2016-11-18 / Letters

Decisive Mousam vote is appreciated

To the editor:

It’s been a learning process as we’ve studied the five-year FERC relicensing that will begin next spring. We’ve learned that federal and state agencies, all kinds of bureaucrats, and the out-of-town special interests will have their say. We saw that our Kennebunk residents would be paying for all this saying, but wouldn’t have a voice in the process.

In August, Save The Mousam volunteers headed out into Kennebunk neighborhoods to gather signatures for three Mousam River citizen-initiated referendum questions. They gathered more than 2,600 total signatures on those three petitions, ensuring they would be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Election Day, you overwhelmingly spoke and we believe you’ve been heard.

Kennebunk Light and Power District’s chairman had repeatedly said, “This is just a small bunch of river abutters and no one else.” Out of 22,033 total votes cast on the three Mousam River questions, there were 16,231 yes votes (73.6 percent) to 5,802 no votes (26.3 percent).

The KLPD trustees heard from their citizens that they don’t want their hydro equipment run into the ground. They want them properly maintained, so they’ll continue to produce local power during the remaining five years of KLPD’s license. Question 4: 5,061 yes (69 percent) to

2,261 no (31 percent). Financial analysis demonstrates a significant cost savings to KLPD ratepayers by continuing to generate electricity versus dam and hydro destruction.

The two companies who have expressed early interest in assuming KLPD’s hydro license by 2022 now know that our citizens want to continue our 125 years of producing and consuming our own hydropower, but now with emerging 21st century technology.

The KLPD chairman and general manager have heard your overwhelmingly reaffirmation of KLPD’s charter provision which states the citizens of Kennebunk are the final and binding voice on the disposal of all KLPD assets. Question 6: 5,852 yes (80 percent) to 1,493 no (20 percent).

Maine Rivers and their allies believed they could come into town by stealth and wrap it up before the locals caught wind of it. Their most recent experiences, first in Yarmouth and now in Kennebunk have been, not in our town, you don’t.

The selectmen who have been asking for direction from you can now begin investigating the benefits, costs, and possible public and private relationships of this complex issue.

Question 5: 5,318 yes (72.2 percent) to 2,048 no (27.8 percent).

This 9.8 mile recreational corridor should be examined from economic development, environmental, recreational, and quality of life perspectives. These selectmen and the next four boards will have their work cut out for them.

Our youngest generation has seen the positive votes you’ve cast for them and the many generations who will follow them. Messing around on the river will possibly remain a part of growing up in Kennebunk.

These three questions were a nonbinding straw ballot, but we believe that your decisive votes were heard and that our elected officials will now follow the direction you gave them on Election Day.

Thank you for your careful consideration of these three questions and for your Election Day vote.

Tom Murphy
Kennebunk Landing

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