Weeks ago, I announced that there was credible evidence on State of Maine letterhead to prove that the paper industry did not fall down. There are mountains of paperwork depicting the states closure of its northern half because the State is, and has been, the primary pawn of the Northern Forest Alliance. All you have to do is go back to 1985, when the "Big A Dam" was the first project in recorded history to be killed by a State Agency, demanding guaranteed employment levels from the parent company. The death of the "Big A" at the hands of our State Government also marked the beginning of the end for Millinocket, for it would be only a few short years before the dissection of our land, dams, and industry would begin with the arrival of ... BOWATER, and their "New Beginning".
We have been very gullible when it comes to our State leaders; part of being a Mainer is our need to trust in those who have been elected as our leaders. But that trust has been abused by the green movement. They have used their power, wealth, and influence to carefully mold the careers of those politicians who will do their dirty work. Why do you think it has taken more than a decade and two Governors to achieve and maintain our status of being the most anti-business state in the union?
When a state collects the titles of, "Highest State Tax," "Highest Corporate Tax," "Highest Workers Compensation," "Highest Healthcare Cost," and "Highest Unemployment Insurance." All this, while almost sharing a border with New Hampshire, one the lowest taxed states in the country. Why do you think our Governor and the Land for Maine's Future Board has been pushing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase and protect land from development? Land that is already within the boundaries of the most anti-entrepreneurial and environmentally protected State in the Country doesn't need to be further protected. What they are after is governmental control of the land. My research has uncovered the roots and origin of the "Land For Maine's Future Board" that was set up back in 1987. The Nature Conservancy was the driving force behind the installation of a green bank within our State's already overloaded bureaucracy.
The cold, cruel facts are as simple as this; to make a park in this state the people and industry must go. No one wants to explore the arrogance that follows. Simply put, they decided decades ago that our forefathers have settled into a portion of these United States that must now be uninhabited. Our forefathers made a big mistake; they cut trees, built homes and fed their families in the wrong place. Wrong according to whom? I despise the arrogance of those who sit behind the protection of a computer screen, while they use their self- proclaimed superior intellect to manipulate the rural population of a poor state. They make O Sama Bin Laden look kind. The Northern Forest Alliance has decided for us, that in order to achieve the largest continuous tract of uninhabited Wilderness in our great country, all of Northern Maine must be empty. Nothing personal, just don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
In order to understand this level of arrogance, we must first see the results of their arrogance: de-population. My wife and I attended the RESTORE "Bar-B-Que" in Greenville back in 2000. Upon our arrival we passed by and collected a variety of hand-outs available on a well placed table, we must have reached into something sacred, because we came home with a de-population list, and a map illustrating Route 11 as the perimeter road for the new park. The map dictates the towns eliminated within the new park, the list dictates the percentage of de-population projected in the areas allowed to exist. (See footnote) Back in 2000, I placed very little concern on RESTORE's ability to obtain its goals. Today I am looking at the accuracy of their four-year-old projections, asking, "What happened?"
When we left the Greenville "RESTORE Roast", I believed they were defeated. The following day, they cancelled their scheduled meeting in Millinocket. We Won! I, like others, believed that this victory was permanent, their announcement of their intentions to remove the camps and reclaim the land was so outrageous it would be their undoing. But I was wrong. To the Northern Forest Alliance this was only a minor set back. The ease of removing the camps in New York State, Vermont and New Hampshire (see footnote) was not going to happen here. It was time to go to plan B.
Michael Kellet, former New England Director of the Wilderness Society, Founder and Executive Director of RESTORE, made no apologies for his need to remove the people from his new Park. In fact, at an environmental leadership conference, held at Tufts University, both Kellet and Brock Evans of the Audubon Society, urged the audience to "Be unreasonable. You can do it. Yesterday's heresy is today's common wisdom." It happens over and over again. So I would say lets take it back. Let`s take it ALL back." (see footnote) While Evans and Kellet strongly proclaimed the need of Massachusetts to take Maine back and repair the "damage" that had occurred during three hundred years of European settlement, that message only provoked outrage in Maine. So the "alliance" changed its tactics and allowed the Nature Conservancy to take the lead.
