PROTECT MAINE: OPPOSE LOW MILITARY FLIGHTS

Military jets flying (video) at 500 mph and 500 ft overhead are meant to be terrifying in combat but they can be a devastating shock to unsuspecting civilians, farm animals and wildlife, especially in areas as pristine and vulnerable as those of western Maine. That, however, is precisely what the Mass. Air National Guard (MA ANG) is proposing for the Condor Military Operations Area (MOA), covering more than  2.5 million acres of Western Maine.

READ ON FOR MORE INFORMATION AND THE PETITION...

The proposal originated in the late 1980s and included a required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It was reviewed and soundly rejected in 1992 by Republican Governor McKernan as "an unacceptable threat to Maine's economic and environmental resources and public health". In 2007 the ANG issued a similar proposal, accompanied by a much less rigorous Environmental Assessment (EA), claiming that the flights would have 'no significant impact'.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PETITION ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We the undersigned are alarmed by the Massachusetts Air National Guard's unacceptable treatment of our concerns regarding proposed changes to the CONDOR Military Operations Area in western Maine. Our concerns are centered on the scenic landscape of western Maine which is the heart of the region's economic life. It is our single most marketable asset, attracting a diverse and growing population and crucially important tourism. Known facts surrounding this issue show that our future is jeopardized by the current CONDOR proposal.

A key aspect of the CONDOR proposal is to lower the minimum fighter training altitude from 7,000 feet to a mere 500 feet above much of our area. It is our concern that such a drastic change would have huge negative impact on this region which is already reeling from the current economic tailspin.

At our request and after reviewing the proposal, Maine's Attorney General, Department of Transportation, our bipartisan Maine Delegation and Governor Baldacci all rejected the required Environmental Assessment section as unsatisfactory because of shoddy, contradictory, and incomplete documentation. They requested a full Environmental Impact Statement that would require rigorous evaluation of: 1) all potential impacts and risks and 2) alternative mission solutions. The ANG agreed to do that.

In record time they re-issued the proposal with an EIS that was little more than the old EA, re-named. The EIS failed to evaluate the potential for negative impact on important areas including:

    * 144 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail
    * 1,260 acres of the White Mountain National Forest
    * 3,860 acres of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
    * Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Lands
    * Grafton Notch State Park
    * Mount Blue State Park
    * Rangeley Lake State Park
    * Six Wildlife Management Areas
    * Caribou-Speckle Mtn. Wilderness Region
    * Connecticut Lakes Natural Area - run by the fish and game of NH, covering over 14,000 acres
    * High Peaks Region - the State of Maine has designated 59,790 acres of land protected; additional 46,344 acres is proposed for protection. 
    * Numerous areas protected by local and state Land Trusts
    * Androscoggin River Canoe Trail
    * Northern Forest Canoe Trail
    * Penobscot Nation Tribal Lands

The questions and concerns of those of us who call this region home deserve to be treated with respect and due diligence, especially when our ability to survive economically is in the balance. We ask that the FAA not approve the MA ANG CCONDOR proposal, that the Maine Congressional Delegation join with Governor Baldacci in rejecting it, and that the Massachusetts ANG withdraw it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After signing, please visit http://www.westernmainematters.org/ for up-to-date documentation, news, and relevant information.


We the undersigned are alarmed by the Massachusetts Air National Guard's unacceptable treatment of our concerns regarding proposed changes to the CONDOR Military Operations Area in western Maine. Our concerns are centered on the scenic landscape of western Maine which is the heart of the region's economic life. It is our single most marketable asset, attracting a diverse and growing population and crucially important tourism. Known facts surrounding this issue show that our future is jeopardized by the current CONDOR proposal.


A key aspect of the CONDOR proposal is to lower the minimum fighter training altitude from 7,000 feet to a mere 500 feet above much of our area. It is our concern that such a drastic change would have huge negative impact on this region which is already reeling from the current economic tailspin.


At our request and after reviewing the proposal, Maine's Attorney General, Department of Transportation, our bipartisan Maine Delegation and Governor Baldacci all rejected the required Environmental Assessment section as unsatisfactory because of shoddy, contradictory, and incomplete documentation. They requested a full Environmental Impact Statement that would require rigorous evaluation of: 1) all potential impacts and risks and 2) alternative mission solutions. The ANG agreed to do that.


In record time they re-issued the proposal with an EIS that was little more than the old EA, re-named. The EIS failed to evaluate the potential for negative impact on important areas including:

    * 144 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail
    * 1,260 acres of the White Mountain National Forest
    * 3,860 acres of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
    * Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Lands
    * Grafton Notch State Park
    * Mount Blue State Park
    * Rangeley Lake State Park
    * Six Wildlife Management Areas
    * Caribou-Speckle Mtn. Wilderness Region
    * Connecticut Lakes Natural Area - run by the fish and game of NH, covering over 14,000 acres
    * High Peaks Region - the State of Maine has designated 59,790 acres of land protected; additional 46,344 acres is proposed for protection.
    * Numerous areas protected by local and state Land Trusts
    * Androscoggin River Canoe Trail
    * Northern Forest Canoe Trail
    * Penobscot Nation Tribal Lands


The questions and concerns of those of us who call this region home deserve to be treated with respect and due diligence, especially when our ability to survive economically is in the balance. We ask that the FAA not approve the MA ANG CONDOR proposal, that the Maine Congressional Delegation join with Governor Baldacci in rejecting it, and that the Massachusetts ANG withdraw it.


Thank you for your consideration and timely action on this matter.

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