By Lynda Clancy | Dec 04, 1999
Northport — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection Friday approved a permit to allow MBNA to build 40 recreational cabins on Ducktrap Mountain in Northport.

Although there were some changes to the draft permit, which was issued by the DEP for public review, the changes weren't major, said DEP project analyst David Silver.

"They didn't change our conclusions," Silver said. The changes were typographical and grammatical adjustments, he said.

As to the allegation raised by the project's opponents that MBNA had already begun work on the site without a permit, Silver said he visited Ducktrap Mountain on Wednesday and saw no evidence of construction or clearing.

"I didn't see any work that was started," Silver said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to decide whether the project falls under its jurisdiction.

On Dec. 1, Blaine Buck, an MBNA Senior Vice President, wrote a letter to Jay Clement, of the Corps, saying "MBNA has made every attempt to ensure that this project meets or exceeds all local, state, and federal regulations. MBNA has made a very conscious and concerted effort to avoid wetlands impacts at this site. The design of driveways and cabins has been predicated on eliminating and minimizing any possible environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible."

Buck refuted arguments raised by project opponents, in particular Ron Huber of Coastal Waters Project.

Huber's position is that the project will impact wetlands. MBNA's denial is categorical: "There is no need to seek permission from the Army Corps of Engineers for this proposed development. No wetlands are proposed to be filled, dredged or otherwise impacted by this development. The proposal does not in any way include the diversion of the course of any perennial or intermittent stream."

Buck said in his letter: "Mr. Huber's continued attempt to inflame public concern over this project by raising unsubstantiated and incorrect facts benefits no one."

Huber said Friday that Coastal Waters Project will appeal permit to the Board of Environmental Protection.

"We will appeal it and we will prevail. The BEP specifically is empowered to review the issues that the department refused," he said. He said that includes the primary, secondary, and cumulative impacts of the development on the character and quality of the land, air, and water.

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