page last modified December 13, 2013   57346.

Stop the East-West Corridor

Highlights
  • Sangerville citizens adopted a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance to protect them from unwanted construction. This is the first such RBO anywhere in the country specifically protecting a municipality from infrastructure projects built without the consent of voters; it is the fourth rights-based ordinance in Maine. See page on RBOs and Bangor Daily News article, September 19, 2013 and video on the Sangerville meeting
  • The Maine Small Business Coalition, representing more than 3,400 small businesses in Maine, has announced its opposition to construction of the East-West Corridor: See MSBC Resolution

Maine citizens from all over the State came together to form Stop the East-West Corridor in early 2012. They are concerned about the proposal to build an East-West Transportation, Communications, and Utilities Corridor across Maine. As proposed, the Corridor would seriously affect many communities and businesses all across the state and would irrevocably change its rural nature.

About us--our mission.

Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro Corporation, proposes building a 500- to 2000-foot-wide fenced swath that would bisect Maine from border to border--from Coburn Gore to Calais. greensplitMaine For now, the proposal includes a private, gated toll highway to accommodate high-speed truck traffic along that swath; Vigue is vague about whether it would, as expected, eventually incorporate pipelines in addition to truck traffic to transport oil and natural gas from Alberta and fracking fields in Quebec and New Brunswick or other natural resources from Maine. This could be the largest development project that the State of Maine has ever seen. [more about the corridor]

We are opposed to this corridor for many reasons. While it may benefit Canadian and a few Maine corporate interests, it does not offer economic benefit to Maine citizens, and it will seriously degrade quality of life and environmental conditions for people and wildlife alike, robbing the State of features valuable to tourism.

Cianbro's project promoter Darryl Brown tells audiences his route planners are trying to avoid conservation land, wetlands, vernal pools, and designated wildlife management areas as much as possible, but common sense tells us that highways built for high-speed heavyweight tandem-truck traffic cannot weave around every environmentally sensitive feature along the way. Instead, wetlands would be filled in; ramps, roadbeds, and bridge abutments would be built up; asphalt would be mixed; interchanges and service facilities would be developed. Where would all that sand and gravel come from? How much of Maine's uniquely well-preserved glacial landscape would be scraped up and used to build the highway? What about the aquifers under the gravel, the streamsheds, lakes, and ponds fed by them? What will happen to the cold-water fisheries? What besides Asian commodities and Canadian products will trucks be carrying? Accidents involving heavy trucks have heavy consequences. What about chemical and fuel spills, de-icing and runoff? The environmental impacts could be disastrous and very expensive if not impossible to clean up, affecting the whole region downstream to the coast.

We are not opposed to road development and other improvements that would better connect Maine with Canada and with markets in the U.S. But such a sensitively routed, state-of-the-art highway as proposed would be expensive to build---over four times the cost of improving east-west rail lines between Montreal and eastern Canada, as estimated by the Sierra Club. Rail transport is exponentially safer than truck transport, with far less environmental impact. Many people ask, why is rail not good enough to meet demand for faster east-west freight transport? Proponents of the Corridor say trucks do better at meeting global demand for just-in-time delivery. Or is there something else in the pipeline? Maine's existing east-west rail lines, running not far north of the proposed Corridor route, are already being used to transport crude oil from the Midwest and Alberta (including at least one test run of tar-sands oil) to the Irving refinery in St. John.

The proposed route aligns with convenient export of other natural resources in eastern and northern Maine, increasingly valuable in the global economy. Could the Corridor open the door to more wind farms and transmission lines? What about eastern Maine's abundant supply of fresh water, not just for human consumption but for gas fracking?

Cianbro is promoting the Corridor as a construction and economic development project; who are the investors? As some have asked, is it possible a swath across Maine might belong to someone from China? Cianbro representatives admit that foreign ownership is not only possible but likely.

(See more about such concerns in this Bangor Daily News OpEd, Crosen.)

This petition from Garland captures the heart of the matter: Garland Petition


video: Vigue Proposal Debunked (YouTube)


Discussion on This Issue
of the East-West Corridor. Internet Archive --- Community Video

See also News articles about the East-West Corridor and about similar projects nationwide


We, the citizens of Maine, love the place we call home. Our sense of place is what defines us. When it's gone, it's gone forever.


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