Army Corps mulls MBNA application; BEP discussion today

By Lynda Clancy | Dec 02, 1999
Augusta — The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is studying whether it needs to get involved with permitting MBNA's Ducktrap Mountain project. In addition, Maine's Board of Environmental Protection will be addressing the topic at its regularly scheduled meeting in Augusta today.

Jay Clement, at the Corps' Manchester, Maine, office, said Wednesday that his office is waiting for information from MBNA about the plan to build 40 cabins on the company's Northport land. The Corps will determine if the project alters or fills wetlands. If so, the project would require a permit from the Corps, under Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act.

The Army Corps may visit the site to further investigate, Clement said.

The missions of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers include flood prevention and control, emergency response for natural disasters and national emergencies, environmental remediation and restoration, natural resource management, stream bank and shoreline protection, navigation maintenance and improvement, support to military facilities and installations, and engineering and construction support to other federal agencies.

The BEP, which consists of consists of 10 citizen members, will address a request by Coastal Waters Project, an enviromental group based in Rockland, to assume jursidiction of the permitting process now underway at the the DEP.

On Wednesday, the DEP closed its public comment period on the draft permit, which, if signed by DEP Commissioner Martha Kirkpatrick, will allow the 40-cabin project to proceed.

According to DEP project analyst David Silver, his agency decided not to issue its permit on Wednesday and will wait for the Board of Environmental Protection to address the project.

The BEP's mission, as stated by state law, is "to provide informed, independent and timely decisions on the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the laws relating to environmental protection. The Board also provides a forum for public participation in Department decisions through public hearings and regular board meetings. The Board accomplishes its purpose through rulemaking, decisions on selected permit applications, review of the Commissioner's licensing and enforcement actions and by recommending changes in the law to the Legislature."

Ron Huber, of Coastal Waters Project, asked BEP Chairman Osmond Bonsey to have the BEP assume jurisdiction over the application, saying the application process was "not being adequately reviewed by Department staff and other appropriate state agency staff, and that may afford the Board an opportunity to resolve important policy questions and interpretations of a rule and a law that are fundamental to Maine Department of Environmental Protection's decision making on coastal development projects."

The BEP meets at 9:30 a.m. at the Augusta Hotel on Western Avenue in Augusta.

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