2016-03-11 / Letters

Tea for two anyone? How about a binding agreement?

To the editor:

I was somewhat amused by the reactions to my rebuttal to Mr. Burrows by members of the River Alliance.

Obviously, there’s no need to address Mr. Mendelsohn – the tone and emotion in his letter speaks very well for itself, not to mention his blog. As for Mrs. Grabin, I must admit that she has a gift for spin. A career in D.C. could well be in her future.

After typically characterizing all opposing views as “emotional” (i.e. irrational or fearful) as directed by their playbook (Removing Small Dams in Maine (http://mainerivers.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/Dam-Project-Manager GuideME-copy.pdf), she then portrays their coordinated assault on our dams as if it were an afternoon tea or garden party consisting only of polite, congenial neighbors and friends all chirping about the delights of dam removal. “Anyone is welcome to disagree (with them)”, she quips philosophically – that is, until you try to do something about it, and then, hypocritically, things get very contentious – as evidenced by the letters I’m responding to. The science they always refer to and love to flatter themselves with having sole possession of, is always in abstraction – never site specific. As has been the case elsewhere, their fantasies don’t always live up to reality. I guess it’s safe to assume by now that I’m not getting an invitation to the party.

She also likens the River Alliance to a to a warm and welcoming information booth meant to greet and guide anyone inspired to rescue a select group of fish (mostly bait fish) and bring them back to whatever may be left of the Mousam. Predictably, this is met with considerable enthusiasm by groups such as Alewife Harvesters of Maine and the Maine Elver Fishermen Association, which they proudly cite as some of their allies, who anticipate making lots of money from this completely misguided enterprise. Funny how so many loud and aggressive conservationists of certain species or habitats are often the same ones who want to then hunt those same species or exploit those habitats in the future.

To see through all the smoke and mirrors, slick PR, and jazzy website of the River Alliance and get a clear, unambiguous grasp of their zealous purpose and motives, all one has to do is spend a few minutes reading their manifesto for dam removal in Maine – particularly page 13, which outlines the community tactics to advance their agenda. This is a very revealing handbook. In it are directives for targeting the decision makers, selecting consultants, acquisition of funding, available resources, state and federal contacts, how to frame an effective message, talking points, etc. Machiavelli himself would have been pleased with it. Crafted by Maine Rivers, Trout Unlimited and others with American Rivers of the Northeast Region in Northampton, Massachusetts, it represents a comprehensive, honed and systematic battle plan for the guerrilla warfare they are sponsoring against all the dams in Maine.

So enough already of the spin and cries of abusive behavior when anyone challenges their intentions. Theirs is a double standard that entitles them to take pot-shots at their opponents, but then allows them to retreat behind the claim of victimhood if you refute their assertions. The River Alliance is big on promises but void of any credible assurances. If they want to call for a ceasefire, how about this for an idea: before going any further with their plans, let’s have them sign a binding agreement with the town of Kennebunk that they will accept full responsibility and liability – both personally and collectively – for any and all damages resulting from their actions or miscalculations. Not interested? Didn’t think so.

More tea anyone?

Shawn Teague

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