From Sea To Shining Sea…..

Posted: 07/02/2008 in Uncategorized
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I’m sure we’re all aware of the fact that the Feds have leased oil and gas rights in the Cukchi Sea off Alaska. Yesterday the bids went out and yet another foreign company gets the spoils. Shell was the top bidder, and plans to immediately begin operations to extract the black gold deposited under the sea bed. before all of this took place, a consortium of environmental and conservation groups were all over the issue. On 1 February a lawsuit was filed in an attempt to block the sale, which garnered 2.1 billion, to no avail. The suit was filed by the Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.

Notably absent was Maine’s seemingly favotite conservation hero, The Nature Conservancy. Some would wonder why, but the reason is simple. As I’ve mentioned many times, the true mission of TNC is not conservation. The true mission of TNC is land aquisition. While they lead many people into believing they are pursuing a goal of conservation of habitats around the world, their own actions indicate otherwise. Locally held chapters are being duped into following along on a grand scheme creating large blocks of uninhabited land around the country, all under the control of the TNC desires, and ultimately paid for by the taxpayers of this country.

If they were really interested in conservation and preservation of species and habitat, why weren’t they foremost in the lawsuit to stop the lease sale for the Chukchi Sea? Because there isn’t any land to purchase, and no way to impose an easement structure on the territory being leased, that’s why. Here in Maine, they’ve continued to gain more and more control over the northern parts of the state through their aquisition and easement program. Some folks say so what, any chance for development is worth taking. In some aspects this may be true, but part of the reason we are in the mess we are in is because we don’t step back and look at the whole picture.

Plum Creek and TNC have been skipping down the golden road to prosperity hand in hand, and Plum Creek has made millions over the years in profits generated by the TNC brokered land deals. How long will it be before other major land holders take advantage of the TNC international mortgage company? The Irving kingdom announced last fall that they were going to be breaking up the family business. Irving owns a huge chunk of Maine land, just like PC. Suppose they strike a deal similar to the Moosehead plan? What then? TNC is on their way to obtaining control over millions of acres here in Maine, as well as elsewhere around the US. Why is this happening, all the while being protected by being a non profit organization?

An interesting piece to the puzzle is that maybe Plum Creek is in reality an unwitting pawn to the game TNC seems to be playing. Are they succumbing to the temptation of easy profits, all the while unknowingly signing their future away to an unknown interest? What will happen if they head out to harvest some timber on these easement lands one morning, and TNC has a security force blocking access to the property? Is that when the picture will become complete? What if Irving climbs on board the profit bandwagon, and the same thing happens? What will become of all the people living in Maine’s unorganized territories? It is becoming more and more difficult for people who live in these areas. A decline in the wood products industries are causing a lack of employment opportunities that mean something to the future. Maine cannot compete in the world markets if we are no longer producing a positive GDP. We need to figure out how we can do that, while at the same time protecting our natural resources.

Energy needs to be obtained, but at what cost? Too many people seem to be of the opinion that we need to fall victim to the old supply and demand formula that determines the price of energy. There is no argument that energy casts too much today. But a lot of arguments occur as to how the reduction of the cost may occur. Simply put, there are supposedly only two ways to reduce the price by using this madel. We can increase the supply, or we can reduce the demand. Increasing the supply will lead to a world of problems that we should have learned to avoid long ago. Loss of habitat is going to occur. The recent lease auction is a prime example of this. While it can be argued that this action of drilling in the Cukchi Sea will cause the decimation of the Polar Bear, the risk of damage to this habitat by an accident is more than certain.

In an action to further increase the supply, we are going to have a new nuclear reactor built across the border in New Brunswick. Baldacci is looking forward to the possibility of obtaining a new, cheaper source of electricity to bolster his reputation, but I wondre what kind of threat exists to the people of Maine by having this reactor across the fence in the neighbors back yard?

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