Imbalanced on 2 points

Times Record, January 31, 2008

To the editor:

While the headline "Eel appeals renew dam debate" in your Jan. 22 edition was wonderful and the article very detailed, I believe it failed to make the two most important points about why this issue should matter to readers of The Times Record and, in fact, all Maine citizens.

The first point is that when eels, alewives, blueback herring and other forage species (those on which larger fish depend for food) are denied safe and effective passage to and from their spawning and nursery habitats by ladder-less dams and fish-killing turbines, the entire Gulf of Maine fishery suffers.

When we over-fish at one end and block spawning access at the other, the results are predictably grim; the fishery collapses and effects are felt throughout our eco- and economic systems.

Second, and why our appeal should be of great interest even to those who may not care about the Gulf of Maine, is that the Superior Court has now decided an agency's discretionary decision may not be appealed despite specific statutory language to the contrary.

Readers may have any number of reasons to go before a state or local agency or board perhaps with issues related to medical,construction, insurance or environmental concerns. With the current court rulings, you no longer have the right to appeal the decision received.

Our government is based on a system of checks and balances. The right to appeal, so fundamental to our democracy, is threatened here.

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay feels strongly about preserving that right. This is why we are taking our eel appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Ed Friedman
chairman
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay Bowdoinham