Maine’s Lily of the Valley……

Posted: 13/06/2008 in Uncategorized
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Lily Bay. Maine’s own lily of the Valley. A beautiful spot on the edge of one of the most pristine, and still wild sections of wilderness on the east coast. And some people from away want to rake in some bucks by destroying it. That’s right, the fight to preserve Maine’s wilderness is still underway, and with the sheer volume of opposition in their way, the folks up at the LURC office have reopened the plan to public comment. They say that persistence pays off in the long run, but will it pay off for Plum Creek Timber here in Maine? From Florida to Maine to Washington state, Plum Creek has all kinds of developments in the works, large and small. It seems as though practically every one of them has some kind of problem with it, and it’s always always based upon the environment.

First of all, we’re all well aware of the Maine violations. There’s the illegal power line corridor, then the water quality violations, failure to protect deer breeding and bedding areas, and the infamous clear cutting up in Maine’s northern wilderness, where they seemed to believe nobody would find out about it. Start at http://www.nrcm.org/news_detail.asp?news=1052 if you want to read all about it. We could include the industrial portions of the list of problems, such as this one following from an excerpt from a 10-Q SEC Filing, filed by PLUM CREEK TIMBER CO INC on 5/3/1994:

On May 1, 1992, the Company received a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) from the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under the Clean Air Act. The NOV alleges that Plum Creek’s Evergreen veneer dryers in Kalispell, Montana were not in compliance with an air quality permit on January 15, 1992 when visible emissions from the veneer dryers were observed by the EPA. These dryers were also the subject of a suit filed by the Montana Air Quality Bureau (“MAQB”) in March 1990. Prior to the January 15, 1992 alleged violation, the Company entered into a Consent Decree with the MAQB. The Company installed approximately $900,000 of emission control equipment on the dryers on April14, 1992, in order to comply with the permit and all State and Federal visible emission limits.

Problem solved, but the list continues. The bigger issue here, at least as I look at it is the fact that Plum Creek is the inheritor of lands given freely by the government (read taxpayer) to various railroad corporations during the 1850’s, ostensibly as an incentive to construct rail lines to the west coast. However, as the years progressed and the original owner of the land, Burlington-Northern, and other railroad, companies were spun off to avoid lawsuits, and Plum Creek Timber was formed, and later Plum Creek LLC as a REIT. The main purpose was to avoid income tax, which they have done. But they have ceased to be a REIT in principle, and have become a real estate developer. This is what Plum Creek has become, according to the Land Use Watch organization;

The tiny town of Roslyn, 90 minutes’ drive east of Seattle, clings tight to its coal-mining and timber-cutting past. In future, that may be harder. As many as 3,000 expensive houses, interspersed with golf courses and resorts, are planned for the hills surrounding Roslyn, dwarfing the town’s few hundred dwellings.…

A little searching online finds that Plum Creek Timber Company, the largest private landholder in the US, is doing this across the country (though you will be hardpressed to find any mention on their site):

Plum Creek’s real estate activity includes permitting, building roads and utilities, destination resorts and “master planned communities” and joint venture agreements with other developers. In 2005 Plum Creek identified 110 properties on 123,000 acres that it expected to develop over the next 15 years.

Source; http://www.landusewatch.com/2006/06/11/forests-developed-into-luxury-resorts

An interesting article from the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/23/AR2006122300621.html highlights the issue of violations more fully. The writers bring up more of the violations. But you can read back through my posts to see some revealing information that you may not have read before.

Try http://dlsoucy.blogspot.com/2007/12/blue-mecca.html for a start. then there’s http://dlsoucy.blogspot.com/2007/12/plum-creek-florida-turtles-and-lynx.html and on to http://dlsoucy.blogspot.com/2008/01/plum-creek-is-plum-crazy-for-maine.html , and on and on, or just simply click onto the Plum Creek link under the “labels.” Every single entry will pop up for your convenience.

I’ve got a nice wallpaper on my desktop that is an old postcard scene of the Kineo house in Greenville, showing many canoeists and a steamer in the background. Greenville was once a world renowned tourist destination. It can be again, but it doesn’t need to come at such a high price. People love the area because it is still in a wild or deep woods state. If the development as proposed by Plum Creek under the direction of TNC is allowed to go forward, it will change that state. Maine’s Northwood’s will no longer be Maine’s Northwood’s, but a playground overpopulated by people from away who care little for the people of Maine, or the environment beyond their golf course or ski lodge. We cannot let Maine become a state reliant upon others for our future. We must grab hold of the reins and direct our own path. A path that preserves that which is precious. A path that preserves what is nearly gone.

Lily Bay seems to be the key to this whole development. Without Lily Bay, it appears unlikely that Plum Creek and developers will not make the cash needed to pull any real profit from the rest. This area is indeed a true beauty, and needs to be kept from development. Let the LURC know what your feelings are. With any luck, they won’t have to hear what our feelings are after the decision is made public. Profit may be king, but sometime, a king need to be dethroned.

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