To the Editor:
I read in last week’s Islander a letter from the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) taking issue with my own recent contribution to the op-ed pages.
I would like to point out a few things in her letter worth rebutting.
First of all, I had to leave the meeting after all the testimony was given, and after audience members began to speak, because I had to get back to work. I make my living with a business providing a service to the wonderful visitors to our area. Many people opposing the farm couldn’t attend the meeting for that very reason, it being the busiest time of the season. That is another clear indication that the DMR may not understand the nature of our community here when they put the interests of two applicants ahead of dozens or even hundreds of other local people.
It was clear to everyone in attendance who opposes the proposed oyster farm that the DMR already had made up its mind to approve it – regardless of any additional viable arguments we may have made. To say that hearing testimony about increased bird populations was not germane is disingenuous on her part. If the DMR has no jurisdiction over the potential interference with the direct flight path of planes landing and departing from the airport, then they should have heard testimony about the noise and fecal matter they associated with birds. How can they approve something without all the facts?
One other issue concerns me greatly. Less than two weeks after this hearing, two representatives from the DMR showed up at my door asking if they could inspect my septic system. They said they needed to inspect it to make sure it wasn’t leaking into the bay. In the 16 years I have had a house on this land, and the 25 years plus that my neighbor has owned his house, no one from the DMR ever visited us. Was this “coincidence” some form of intimidation?
Or perhaps they were trying to say the houses on Thundermist Road are polluting the clams and mussels in the bay as some preemptive move to ignore any problems that 1 million oysters will cause when added to the bay’s ecosystem.
People like me, by the way, have a right to address issues in the press when the government agencies that supposedly work for all Maine citizens are making decisions without concern or care for people most directly affected by those decisions.
What did officials expect when the state held a meeting that was entirely geared toward the applicants and downright hostel toward those opposing it?