FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 13 NOON
Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC) 18 Elkins Lane – Harlow Building 22 State
House Station Augusta, Maine 04333-0022
For More Information Contact: Logan Perkins – 207-615-5158
Hoopla for the North Woods
Maine Earth First! says No More Games
Bold Protest Urges LURC to Reject Massive Plum Creek Development Plan
Augusta, ME – In a bold stunt today, a dozen people affiliated with Maine Earth First!, protested at the LURC office in Augusta. One woman suspended herself 35 feet in the air from a giant tripod made of wooden poles, while others hula-hooped on the ground below her. Under the banner “LURC: Do the right thing! No Development! Plum Creek can’t buy ME” the concerned citizens gathered to make it clear that the only responsible decision is for LURC to reject Plum Creek’s entire plan. Maine Earth First! is an all-volunteer group of Maine citizens working toward the protection of all remaining wild places in Maine as sources of biodiversity, climate stability and cultural heritage.
“The public has spoken and clearly told LURC to reject this destructive proposal.” said Meg Gilmartin from the top of the tripod. “The future of Maine is in their hands and they will be held responsible for the decisions they make for generations to come. Today’s protest should put LURC on notice that their complicity in the destruction of the largest undeveloped area east of the Mississippi will not be tolerated.”
Plum Creek’s Concept Plan proposes to rezone 20,000 acres, an area roughly the size of Portland, for development as part of its Moosehead Lake Concept Plan. The plan includes 90,000 acres of conservation easements to satisfy the Land Use Regulatory Commission’s (LURC) requirement for a conservation balance. An additional 266,000 acres worth ofdevelopment rights on Plum Creek land will be sold to The Nature Conservancy and The Appalachian Mountain Club for $35 million. This conservation is being hailed by many as an unprecedented opportunity to protect a large tract of land in Northern Maine, however, the conservation easements only prevent further development. They do not prevent gravel mining, spreading of sewage sludge, commercial water extraction, socalled”sustainable forestry,” or other extractive activities.
The debate around Plum Creek’s plan has focused in recent months on the future of Lily Bay, slated for a large resort development in the proposal. The Natural Resources Council of Maine and other large environmental organizations have focused their opposition to the plan primarily on protecting the pristine land around Lily Bay. Even these limited efforts have not been successful despite huge public opposition to the development in Lily Bay. When LURC released its recommendations in June, downsizing the number of acres slated for development in Lily Bay, but not decreasing the total number of residences, they were flooded with public comment urging the Commission to reconsider its position on Lily Bay. The protesters in front of LURC today, however are notstaking their opposition on just Lily Bay. “We feel that the scope of the debate has been narrowed to soon by those who would bargain away the North Woods. LURC has heard ample reasons from the people of this state to reject this plan in its entirety. This plan is a bad deal for Mainers and for the North Woods,” said Jessie Dowling, one of the hula-hoopers on the ground below the tripod.
“What LURC has before it now, is an application to extend rampant development, habitat destruction, climate change and mass extinction into one of the most pristine undeveloped areas in the country. The stakes for this type of development are incredibly high. LURC has in its sights a historic and incredibly significant decision to make, and I hope they do the right thing,” said Dowling.