Maine Earth First!


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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Three to Pay Costs in Earth First! Protest
March 5, 2009, 12:27 am
Filed under: Plum Creek

AUGUSTA — Paying for the locksmith may be the unkindest cut of all.

Three women who chained themselves together in a state office building last fall to protest a development in northern Maine were found guilty Tuesday of committing criminal trespass and were ordered to pay the $328 bill for cutting the locks off.

The women, Emily A. Paine, 23, of Portland; Kyla A. Hersey-Wilson, of Thorndike, 27; and Megan E. Gilmartin, 25, of Searsmont, were participating in an Earth First! protest on Sept. 28, 2008, when they were arrested after refusing to leave the Land Use Regulation Commission Office building in Augusta.

A fourth female, a juvenile, was arrested, but her case was handled through the juvenile justice system, District Attorney Evert Fowle said.

The three women entered pleas of no contest to the charges and were automatically found guilty by Justice Joseph Jabar in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Charges of disorderly conduct from the same incident were dismissed.

The protesters entered the commission office building, locked themselves together with large U-shaped locks generally used to secure bicycles, and refused to leave as part of a protest against the agency’s favorable review of Plum Creek’s development plan for the Moosehead Lake region.

The judge sentenced each woman to 60 hours of community service and ordered them to split the $328 cost of getting a locksmith from Burt’s Security Center to cut the locks. Capital Security officers wanted the locks removed before the women were brought to jail.

Fowle said the three objected in court to paying that cost, telling the judge they didn’t ask to have it done.

“After they entered the commission, they locked themselves to each other at the neck with locks and they didn’t have the foresight to bring the key with them,” he said.

Fowle said the public or community service work “has to be for a nonprofit agency that does not advocate civil disobedience as one of their goals.”

From the Kennebec Journal

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Police Detain Peaceful Protesters outside of The Nature Conservancy Offices
March 4, 2009, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Plum Creek

March 4, 2009
Brunswick ME- At 10:30 Wednesday morning, members of the rural grassroots environmental movement, Maine Earth First!, were detained outside the offices of the Nature Conservancy after a peaceful dialogue. The group confronted The Nature Conservancy the day after they and Plum Creek Timber LLC submitted the latest version of their controversial Moosehead Conservation Framework to the Land Use Regulatory Commission. The group presented an ad hoc performance in the office, symbolically gagging characters in animal masks representing the local wildlife that will be adversely affected by the plan. During the skit, other members displayed banners that read, “The Nature Conservancy: Putting the “CON” in Conservation!” and “The Nature Conservancy: Masking Plum Creek’s Destruction”. The action was done in protest of The Nature Conservancy’s endorsement of Plum Creek’s logging practices.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) claims that the purpose of the conservation framework is to ensure that 266,000 acres of land remain permanently protected from development with another 400,000 acres preserved for sustainable forestry. The term sustainable forestry, however, is controversial to many Mainer’s. In the current wording of the conservation easement it allows for major clear cuts, pesticide and herbicide spraying, genetically modified tree plantations, cell phone towers, high voltage power lines, gravel mining, as well as septic sludge spreading. Noah Dillard, a member of Maine Earth First! is concerned after reading their easement language, “what the Nature Conservancy is calling a conservation easement will end up allowing Plum Creek to continue destroying our Maine heritage. We’ve already seen what Plum Creek considers to be sustainable forestry. It’s not about conservation, and it’s not about the public benefit!”

Plum Creek is a member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, SFI. In 2006, they received the largest fine in Maine history under the Maine Forest Practices Act for major destruction of deer wintering yards and damage to water bodies in the Moosehead region. Then, in fall 2008, Plum Creek cuts resulted in massive erosion and a mudslide in Kibby Township. Only months later, after local people brought their concerns to the media, Plum Creek admitted to “mistakenly” cutting more deer wintering yards in Indian Stream Township, land which could be part of the Conservation Easement. Ironically, all of these practices are allowable under the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and in the current wording of the Moosehead Conservation Framework. “We want the Maine people to know that this is what conservation looks like according to Plum Creek and the Nature Conservancy,” said Dillard.

The Nature Conservancy is one of the wealthiest nonprofit environmental organization in the world. Plum Creek is the largest private landowner in the country, a major donor to The Nature Conservancy, and a member of TNC’s International Leadership Council. “Plum Creek’s public image, and their ability to continue deforesting the North Woods is only aided by The Nature Conservancy’s endorsement of their practices,” said Dillard, ”their corporate partnership is a clear conflict of interests to say the least.”

After the skit and banner displays, Executive Director Mike Tetreault offered to meet with the group at a later date to discuss their concerns in more detail

Will Neils, another member of Maine Earth First appreciated the gesture but felt that the real damage had already been done. He and others will meet with TNC but called on them to “distance themselves from this phony conservation process, and stop acting as Plum Creek’s apologists. We’re asking them take sides with future generations of Mainers and to truly protect Maine’s forests and wildlife, and we intend to hold them accountable.”

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Plum Creek & The Nature Conservancy
March 4, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Plum Creek

Taken from here

Facts About the Conservation Easement Partnership Between

Plum Creek and The Nature Conservancy

——————————————————————————————–

Plum Creek is the largest private landowner in the country.

The Nature Conservancy is the richest environmental nonprofit organization in the world.

Plum Creek is a major donor to The Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the TNC’s International Leadership Council.

Learn more at http://www.nature.org/joinanddonate/corporatepartnerships/leadership/

These two Goliaths are partnering promote a Conservation Easement and one of the biggest land development plans in Maine history.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

In its current form, the Conservation Easement would allow the following activities:

* Septic Sludge Spreading – Up to 100 acres at a time in active use.

