2016-10-14 / Letters

Citizens of Kennebunk have been ‘excluded’

To the editor:

Over the past year, as we’ve waded ever deeper into the onset of the FERC relicensing process for our three hydroproducing dams on the Mousam, we’ve learned the water is pretty murky for the small-scale producers and nonprofits.

It really wasn’t a surprise to discover that when it comes to regulating hydropower dams, the federal government believes in one size fits all. It doesn’t matter whether it’s giant Hoover Dam or our small-scale production here in Kennebunk.

The process will take at least five years from the spring of 2017 and increasingly looks to be a cast of thousands.

Why so long?

Numerous federal departments, agencies, and bureaus want to stick their toes into the regulatory waters and have their say, demanding studies and reports and driving up the costs. The matching departments from Maine state government will have to have their say, too. Then add to the mix, the out-of-town special interests with their members’ deep checkbooks.

That’s quite a cast of federal and state organizations, and outside interests coming to our town to have their “say,” all at your expense, because the KLPD ratepayers and Kennebunk taxpayers will be left footing the hefty bill, no matter what the final decision will be, for this fiveyear regulatory process.

Hopefully, the towns of Kennebunk and Wells and their chambers of commerce will become interveners. When they realize what was once a river and turned into a muddy stream if the dams are torn down, will send silt and possible hazardous contaminates after every big rain or discharges from the eight dams above us to pollute our pristine beaches and our prized lobster zone.

One group has been excluded from this lengthy and costly process, you, the citizens of Kennebunk.

That’s why Save the Dams went door to door with a citizen-initiative petition. Almost a thousand of you in only 12 days said, “Should the voters of Kennebunk have the final say on the disposition of the Mousam River dams in Kennebunk.”

That referendum petition will appear now as Question 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

A yes vote now will mean that later in the regulatory process when there is more information available about costs, benefits, and liabilities, you’ll be able to cast an informed second vote on the future of our dams.

A no vote on Nov. 8 would mean the Kennebunk voters would be the only party without a say in the long process ahead of us.

Tom Murphy
Kennebunk Landing

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