Dump Documents Dispatch #12
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As early as May, 2003 the DEP Commissioner and her staff were looking to the Governor's office for direction in how to manage the West Old Town Landfill issue (see for instance Dispatch #6, where Gallagher tells her waste management head, "I don't think we should answer this e-mail until we meet with the gov's office.").
In the messages below (and we apologize for the poor quality of some of the scans - the format and quality of the original documents was not good in some cases) the story of the Governor's involvement continues into 2004. Many messages and memos we have obtained reflect an overall pattern of involvement that brings the autonomy of DEP and its Commissioner into question. The crisis that prompted the messages below was the possiblity, perhaps nearing certainty, that the City of Brewer would press forward with its demand that the Board of Environmental Protection take original jurisdiction in this licensing process.
That move would create a major problem for the project's timetable, and would mean a huge setback for the requirements of Georgia-Pacific (see Dispatch #17) which originally wanted the deal to be closed in December, so that the cash involved could be made available to their corporate headquarters in Atlanta by the end of 2003. As we have already seen, the entire deal was already thought to be in jeopardy, whether "really" or just due to G-P's tactical decision to postpone the closing in order to squeeze more concessions out of both the State and Casella (for a glimpse, see Dispatch #8). Now they were asking, would they be forced to give up on their timetable totally, and also have to turn control of the process over to the BEP?
The tone of these messages is one of great concern. We are compelled to ask, why would Cyndi Darling, DEP's project manager in Bangor, feel the need to initiate these messages on Jan. 1, a day that for most of the world (including most State bureaucrats) is a legal holiday? (See Cyndi's Outstanding Bureaucratic Service Award, Dispatch #15) And how telling is it that her message went first to Tom Doyle, attorney for G-P at the time (or was he already working for Casella by Jan. 1 of this year?). Of particular interest are the marching orders from Alan Stearns, the Governor's assistant: "tighten this up ... make the meeting happen ... keep me in the loop." The tightened process apparently worked out. By the end of the month Brewer had withdrawn its request for BEP jurisdiction, though the full story of how that happened is only partly known.
Just as we asked about the memo in Dispatch #4, who are these people working for? Tom Doyle clearly is "in the loop" -- he's getting e-mails from the State on holiday. Alan Stearns also is in the loop, though from his perspective the loop needs to be "tightened up" a bit. Who is not in the loop? Certainly the five people and organizations who asked for a public hearing about this project are not in the loop. And the citizens of the Old Town region are not in the loop. Cyndi Darling is not calling us up on holidays to give us the latest skinny. That's a fact.
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