SEARS ISLAND PORT PROPOSAL 1995
US Army Corps of Engineers memos 10/20/95 to 10/24/95 discussing federal discontent with the quality of the reports sent to them by Maine's DIFW and DMR about the Sears Island port plan.
Author: WILLIAM F LAWLESS at REGULATORY
Date: 10/20/95 3:00 PM
I spoke with Rob Elder, ME port director, this afternoon. He does not see the need for a conference call with ME governor's office at this time, but would want to set something up later.
The meeting next Tues is still on with dept heads, Chris and myself, to explore John Devillar's idea of out of kind mitigation as a component of the solution. That will be the only subject. The confrontation between state resource staff and Fed resource staff will be avoided. (we received very critical letters today from the ME Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the ME Dept of Marine Resources - taking issue with Federal resource agencies' descriptions of resources and impacts on Sears Island).
A separate meeting will be scheduled so that FHWA and the Corps can hear the technical points of disagreement between state and federal scientists.
Subject: Re: Searsport
From: MICHAEL BRADBURY at CENED EXEC COUNSEL
Date: 10/24/95 7:32 TM
Thanks for msg. I'm sending a copy of this to Chris also to let you both know I am receiving CCMail (for some unk reason I didn't get her Fri update for COL R, plus Mon's fwd'd copy, until Mon AM).
Also, could you have Susan FAX me copies of the State resource agencies' letters (x2), assuming they aren't excessive in length?
From: WILLIAM F LAWLESS
Subject: Re: Searsport
10/24/95 8:09 AM
BRADBURY at CENED—EXECCOUNSEL
cc: CHRISTINE A GODFREY
cc: WILLIAM F LAWLESS
will fax state letters this morning. Chris feels there are some untrue statements in there such as shellfish mitigation - which has not worked.
The state aagencies make a case for Sears Island not being unique and for the fact that Maine has many islands with similar resources. We do not argue with this. However, we do not need to claim uniqueness to determine significance.
The argument that the loss is only a small part of what exists was rejected by Corps and EPA headquarters very early in the program (1970s). Wetlands and other important aquatic resources were being lost nationwide by the cumulative effect of filling, often very small fills at a time. The Clean Water Act as defined by the courts, Corps and EPA seeks to stop unnecessary fills regardless of how many aquatic resources still exist in the state or area.
To follow what the State of Maine suggests with regard to wharf fill, the State's inability to bear reasonable project costs, intertidal fill, and jumping pre-maturely to out of kind mitigation such as river fisheries enhancement would require a major redefinition of Clean Water Act implementation by both Corps and EPA headquarters, likely requiring rulemaking!