Searsport Harbor dredging opponents speak at public hearing

Searsport Harbor dredging opponents speak at public hearing

SEARSPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Dozens of people opposed to a dredging project in Searsport Harbor, dressed in red and spoke out a public hearing Tuesday night.

It's been more than 50 years since the harbor was last dredged, and the Maine Department of Transportation thinks it's time to do it again. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine DOT want to spend more than $13 million to deepen and widen the channel. This will allow larger ships into the Mack Point Marine Terminal. Right now, if a large ship wants to dock there, it has to wait for high tide, which increases transportation costs.

Opponents of the proposal said this dredging will harm the fishing industry. The Friends of Penobscot Bay Group says it will take at least four years for recovery and re-colonization of lobster in the area, and that would cause at much as a $68 million loss for the industry.

"We've worked hard to get our lobster industry back and it's the best it's ever been in years. We're landing more lobster every year, records are being set every year. Why take a gamble on two-three boats coming in to unload oil and having to wait for the tide to get out and take a chance at destroying the lobster in the state of Maine," said Rocky Alley, the president of the Maine Lobstering Union.

Many of those who oppose the plan said they aren't against deepening the Harbor, just the expansion.

Anyone who wasn't able to make it to the meeting can send questions or comments to the Department of Environmental Protection.


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