Wiscasset residents sought for nuclear meeting

Posted:  Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:45pm
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Wiscasset selectmen hope they can fill a bus with residents interested in attending a meeting hosted by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. The meeting will address the issue of finding a permanent storage site for nuclear waste temporarily stored at the Maine Yankee site and other former and active nuclear plants.

The meeting is slated for Thursday, June 2, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency at One Avenue De Lafayette in Boston.

Vice Chairman Judy Flanagan and Town Planner Ben Averill both plan to attend. “It would be wonderful if we could take a busload of residents with us,” Flanagan commented Tuesday night when the board met for a regular meeting in the hearing room. Flanagan said she wished the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy held a similar meeting in every community like Wiscasset left with radioactive waste from a decommissioned nuclear power plant.

From 1972 until 1997, Wiscasset was home to Maine Yankee, the state’s only nuclear power plant. It was permanently shut down in 1997 and is one of several former nuclear power plants in New England where spent nuclear waste is being stored above ground using dry casks. Similar storage facilities are located in Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts.

According to the Office of Nuclear Energy website, http://energy.gov/ne/consent-based-siting, the DOE is in the “initial phase of developing a consent-based process for siting the facilities needed to store and dispose of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

A consent-based approach for developing a permanent storage site “relies on understanding the views of the public, stakeholders, and government at the local, state and tribal levels,” according to the DOE.

The hearing is an opportunity for New England communities like Wiscasset where nuclear waste is stored to participate in the discussion.  DOE states it will use the input in “the design of a consent-based siting process, which will in turn serve as a framework for engaging with potential host communities in the future.”

Residents interested in attending the meeting can contact the town office during business hours.  They can also email Town Manager Marian Anderson townmanager@wiscasset.org.

Making a plan

Selectmen accepted a bid of $2,870 from Stockwell Environmental Consulting of Southport to assist the town’s conservation commission in developing a natural resources and management plan for the Montsweag Dam Preserve.

The town took on the responsibility of the property when it accepted a gift of 22 acres from Central Maine Power in March 2013.  The land, including the dam, was given on the condition it be used for conservation and recreation purposes and came with a gift of $100,000 from CMP to be used for stewardship and monitoring.

Selectmen previously authorized the Conservation Commission to spend up to $2,500 from the preserve's $100,000 stewardship fund to hire a consultant.

Other business

Selectmen voted to proceed with the lien process for unpaid sewer bills over 90-days. The amount totals $49,050. The town office will send notices to the delinquent ratepayers notifying them they plan to start the lien process.

Selectman Jeff Slack motioned to allow firemen to wash their private vehicles at the firehouse but once again the motion was defeated. Rines and Slack voted in favor. Selectmen Flanagan, Judith Colby and David Cherry were opposed. The issue will be discussed again at the board’s May 17 meeting.

Vicki Hersom was appointed to the Committee on the Appearance of the Town and to the board of trustees overseeing the Wiscasset Community Center Scholarship.

Following a public hearing selectmen renewed a Liquor License for Le Garage Restaurant on Water Street.

 Statement read

Before the board adjourned, Flanagan read a statement concerning a comment Rines had directed to her at the board’s April 28 budget session. “[He] announced that I had ‘sandbagged’ him with my motion to include an article on the (town meeting) warrant. This motion and another related article had been discussed at several previous Board meetings,” she read aloud from a statement.

Flanagan’s issue was with the chairman’s “demeanor” in addressing her. “His tone was inappropriate for a member of the Board of Selectmen while addressing another member or anyone else in attendance,” she said.

“In the future,” she continued, “I would hope that he will be more able to state his disagreements and beliefs by following our own Rules of Order and Procedure. May we all show each other the respect we and our positions deserve.”

Asked for his response Rines said, “I don’t regret my comments.”