Watts Offers Settlement on Sebago Lake Lawsuit

Roger Wheeler of Friends of Sebago Lake has sent out my Maine Superior Court appeal, filed May 8, 2013, for the Maine DEP water quality certification issued in August 2011 for the Eel Weir Dam at Sebago Lake. This U.S. Clean Water Act certification will legally control the health of Sebago Lake for the next 30-40 years. It’s an important legal document.
 
What you might not know is that for many years FOSL and myself have been trying to amicably resolve the few outstanding issues at the dam and the lake with both the State and S.D. Warren. In 2011 a number of issues were resolved amicably, but several remained unsolved. These issues are putting in an inexpensive aluminum fishway at the Eel Weir Dam which can be used by native Sebago salmon; putting a reasonable amount of water back in the Eel Weir ‘bypass’ below the dam so native Sebago salmon can spawn and live in it; and allowing Sebago Lake to fall low enough in the fall and winter to allow for natural beach re-building and restoration.
 
Upon filing my court suit in December 2012 I wrote to the State and S.D. Warren’s attorneys and asked them to sit down with me and try to resolve the few remaining issues at the dam instead of going to court. Both the State and Warren refused my offer to even have a single face-to-face meeting. This week, with my Superior Court pleading filed and completed, I have again extended to the State and S.D. Warren the same invitation to sit down and try to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution and avoid a lengthy, expensive court case for all parties.
 
The actual ‘defendant’ in my Superior Court lawsuit is the Maine DEP, who issued the Clean Water Act certification. The MDEP is represented by the Maine Dept. of Attorney General. S.D. Warren, as the dam owner, is what is considered a ‘party-in-interest’ and have their own lawyers. If you are a Maine citizen, the Maine Dept. of Attorney General works for you. You are their employer. The Maine AG’s office can decide tomorrow to sit down with me and try to work out a rational and reasonable outcome at Sebago which respects the law and protects the lake’s health for the next 30-40 years. Since the AG’s office works for you, the citizens of Maine, you can write and call and ask them to sit down and at least talk with me and see if we can at least try to reach a resolution which everyone can live with. The attorney assigned to this case is Assistant Attorney General Jerry Reid. His email address is:
 
Jerry.Reid@maine.gov
 
I would invite you to write to Mr. Reid and ask him why the State of Maine and its Dept. of Attorney General  is not even willing to sit down with me for one hour and see if we can settle this case and save the State tens of thousands of dollars in court and lawyer’s costs, all of which you will have to pay.
 
The key issues in the appeal are described in document  which Roger Wheeler distributed to you. I’ve further summarized the basic themes on FOSL’s blog page at:
 
 
I sincerely believe that all of the outstanding issues at the Eel Weir Dam can be amicably resolved through negotiation — if given the chance — and at minimal cost to S.D. Warren. But for this positive and low-cost outcome to happen the State and S.D. Warren need to at least agree to sit down at the table with me and talk like normal human people do. This is all I am asking for. 
 
Thanks for your help and support, 
 
Doug Watts
 
P.S. My most recent settlement invitation to the State and S.D. Warren  is copied below: 
 
—–
From: info@dougwatts.com [mailto:info@dougwatts.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 02:15 PM
To: ‘Matt Manahan’, ”Reid, Jerry”, ‘info@dougwatts.com’, ‘Cathy Connors’
Subject: Re: Watts Pleading in BCD-AP-13-01
Jerry, Matt, Cathy — The WQC reservations of authority for post-certification action by DEP for fish passage and for water quality could be used as post-certification vehicles to address the very specific issues raised in my appeal. This route would not require any amendment to the WQC itself, but could be conducted entirely post-certification as individual administrative actions under the certification as issued in August 2011. For this reason, I will again extend to both the State and S.D. Warren my interest in attempting to pursue a meaningful, negotiated resolution of the actual issues still at large through such a procedural vehicle.
Thanks,
Doug

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