Bangor Daily News, May 2007
Prisons, Garbage, Pesticides, and More
by Nancy Oden
"Economic development, " indeed! Washington County is treated like a Third-World country. That is, stripping and extracting natural resources, along with poisoning the land and waters-and thereby poisoning all creatures who live here--are what opportunistic self-servers call "economic development" for Washington County.
Here are current and proposed so-called "economic development" projects for Washington County:
- a large prison to bring in prisoners for private profit (we've put in a counter-proposal to help our young people with rehabilitation, see BDN story May 19, go to www.cleanearth.net to read it);
- a large dump for other people's toxic trash in Township 14, some of which has been coming into Washington County for years, including from Canada (we're counter-proposing recycling, composting, re-using materials to lower tipping fees);
- LNG terminals, which would ruin the area and bring in huge ships full of explosive gas to be piped to cities, not to us (we're counter-proposing wind, solar, tidal energy, and eco-tourism);
- an expensive, DOT boondoggle bridge which should have been built in a straight line farther North instead of taking people's homes for a roundabout, an overpass, and extensive roadwork through the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, which will disturb the eagle's nest on Route 1;
- clearcutting of woods by (1) tree-burning incinerators which sell electricity to cities, (2) paper companies, (3) wreath-makers who then spray poisons to kill hardwoods we need for firewood and building materials, not to mention wildlife habitat, and (4) greedy, strip-and-run logging companies;
- poisoning of Washington and Hancock counties with aerial pesticide spraying on so-called "wild" blueberries, which drifts poisons onto our children, wildlife, organic gardens, domestic animals, and anyone out of doors.
- Pesticides are a primary agent in the death of honeybees, so crucial for food production. This poisoning of Nature, going on today as I write, will continue into July.
- DOT having our railroad tracks, which belong to the people of Maine, torn up and sold for salvage. A "rails to trails" group wants to take over our railroad beds for snowmobiles and 4-wheelers. Some of these people have suggested the "trail," which runs right along Route 1 and through some woods, should ban hikers, people on bicycles, and horseback riders. They say people walking or bicycling or riding horseback might get in the way of snowmobiles and four-wheelers, as if the loud, noisy machines owned the people's right of way on our railroad tracks.
Stunningly stupid as it seems, they are serious since, they say, walkers, bicyclers, and horseback riders complaining about machines running them off the trail might complain, which might make the machines slow down.
- Proposing casinos or racinos which don't mean good, productive work, only money pouring in for the sponsors, who don't even want the gambling dens on their own properties, but would put them somewhere about 50 miles out in other people's backyards. Gambling dens aren't about jobs; they're about raking money off the top without doing much work;
- DOT involvement again: a jetport proposal for a totally wrong place, and without coming up with a single entity which would actually use it (we've proposed alternative places, even though we still don't need another airport, since we have Trenton Airport to the South and Princeton Airport to the North, both of which accept jets now);
So, is this "economic development," or is it self-serving on the part of some State bureaucrats and the same "good old boys" crowd? You decide.
Better to expend our energies saving our natural beauty and natural resources, rather than letting opportunistic self-servers destroy what's left.
We need to change society's (actually, corporate) priorities from "anything for money" to "what's the best way to solve this problem" and then figure out how to do what's best, what's right, without considering who's going to get rich.
If we keep on this path, we'll get where we're going. None of us will like that future.
We can slow down climate catastrophes, but only if you and you and you speak out and keep speaking out until we get it right.
Please enter the fray against corporations' creed of "money over all." Either We, the People, take over and start making good decisions, or we will get where we're going - faster than anyone thought.
Nancy Oden of Jonesboro, is coordinator of Clean Water Coalition.