Recently Senator Russell Black and I (separately) visited Segment 1 of the CMP Corridor to see first hand the environmental damage that is being done in the construction of this project. Last week, we held a news conference and sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection and Members of the Board of Environmental Protection explaining that the Corridor width greatly exceeds the permitted 54′, and that the tapering condition including in the DEP permit isn’t protecting critical wildlife habitat and viewsheds as intended.
In response, Thorn Dickinson, President and CEO of NECEC, issued an insulting response criticizing myself and my colleagues, claiming we are unqualified to recognize a clear cut when we’re standing in one. He said, “The DEP are professionals with expertise in forestry practices, these politicians are not.”
In his statement, Mr. Dickinson failed to recognize that my friend and colleague, Senator Russell Black, has been farming and logging since he could hold up a saw. To be exact, he has managed wood lots for 49 years now. In 2018, he was awarded the Tree Farmer of the year award by the Maine and National Tree Farm Associations. In fact, his tree farm was one of the top four in the country. His farm has proudly displayed the Tree Farm plaque for 30 years. In 2006, he was recognized as the Outstanding Logger by the Franklin County Soil and Water District. He has cut thousands of cords on thousands of acres.
Mr. Dickinson must not have realized Senator Black’s qualifications when he issued this insulting statement. But further, I’d argue that it hardly takes a professional forester to recognize a clear cut when you’re standing in one. It also doesn’t take a professional to hold a tape measure. While Mr. Dickinson has repeatedly claimed that the width of the new corridor is ‘only’ 54′, the cuts I witnessed personally are nearly twice the advertised width. I am confident that my colleagues and I (two of us sit on the committee of oversight for the DEP) fully understand what we observed, which is why we were all compelled to speak up.
The DEP needs to halt construction immediately until the inadequate protections have been addressed, before our public reserve lands are destroyed. This November, I urge you to join me in voting yes to ban the CMP Corridor.
Sen. Richard A. Bennett