations to the
Town of Sullivan for choosing a conservation model when designing the new public access waterfront area.
This waterfront is located in lower Taunten Bay, just north of the Route One Sullivan Bridge,
A response to our article on
vernal pool legislation
The Legislature voted to support slight tweaks to the current law without weakening protections to our habitat. I was happy to join all of my colleagues in supporting LD 1031, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
Senator Brian Langley
3 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0003
Notwithstanding my status as a card carrying Dem activist, committed to re-electing Pres. Obama and overturning the right wing majority in the House, I was pleased and impressed with the recent Green Party newsletter and the clarity it brought to the destructive environmental agenda of Maine’s governor LePage.
The Green Party’s assertion that the governor’s view of Maine is “diametrically opposed” to that of the people of Maine, was unequivocably illustrated by specific examples and details. I was educated on the spot by the dissection of LePage’s views on land use, pesticides, the protection of our waterways and building and energy codes, and the explanation of how each of them is counter to the views of the majority of Maine’s citizens.
My congratulations on a job well done.
Maine AllCare Report from Brooklin Green
Real health care reform, as opposed to the financial products offered by insurance companies, continues to simmer here in Maine, as well as around the nation. Early in May, Representative Charlie Priest (D- Brunswick) introduced LD 1397, a single payer health care bill. LD 1397 provided universal access to a comprehensive set of health care services by all Maine residents. Two of its key components included the separation of employment from health care, and the establishment of a single, independent Trust Fund to manage the finances.
The Joint Committee on Insurance and Financial Services received testimony from 23 individuals and organizations, and all but two spoke in support of the bill. In spite of the many favorable testimonies offered by doctors, nurses, business people and advocates, the bill got no further than the committee hearing. Nor did it receive any recognition by the media. By contrast, LD 1333, the expansion of opportunities for health insurance companies to sell new policies without the need to meet Maine consumer regulations passed the legislature and signed by the governor without study, or significant discussion.
This rush to promote and in fact, enlarge a failed system – one that does not cover over a 130,000 Mainers while its costs are sky-rocketing year after year – shows the enormity of challenges before us.
Maine AllCare, an all-volunteer, not-for profit and non-partisan organization is working to inform and educate the Maine public and policy
makers about the need to bring universal, affordable health care to every person. If you are interested and able, please consider supporting maine AllCare.
For more information about how you can help please visit www.maineallcare.org or call Joe Lendvai at 359-8306, Chair,
Communication Committee, Maine AllCare.
The House approved (by a 76-71 final vote) a bill (LD 1416) that creates a massive loophole in Maine’s Uniform Building and Energy Code. We picked up two Republicans (Rep. Strang-Burgess and Rep. Dan Dow) from a prior 76-69 vote, but we lost three Democrats who should have been with us, leaving us just three votes short of defeating it. As a result of this frustrating defeat, all towns in Maine with a population of less than 4,000 will be exempted from the energy code designed to make sure that new homes are built to meet basic minimum energy performance standards. The result will be a patchwork (see map), where homes in 400 smaller Maine towns can be built carelessly with wastefully high energy bills, and those in larger towns will be built meeting energy standards that save homeowners money from day one. NRCM’s energy project leader Dylan Voorhees and outreach coordinator Emmie Theberge worked tirelessly to defeat LD 1416, which the Lewiston Sun Journal dubs the “Substandard Rural Housing Guarantee Act of 2011.”