Midcoast residents demand impact study for proposed harbor dredging in Searsport

7:56 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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SEARSPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- People from around the midcoast are starting to have growing concerns over plans to dredge parts of Searsport Harbor.

The Maine Department of Transportation wants to dig up parts of the harbor floor near Mack Point. The dredging would deepen the harbor in places from 35 feet to 40 feet and state officials say that would make it easier for ships to get in and out of Mack Point.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the project. Groups such as the Sierra Club want the corps to look hard at the proposed dredging. Critics fear the project could disturb toxic elements on the harbor floor and create problems for sea life.

"So much of this stuff is new waste in the sense that its never been dug before," said Ron Huber, who is the executive director of the environmental group 'Friends of Penobscot Bay,' "a lot of it's going to have to go on land and that's a tremendous cost increase that they {state officials} haven't even considered."

"The corps has been very diligent in taking care of its responsibilities," said John Henshaw, who is the executive director of the Maine Port Authority, "They've had favorable feedback from EPA for instance...they have been actively talking to marine fisheries for to address any concerns that they may have."

The Army Corps of Engineers released a feasibility study for the project last spring. Officials say they are still reviewing feedback on it and will conduct further studies if necessary.

NEWS CENTER

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