* Road Building

* Cell Phone Tower Construction

* Construction of High Voltage Power Lines and Power Generators.

* Rock, Sand, and Gravel Mining

* Unsustainable forestry practices in the form of major clearcuts, pesticide and herbicide spraying, and the possible use of genetically modified trees.

All of these forestry practices are allowed by SFI Inc, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification program that certifies Plum Creek’s forestry practices as sustainable. SFI was created by major corporations involved with forestry.

The Chair of SFI is Plum Creek President Rick Holley.

There is no effective Public oversight of SFI and it is unheard of for a company to lose its certification as a result of violations and unsustainable forestry practices.

The Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) will be accepting Public Comment
on the plan through Friday, April 3 at 4pm.

Members of the Public are encouraged to contact LURC at: LURC@maine.gov
or LURC, 22 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333.

More information is available online at http://www.maine.gov/doc/lurc

Contact The Nature Conservancy

People can also contact The Nature Conservancy to remind them that the
need for environmental justice and the health of local communities is
being threatened by Plum Creek.

As the richest environmental nonprofit organization in the world, The
Nature Conservancy has the ability to take needed action to ensure that
environmental justice and community health are protected.

The Nature Conservancy is risking its reputation if it promotes
unsustainable forestry, mining, road building, septic sludge spreading,
and habitat destruction as Conservation.

People can contact the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy by writing
them at 14 Maine Street, Suite 401, Brunswick, Maine 04011, emailing
naturemaine@tnc.org , calling 207-729-5181 or faxing 207-729-4118

More info at
http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/maine/council/

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And From MPBN…
February 10, 2009, 1:32 am
Filed under: Plum Creek

Here is a radio report from Maine Public Broadcasting…

Click

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From the Bangor Daily News
February 10, 2009, 1:03 am
Filed under: Plum Creek

Plum Creek Admits Wrongly Harvesting Deer Area

By Nick Sambides Jr., and Kevin Miller
BDN Staff

INDIAN STREAM TOWNSHIP — Plum Creek officials acknowledged Monday they mistakenly logged part of a deer wintering area in Indian Stream Township but are now taking steps to address the issue.

Plum Creek’s statement come after members of the grassroots groups Native Forest Network began calling on the timber company to halt harvesting in an area west of Big Moose Mountain.

The Native Forest Network, an all-volunteer group that claims it works to protect Maine’s north woods ecosystems and traditional way of life, had sent delegates to the logging area, which is west of Big Moose Mountain, without any conflicts with landowner Plum Creek, network officials said.

But this weekend members, who intended to document what they claim are sensitive winter deer yards in the logging areas, were turned away by Plum Creek security.

“It seems like they are trying to hide something,” Native Forest Network activist Ryan Clarke said in a statement released Monday.

Mark Doty, resource manager with Plum Creek, acknowledged that the company had mistakenly harvested land within a deer wintering area in the Indian Stream Township area. Doty said the parcel is part of the 32,000 acres of forestland that Plum Creek has agreed to manage for deer habitat as part of a voluntary program with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He described the 12-acre parcel as a “finger” that extended from the rest of the deer wintering area.

“It was a boundary mistake, plain and simple,” Doty said. “We want to thank the Native Forest Network and the local residents for pointing out the mistake in the harvest. We initiated our internal review after that.”

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Indian Stream Press Release
February 6, 2009, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Plum Creek

**For Immediate Release**

 

Forest Advocates Expose Plum Creek’s Destruction of Winter Deer Yards

 

[Photos available:  www.flickr.com/photos/savethenorthwoods ]

 

January 27, 2009

 

Indian Stream TWP, ME-  Activists with the Native Forest Network (NFN) have reported an imminent threat to historic deer yards and late succession forests within an active Plum Creek active.  The group has requested an immediate evaluation of Plum Creek logging operations in the Indian Stream area by the Maine Forest Service.  The deer yards fall within the boundary of the proposed conservation easements for Plum Creek’s controversial development plan, and adjacent to the Big Moose State Reserve. 

 

Concerns regarding the timber harvest were brought to the attention of NFN by local landowners and hunters. Together they are concerned about the imminent loss of ecologically and culturally significant deer yards in the region, which is seen as a primary factor in this years’ low deer harvest.   Native Forest Movement recently visited the site and documented deer beds, tracks and browse in parcels currently being logged and others intended for harvest. These areas are also home to intact diverse late-succession forests that are unique to Maine’s North Woods.

 

Shirley resident, Charlie Baker expressed concern about the active cut and its planned expansion saying “Hunters in this area know that these have historically been the biggest deer yards of Somserset County.  Destroying these deer yards in the middle of winter is like burning down one of our houses. Where are we expecting the deer to go?”  Baker’s family has lived, logged and hunted in the region for several generations.    Baker continued, “I have hunted this land for over fifty years, the Indian Stream area has significant winter deer yards.  We must protect this land.”

 

Meg Gilmartin , of NFN agrees, “We believe that much of the planned cut is winter deer habitat.  The forest has beautiful views of Eagle Rock through a canopy of giant Cedar, Spruce, Hemlock, and Birch trees. Its adjacent location to State lands makes it a prime corridor for wildlife and recreation. If this tract is cut this season, an important opportunity will be lost.”

 

The group is continuing to work with local residents, biologists, and elected officials. They are hopeful that responsible State agencies will take immediate action to stop the destruction of these forest, and are committed to defending Maine’s landmark forests through every possible channel including civil disobedience if needed.

 

“We have reported our observations to the Forest Service and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and we will continue exposing Plums Creek’s threats to the ecological integrity and historic uses of the area,” said Ryan Clarke of Sangerville.  “The old forests and wildlife of Maine are public resources, we will not sit by and allow them to be destroyed.”

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