In the 1800's, President Roosevelt led the charge to build several National Parks and preserve the true Natural jewels in this great country. The Sierra Club, at the time, was the original founder of the green movement, and was instrumental in recognizing and prioritizing our first National Parks. What had begun as a beneficial relationship between the Government and a private club has evolved into an entire society of public/private partnerships called the Northern Forest Alliance.
In 1935, a radical right wing spur was hatched from the Sierra Club called the "Wilderness Society." Its goals, as stated, were to create true "Wilderness" where man is not even a visitor; or to use their own words "Untrammeled by Man."
In 1953, The Nature Conservancy was incorporated, leaving the radicals from previous clubs behind. To give you some idea of the degree of importance that The Nature Conservancy placed on the acquisition of Maine, you need to understand that there are now 80 Chapters of the TNC: One in all 50 States, and in 30 foreign countries, they also hold a seat in the United Nations. They apparently have enough clout to be compared to a Sovereign Nation, but Maine was important enough to become their fourth chapter, incorporated way back in 1956.
You may ask, "What have they been doing here for the past 50 years?"
Look around you, do you see thriving paper companies or multiplying green groups? You cannot have both. Remember, only eighteen years ago there was softwood stacked two stories high, for miles on both sides of the Golden Road, and not a single soul knew about the TNC or the Alliance back then. Today, you would be hard pressed to find any softwood on the Golden road, but you would have no problem finding mention of several different green groups in all of the local publications, mostly trying to convince you of how great they are. The TNC was formed using a new format, building on the successes of the Public/Private Partnerships. Within these new guidelines, The Nature Conservancy was able to become the largest and most the powerful non-profit of its kind in the world.
The bulldozer style of the Wilderness Society gave the Northern Forest Alliance public relation problems across the country, especially after the Spotted Owl Campaign successfully removed 87% of the logging industry jobs from the West Coast. The success of that campaign was based largely on a lie. The green movement uses pseudo-science and half-truths to achieve its goals. While studies showing the Spotted Owl's near extinction at the hands of the logging industry were being used to de-populate the west coast, scientific studies that were performed to report on the owl's adaptability in learning to feed on new growth forest were not released until after the campaign was complete. To sum it up, they used the fact that the owl is very small and has used the high canopy of "Old Growth" forest to escape predation from larger species and support itself as a reason to end logging, when in fact, the studies performed showing the owl's ability to live in new growth forest and adapt to a changing environment never saw the light of day, at least not until it was too late for the forest industry on the west coast.
We have the same lie here in Maine today; they are called Atlantic Salmon. 400 years ago, Salmon running free into the ocean were of pure lineage and unique to Maine. Europeans brought new breeding lines to Maine in an attempt to produce larger, faster growing salmon in fish farms. Over time, leaks in the farming pens have allowed the European strains to breed with our native stock. The results of this mix was the watering down of the original Native Stock. With salmon lying in riverbeds like cordwood, we are led to believe they are near extinction. Our Government and the Northern Forest Alliance will use the sins of our forefathers, who allowed the pure breed to become mixed, to federally protect our waterways, to no good end.
Now that sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong! The Alliance has spent over three decades planning to use this, and when they finally light this candle, it will likely do the same for Maine as the Spotted Owl did for the West Coast. Why do you think you hear all these new terms in the press and on the tube? Terms like "urban interface", "fringe habitat," "underground acquifer;" these and several dozen other green phrases are now the products of the Northern Forest Alliance's war on civilization. By naming and recording every point of origin and every point of release of a single drop of water, from a collection basin to a watershed, the Alliance has connected all of Maine's 5,000 rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams, both underground and above ground. As we widen the protection areas around our waterways and find exciting new colorful names for disgusting swamps, I predict that there will be only two trailer parks and a land fill remaining that is not connected to a water supply somewhere in Maine. When they finally use the federal government to protect our waterways, they will also connect all the land.
