Monday, June 25, 2012

The Penobscot River in Maine is Being Saved, Increasing the Economy of Maine, All Over the Objection of a Conservative Governor

Will the Good Citizens of Maine Please Get Rid of Paul LePage at the Next Election

The battle between economic interest and conservationists is a conflict that exists largely in the minds of conservatives.  They continually speak of the need to protect future generations from things like government debt, and continually thwart any attempts to preserve a clean and safe environment for future generations. 

In Maine they are working to remove dams from the Penobscot River and return it to a fishing and recreational paradise, like it was before.

The Great Works dam in Bradley, Maine has blocked the river for almost two centuries. But on June 11th it began to be demolished, a first step in opening up 1,000 miles of river. The project is a collaboration between business, conservation groups, state and federal agencies, and the Penobscot nation. The removal is part of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a $62m public-private project, which also involves removing the Veazie dam in 2013 and helping fish to get through at two other dams.

 The Secretary of the Interior was there to participate in the celebration of the removal of a major dam.

Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, who attended the ceremony celebrating the demolition, said that deciding between job-creation and caring for the planet is a “false choice”. Eric Schwaab, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has given $20.9m to the project, calls it vital not just to the health of the river, but to the commercial and recreational fishing it supports

And no this does not mean less economic activity and prosperity for the area, it means more.

Although no full economic analysis has been done, the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that opening up the river will inject more than $500m into the local economy. It should also bring jobs in eco-tourism.

Most people would think you have to look very hard to find someone opposed to this, but that is not true.  Just go to Conservative Maine Gov. Paul LePage and you can find this attitude.

America’s north-east has a fragmented river system, with seven dams interrupting every 100 miles of river. But not everyone agrees that this is damaging. Paul LePage, Maine’s governor, a fan of hydropower, wants more dams, not fewer. He called removing the Great Works dam “irresponsible”. But energy production on the Penobscot should not fall. Two other dams have been upgraded to fill the gap.

But don’t worry those of you who want to dam up every river, destroy every fishing habitat and leave America’s future generations with the natural resources depleted.  As soon as Republican gain full control of the government, that’s exactly what everyone will get.

No comments:

Post a Comment