The Tangled Web Of Development……..

Posted: 30/05/2008 in Uncategorized
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Over the last couple of days the LURC has been publically deliberating the development plan proposed by Plum Creek Timber. Anybody that’s been a regular reader here knows that there are two things central to my opposition to this plan. One of them is the size of this development, and the second one is the involvement of The Nature Conservancy in the project. No one knows for certain how this will all work out, but like I have stated before, my money says that the decision was made a long time ago, and the LURC is merely jumping through the hoops to keep the voters happy.

One of the claims I have stated as well is that while many seem to think that Plum Creek’s bank book is being used to pay for all this, so there should be no opposition to the plan. If that were true I might, in a long shot sort of way, agree. But historically, whenever TNC is involved in a land deal, the taxpayer ultimately pays for it, and big time payments at that. The same thing will be happening here in Maine, and a press release from the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) seems to solidify that stand.

The NRCM say’s in the release;
LURC standards require Plum Creek to conserve land to offset harm from the company’s massive, unprecedented development, but the public could end up footing the bill. A total of nearly $25 million dollars needs to be raised to purchase these lands and conservation easements that LURC would require; some of these funds would likely come from state and federal funds supported by taxpayers. Plum Creek and the Nature Conservancy have indicated that they intend to apply for public funds from the Forest Legacy Program to pay for this easement.”

Twenty five millions may or may not look like a lot of money, depending on how you look at it, but I can almost guarantee that it won’t end there. Suppose they do manage to build all 2,000 housing units, 975 of them seasonal (supposedly) housing. Who do you think will pick up the tab for road maintenance? That means building and rebuilding, snowplowing, patching of the hot top and so forth. What about sewage and water? Eventually the population will be great enough that new sewer and water systems will have to be installed, leading to maintenance and repair bills after the construction.

There are a lot of things that will add to the total bill that nobody seems to be addressing in this issue. The same thing is happening with Plum Creek and TNC deals all over the country. Montana is a recent, and glaring example of how much power TNC wields, and partnering with Plum Creek, the largest private landowner in the US, makes them an almost omnipotent in their business dealings. I’d like to see some of the Maine political representatives and public officials start to do some web searches to see what is really going on.

While being careful to prevent people from realizing what the ultimate goal here is, if you do some deep enough searching, you can see that TNC , an NGO member of the UN, has a greater plan in store for Maine, and the rest of the US forests as well. And sometimes they use their position in ways that they shouldn’t. An interesting article from Undue Influence can be found at; http://www.undueinfluence.com/nature_conservancy.htm that shares some stories you should read about these land deals.

Another article at http://www.4x4wire.com/access/education/nm_twp/nm_twp_pt8.htm talks about the Virginia Barrier Islands , off the Virginian coast. One particularly telling piece from the article says;
Patrick Noonan began serving as director of operations in 1970. During this time, TNC used a foundational grant to buy up three barrier islands off the Virginia coast.

Soon, Noonan began a secretive, “whirlwind acquisition” campaign to buy up the remaining islands “with the intent to develop them into upscale vacation homes”. Using a “bogus front group”, TNC managed to purchase 14 of the 18 barrier islands. “With its purchase TNC destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of economic growth and thousands of jobs – not just with those three, but with what followed.”

Another interesting article from Orion Magazine in 2005 (http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/161/) details the eviction of tribes from areas of Africa that various conservation groups, TNC one of them, felt to be a threat to conservation efforts. Accused of hunting Silverback Gorillas, the Batwa Tribe was removed from their ancestral homeland. The Batwa denied hunting the gorillas, and no proof was ever presented to support the claim that they were. Nonetheless, the Batwa were forcibly expelled and left to live on the outside of the newly designated conservation parks in makeshift huts, with no means of support or sanitation.

The gorillas were actually being poached by other rival tribes that encroached upon the Batwa homelands, but they apparently were never prosecuted. The conservation alliance got what they wanted. There are no indigenous tribes in the case of the Moosehead area, but the pattern of eviction from select lands around the world is proven. The website for First Peoples Worldwide presents a list of many of these evictions from around the world at http://firstpeoplesworldwide.org/pdfs/Evictions_and_WorksCitedforWeb3-8-07.pdf that seems pretty huge.

The LURC may have already decided to allow this project to proceed with the minor changes suggested, but by the time all is said and done, I believe a lot of people will come to regret the move. In light of the fact that the tourism industry is suffering from a decline due to the rising costs of fuel, I wonder why any developer would want to build so far away from the places tourist would come from. I can see mega millions being spent on infrastructure to develop the roadways, airports and other transportation facilities to support these businesses. Ka-ching, Ka-ching. Sounds like a profitable future for somebody here in Maine, but I bet it isn’t going to be a Mainer who makes the profit. I wonder how long it will be before the blowup happens in the news?


Isaiah 19:12-14 (King James Version)

12 Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.
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