While the Wilderness Society enjoyed the aggressive approach, there are only so many jobs, factories and people that you can eliminate before someone notices. The Nature Conservancy, however, invented a system by which everybody wins. Take Millinocket, for example. We were led to believe that the TNC was instrumental in helping Great Northern in the final months prior to its 1/10/03 bankruptcy filing. While we are hearing how the TNC does "good things," their actions simply do not reflect that result. We have lost 41,000 acres at Debsconeag, 3,500 acres at Trout Mountain. and we are supposed to believe that removing all that land from timber production forever is the best thing for our local paper company. Bowater's downsizing of 2.1 million acres to now under 400,000 acres, has left our local paper company looking to ship stock from Canada to keep the Millinocket mill going. Senator Mike Michaud claims that this is a new door opening for trade, when in fact it is the door closing on our mill's future. The result is plain for all to see.
Instead of cutting trees in this area and making stock with those trees, here at our mills, we are supposed to believe that using Canada's trees, processed into stock at a Canadian mill, pressed into blocks to ship, transported to a port, shipped to a port in Maine, off-loaded into a warehouse, and finally shipped to a mill in Millinocket ... This is a cost-effective way to make paper? It doesn't take a college degree to understand that adding five steps to a one-step process will not enhance profit. What it does enhance, however, is the public's perception that all of these entities are here to help.
If in fact, the TNC was here to help, they could, out of the goodness of their hearts, give back the 44,500 acres they removed from use, even while claiming to be helping us. In fact, if their motive, as stated, was to help, we would see some results. With $3.2 Billion in liquid assets, the TNC could purchase many third world countries. If in fact, the stability and well-being of a struggling paper company was a concern, they could return the 44,500 acres they helped themselves to, and find more available land to stabilize Katahdin Papers' lack of land/stock issues.
You will have to live a long time before you actually see a member of the Northern Forest Alliance help the logging industry. With the removal of 87% of the logging industry jobs on the West Coast and the successful removal of 17,000 manufacturing jobs in Maine, from 2000 to 2003, The Alliance has developed a new form of help - called an "Eco-Park." This is where they tell you that we need to say goodbye to the old paper industry, give it a proper burial, and let go of the past. When you hear this often enough it eventually becomes almost believable. The same thing occurs with the " Eco-Park" lie. The basic theory and workings are possible, but the application is a stretch from reality. If in fact the Eco-Park was a good alternative to replace logging and Paper industry jobs, they would be able to show you shining examples of actual places where these Eco-Parks are functioning. That is not the case, however. By showing you a successful Eco-Park, you would then learn about other communities which have had their industry taken away by the Northern Forest Alliance. You would also learn how difficult it really is to make it work. For an Eco-Park to work, the theory is simple: When you collect a bunch of small woodworking businesses on the road, the waste can be used to generate low cost heat and electricity, that would indeed benefit all in theory. In reality, this process is already fatally flawed, when a business attempts to open in the Eco-Park, it must overcome two major hurdles. First, Maine is the most Anti-entrepreneurial state in the country. While other states work to provide incentives for businesses, Maine works to provide the appearance of being business friendly (Pine Tree Zones), even while working full time to overregulate all northern Maine business out of business. Second, Eco-Park residents will need wood to cut and use, and once again, land is the issue. The land, fractured by the Bowater dissection of the 90's, will still be controlled by the Alliance.
First, we must believe that we are now somehow better off sending trinkets down the road, receiving peanuts for our efforts, than we were when we were sending truckloads of paper down the road to keep good paying jobs with benefits here. The only beneficiaries of the reduction of exports from truckloads to toothpicks are the Northern Forest Alliance and the outdoor enthusiast industry (rafting/tourism). The removal of good-paying jobs with benefits is absolutely necessary for the growth of tourism. If tourism has to compete with living wage jobs to fill its needs, anything above minimum wage will reduce profit and growth.
We should ask why the State, MAGIC, and every other job creation organization in the area have run away from helping the Moscone Bantam Boiler Company?
Three years ago, a mere hundred grand would have started a boiler factory here. With MAGIC's budget now at $270,000.00 per year, why didn't they chase after it? Answer: Boiler factories require welders at a pay scale in excess of $23.00 per hour.
It may be time to ask some very pertinent questions: "Why would any tourism-based business owner promote any manufacturing in his own community? Why would any tourism-based business owner partner up with the Northern Forest Alliance?"
The answers are coming.
David P. Cyr
Footnote: Copies of data referenced for this article are available at the "Hard drive Café", Main Street Millinocket.