Letter: State playing games with Brunswick train barn

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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection waited until the last minute to inform the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority that they had issues with NNEPRA’s storm-water permit application for the proposed Brunswick layover facility. Remember this is the same application that NNEPRA filed and MDEP granted last year.

Commissioner Patricia Aho’s letter listed 21 items for NNEPRA to address. Many seem irrelevant to the subject of the permit. Take item No. 15, which reiterates what NNEPRA has told DEP is the purpose of the Brunswick layover facility, i.e., general cleaning of the cars, resupplying of the cafe car, and refueling. How does this qualify as a flaw in the storm-water application? Or item No. 16: “Please provide plans for septic pump-out, including frequency and timing, (etc.)” Again, nothing to do with storm water.

Some half-dozen items simply ask NNEPRA to let DEP know if the project design or operations change.

Was there really no other way to handle these details? Do all applicants for environmental permits get to play “Chutes and Ladders” with the DEP, or is the game just for applicants, like NNEPRA, who have somehow displeased the commissioner or her boss?

Freeport and Brunswick want this layover facility built.

Emily Boochever