Since former industry lobbyist Patricia Aho took over the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine has missed critical deadlines related to
the once-in-a-quarter-century federal re-licensing of three separate dam projects. By dropping the ball -- and, thus, removing Maine from the court of
play -- Aho's DEP allowed the owners of the Flagstaff, West Branch, and Forest City dam projects to make easy layups, avoiding
possible concessions on water levels, recreation, fish habitat protection and other issues. Maine has never before missed such a deadline.
In today's Maine Sunday Telegram, I report on the results of a public records request we submitted in an effort to figure out what's been going on. Amazingly, the DEP came within hours of missing a fourth deadline -- for the Brassua dam in western Maine -- which would have been a boon to Florida Power and Light, which was closing the sale of it and the Flagstaff dam to another company. Emails and other documents show the department relicensing effort in disarray.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.