As I expected, the fallout from LURC’s decision to allow Plum Creek to begin carving up Maine’s wilderness up in the Moosehead area has begun. A Kennebec journal article, 4 arrested in Plum Creek protest, goes into great detail over the protest of the eco-group Earth First at their (LURC) Augusta office building. Apparently, there was a sizable crowd outside, though no numbers were given as well as some on the inside. State Police and Sherriff dept. were called, and asked the protesters to leave the building. The four that were arrested refused, and had locked themselves together with bicycle locks, resulting in their forcible removal and arrest.
Sigh! Environmentalists just do not seem to get it. There is a right way and a wrong way to protest public decision. Being morons falls under the wrong way category. And that’s pretty much what these four people acted like. I don’t know what their personal motive or plan was, but reacting to emotions without thinking things through is one of the things that will ultimately destroy what is left of Maine and its environment. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, that’s how liberals act. It’s how they get their personal greed satisfied. You create a problem. Then you create an urgency to solve the problem. Then you prey on emotions and get desired reaction. Of course, they don’t often get their desired results, but they do get their desired results.
I have shared a lot of facts and research throughout the last few months in the hope that at least some people, and maybe enough people, would get the sense of how this development will play out over the next few years. Because nobody paid attention to the story behind the opinion, we ended up with exactly what I said we would get months ago. The Plum Creek decision was a done deal right from the start. Political maneuvering had to take place so that everybody involved would look like a hero, and that’s what happened. The environmentalists care more about getting what they want than what we need as a state.
And now we are going to get exactly what I also predicted would happen. A mega resort with a slew of service sector and retail jobs in a distressed community. Very few of them will be full time, and most will pay nominal wages, certainly not above poverty level. Especially with the economy tanking like it is. The short term winners are those people that are going to obtain employment in the construction related industry, but once all is said and done, and the construction is finished, what then. The long term winners are going to be Plum Creek, The Nature Conservancy and whoever gets to build and manage the resort areas. As a whole, the people of Maine will be locked out of any real benefit.
An anonymous post at Red Orbit from the PPH discussed the results of the deal in a different light, saying “No possible plan could have satisfied all the people with an interest in the area.” That pretty much sums it up. Nobody is going to be wholly happy. A couple of other point mentioned in that article state “LURC did get a substantial trade-off from the company. If it accepts the commission’s offer, Plum Creek will guarantee public access and commercial forestry on 430,000 acres of land in the region that will not be developed.” Which really isn’t such a big deal. Plum Creek already owns the land and the trees that are on it. The deal allows them to harvest trees they already own and are currently managing for harvest. And they already allow public access, so there wasn’t really any concession given or taken here.
Another statement from the article is “As part of that, two private conservation deals the company made with The Nature Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Forest Society of Maine will net the firm $35 million.” Thirty five million dollars for Plum Creek, just to not harvest trees on land they own. I read a couple of comments last year that this conservation easement land had been recently harvested, and wouldn’t be ready for another harvest for at least twenty more years. They wouldn’t be cutting trees anyways if the comments were correct. So where do you think that 35 million is going to come from? Answer, me and you, the taxpayers of this state.
The people of this state lost because we let our emotions control our actions, not research facts and examination of the issues. A zoning and development plan should have been in place for the area years ago, but it was never developed. Growth is inevitable in Maine. Instead of hugging the trees and crying over something we can’t stop, we should be learning from the past, and developing a logical plan that will preserve the most needed and beneficial habitats of Maine, while still allowing a controlled and livable growth plan.
As a good example as to how much the environmentalist movement will cost us, and how The Nature Conservancy benefits from these deals they broker with major land owners, we can look at the Montana Legacy Project, which was also a deal brokers between Plum Creek and the public through The Nature Conservancy’s political machinations. Bragged up by Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus as a tremendous boom for land conservation, a New West article says “Over the next three years Plum Creek — the largest private landowner in the state (and country) that in 1999 reorganized as a real estate investment trust — will be selling 312,000 acres of land in western Montana to The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land for more than $500 million. Those organizations will be transferring ownership to the Forest Service, DNRC and timber investment management organizations (TIMOs).”
At first glance, it sounds like a good thing, 312,000 acres being protected. A private company. Plum Creek, selling out to a conservation group. For only $500,000 in cash. Big problem with that though. The buyers are transferring that land to the Feds, and the money comes from a rider Baucus tacked onto the recently passed Farm Bill. The dues paying members of The Nature Conservancy are not coughing up the dough. We taxpayers here in Maine are coughing up the dough. And we’ll have no say in what goes on with the land. And the timber will still get to be harvested.
Same thing will be happening here. TNC and Plum Creek will make the deals, and soon other major landowners will follow suite because they’ll see how easy it is to make a quick buck from the process. TNC will control what goes on with the land, and eventually, we’ll start to see our access to these wild areas disappear. Wait and see.
But it’s like I was saying to someone the other day that took issue with one of my posts. These posts are my opinion, and I back my opinion with as much fact as I can. But I don’t want you to automatically agree with what I say. If you did that you’d be giving the reaction the special interest groups want from you. Giving in to your need to be a rescuer without knowing what it is you want to rescue. Do the research and find out the facts on your own. If more people had done that when all of this started, we wouldn’t be where we are today.