MAINE - At its annual meeting earlier in December, the Maine Woods Coalition membership unanimously voted to adopt a resolution condemning a recent series of vandalism attacks against the property of Plum Creek and the property of several individuals and companies affiliated with or thought to be affiliated with the company. The resolution also offers a $500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attacks.
The most serious incidents occurred during the overnight hours on October 31 when a business was vandalized in Greenville and homes were attacked in Hallowell, Greenville, and Fairfield. It is believed one of the homes was a case of mistaken identity, since the owners had no affiliation at all with Plum Creek.
Plum Creek is a land management company that has proposed to rezone about 426,000 acres of its land around the Greenville area. About 417,000 acres would be kept for traditional uses such as forestry, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and other recreational pursuits. The remaining 9,000 acres, or 2% of the project area, would be designated for camp lots, affordable housing, campgrounds, resort development, and industrial development. The company has submitted the initial plan to the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission for approval and is now in the process of revising that plan, based on public input received on the project so far. A number of environmental groups have taken positions in opposition to the project.
The Maine Woods Coalition passed the resolve to bring attention to these attacks and to attempt to bring the criminals to justice through offering a reward. "While the reward is only $500.00, it is my hope that other like-minded groups, businesses, and individuals in north central and western Maine will consider supporting the efforts of law enforcement by offering their own rewards," said Eugene J. Conlogue, Vice Chairman of the Coalition. "It is repugnant to the citizens of Maine that eco-terrorists can vandalize and attack the property of others simply because they disagree with what a company is trying to do with its land. This is especially true for Plum Creek since it is proposing a bold project that will enhance recreational opportunities, create needed employment, and increase the tax base of the greater Greenville area. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to muzzle legitimate debate and violate the rights of others by resorting to criminal behavior. This is not the Maine way of resolving issues and it cannot be tolerated."
The criminal activities took place in Kennebec, Somerset, and Piscataquis Counties. The respective district attorneys and police departments will be notified of the reward being offered, according to Conlogue.
The Coalition was formed in January of 2001 to promote appropriate economic development in the counties of Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, and Aroostook and to oppose the creation of a Maine Woods National Park in the area. Membership is open to those who share the purposes of the group and live in or have businesses or property in the four-county area.
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