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I-95 Banners Protest Plum Creek Easements
March 17, 2009, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Plum Creek

For Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36447937@N07/

I-95 Banners Protest Plum Creek Easements.
March 17th
Augusta, ME- Early this morning, members of the rural environmental
movement, Maine Earth First displayed hand-painted banners urging
morning commuters to oppose Plum Creek’s controversial “conservation”
easement as it was proposed to the Land Use Regulatory Commission
(LURC), earlier this month. Maine Earth First hung the banners, which
read, “TELL LURC: PLUM CREEK EASEMENT IS A SHAM!” from the overpasses
of Western Avenue in Augusta, and over Western Avenue in Waterville.

Banner Hang

The proposed easements are a part of the Plum Creek Company’s plan to
develop 400,000 acres of land around Moosehead Lake into summer
resorts. According to Plum Creek, the “conservation” easements would
offset any harm done by the proposed developments, but many Mainers
are skeptical. “As it is written now, the wording would allow septic
sludge spreading-up to 100 acres at a time, road building, cell phone
tower construction, construction of high-voltage power lines,
aggregate quarrying, herbicide spraying, and heavy logging all on the
land the easement is supposed to conserve,” said Earth First member
Liam Burnell, “We can’t let them bulldoze the North Woods and call it
conservation!”

In 2006, Plum Creek received the largest fine in Maine history under
the Maine Forest Practices Act for major destruction of deer wintering
yards and damage to bodies of water in the Moosehead region. In fall
2008, Plum Creek cuts resulted in massive erosion and a mud-slide in
Kibby Township. Only months later, after local people brought their
concerns to the media, Plum Creek admitted to cutting more deer
wintering yards in Indian Stream Township, land which could be part of
the conservation easement. The chair of the Sustainable Forestry
Initiative certification program, or SFI, is Plum Creek President Rick
Holley. It may not be a surprise then that all of Plum Creek’s
forestry practices, including the illegal dear yard cuts are certified
as sustainable by SFI Inc.

Plum Creek’s proposed conservation easement has also gotten a green
stamp of approval from the Nature Conservancy who plans to purchase
the easement if it passes. The Nature Conservancy is the wealthiest
environmental group in the nation, and a huge recipient of Plum Creek
donations. On March 4th Earth Firsters hung a banner in the Nature
Conservancy offices in Brunswick in an attempt to highlight the
financial connections between the two organizations, and criticize the
Nature Conservancy for their role in deceiving the public about Plum
Creek’s development plans. “The Nature Conservancy is helping to
write, and then paying an enormous sum of money for what? A
conservation easement that allows Plum Creek to keep clearcutting,
building roads, and spraying poisons in the alleged conservation area
of the North Woods,” commented Noah Dillard, a local activist, “We
need to let LURC know that the conservation easement is nothing but a
sham that will allow Plum Creek to continue destroying the North Woods!”

The full wording of the proposed conservation easements is available
for the public to read on the web at:
http://www.maine.gov/doc/lurc/review/PlumCreek/LURC_ConceptPlanDraft_2009-03-02/

LURC will be accepting public comments about the proposal until April
4th. Comments can be sent to: Land Use Regulation Commission, 22
State House Station, Augusta 04333-0022. Comments also may be e-mailed
to LURC@maine.gov.

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