News coverage: writing about the environment

Since I spent so much time working as a journalist in Maine, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that writing about the environment was an almost-daily assignment. A lot of Maine people consider themselves to be environmentalists, and newspaper editors knew that and loved to get environmental stories from the wire services. Back in the 70s, power generating projects tended to be huge. In Maine, there were two big proposed power generating projects — the Passamaquoddy project, which was to generate power from ebbing and flowing tides; and the Dickey-Lincoln Hydroelectric project, two dams that would have flooded thousands of acres of forest land in northern Maine. I wrote scores of stories about both, mostly Dickey-Lincoln. Neither project was ever built.


AUGUSTA, Maine (UPI) – The head of the Maine Natural Resources Council told the legislative Committee on Energy Wednesday that the proposed Dickey Lincoln Hydroelectric Project could result in more than 30,000 acres of exposed mudflats during several weeks of the year.

Clifford Goodall said the hydroelectric project is flawed because the area would not have enough water to operate efficiently.

The Dickey Lincoln dam would create a long, slender lake instead of a lake concentrated in one area, and dropping the level of the lake to make room for spring runoff waters would result in 33,600 acres of exposed mudflats.

“Hydroelectric projects require water, and there just isn’t that much water up there,” Goodall said. “Passamaquoddy has the water. Dickey Lincoln has practically none.”

“If you’re going to dam up all this water in the spring, you have about a 10-month span in which you are going to let it out,” he said.

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