The State of Maine’s appeal of a judge’s recent decision striking down a plan for development and conservation in the Moosehead Lake area will offer the swiftest resolution for Maine people, The Nature Conservancy said today.
Today, the Maine Attorney General’s office announced their appeal of the April 7 decision on the Plum Creek concept plan, a move that The Nature Conservancy supports.
“Of the three options for moving forward from last week’s decision − which are for everyone to walk away, to engage in a continued review process or to appeal − the appeal is the quickest, most efficient way for the people of Maine to move forward on this issue,” said Tom Rumpf, associate director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
The development project, which was first proposed eight years ago, would include two resorts and hundreds of house lots. However, through the LURC process, Plum Creek changed its plan dramatically, reducing the scope of its development and adding some 360,000 acres of conservation to the final plan before it was approved by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission.
Justice Thomas Humphrey’s decision was based on procedure and it is not a rejection of Plum Creek’s plan itself, Rumpf said. The court threw out all of the petitioners’ arguments save one in which the court said that the final version of the plan should have been aired in a public hearing. The conservation framework itself was not called into question.
“We still believe that the overall conservation outcomes of Plum Creek’s final plan represent a tremendous opportunity for the people of Maine,” Rumpf said. The Nature Conservancy has been involved in negotiating the conservation framework since the beginning of the process, and is committed to purchasing the 363,000-acre Moosehead Region conservation easement should the plan be allowed to move forward.
While the proposed conservation easement is tied to the concept plan that was struck down, more than 44,000 acres of conservation has already been accomplished as a result of this process. The Nature Conservancy and the State of Maine have purchased 15,000 acres, including portions of Number 5 Bog and lands that provide access to the Moose River Bow Trip paddling route. And more than 29,500 acres near the Appalachian Trail’s 100-Mile Wilderness has been protected by the Appalachian Mountain Club.
“The Nature Conservancy stands by our belief that the final plan would result in significant conservation gains as well as a balance of economic, ecological and recreational benefits for the Moosehead Region,” Rumpf said.
For more information: Moosehead Forest Project - Latest News
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Maine