Maine Child Woken By Rocket Test In Brunswick, Many More To Come

Illustration of a rocket being launched with graphics indicating extreme noise levels.
Source: Popular Mechanics “How The Noise Of Big Rockets Breaks Apart Buildings”

A friend of mine received an email from a friend of his in Brunswick, Maine this week:

Did you hear this last night? I thought of you when my 8 year old came running into my room terrified and crying after they woke him up.

https://www.wmtw.com/article/maine-company-successfully-test-fires-rocket/41347930

If you can imagine being 8 years old again, you are probably aware of the threat of war breaking out. (At least I was at that age.) Even if you are not, a terribly loud industrial sound — loud enough to wake you up — could send you running in tears to your parents to ask them what’s going on. 

The parents were alarmed by the loud noise also, but didn’t find out until the following day that it was bluShift Aerospace testing one of the rockets it intends to launch from the Maine coast at Steuben, near Acadia National Park. The company’s headquarters, however, is in Brunswick, a heavily populated area where they plan several more tests.

Photo from Twitter user Scott Gustin showing a fireball and black smoke at a rocket launch site in Florida.
Explosion rocks SpaceX test launch site during test

Brunswick already gets hit hard by excessive noise every time a military air show comes to town. Last time the Blue Angels performed, a sonic boom cracked the sliding glass doors of another friend of mine, a woman in her 90’s. Her daughter contacted the Brunswick Landing folks who hosted the airshow, but no compensation for the damage was offered.

I continue to be mystified about two things:

  • What democratic process was used in Steuben to determine that rocket launches would be allowed there? Or in Brunswick to determine if the public wants to endure this level of noise pollution?
  • When will environmental groups and activists in Maine wake up to the environmental harms of a rocket launch site on the coast? BluShift plans up to 35 launches per year from the Steuben site! I’ve reached out to Sierra Club of Maine, 350 Maine, and several other groups. But if they are beholden to the Democratic Party, they will likely continue to look the other way.

According to her recent newsletter to constituents, Brunswick’s Senator Mattie Daughtry (a Democrat) is full of self-congratulation over her authorship of this bill. Clearly she is representing moneyed interests in Maine, not schoolchildren who deserve not to be terrified awake on a school night.

Sand beach with large piece of twisted metal and a local bird in Texas.
Wilson’s Plover with debris from SpaceX operations in Boca Chica, Texas. Image credit: Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP)

Those of us in Maine who are paying attention have a website, NoToxicRockets4ME.org, where you can find out more about this environmental issue plus the experiences of other places (Kodiak, New Zealand) where rocket launch sites have been built. Locals are promised that what they will get in return for the industrialization of a pristine coastal spot is jobs (which don’t materialize) and no military use (which does materialize).

Map of Maine coast showing close proximity of Acadia National Park to Steuben.
Steuben, Maine is outlined in red

I hope Mainers wake up before campers in Acadia are awakened by loud noises scaring children and disrupting wildlife in what was once a peaceful spot.

Worth A Read: Today’s Curated Short List

Source: Consortium News

Some days my morning reading is especially rich. It’s mostly delivered via email now that social media platforms are thoroughly controlled by our corporate overlords. 

In the spirit of pre-covid social media, 

here’s my curated short list of what’s currently worth a read:

Margaret Kimberley

Decolonizing the Mind

Edward Snowden

America’s Open Wound: The CIA Is Not Your Friend

Caitlin Johnstone

Biden Keeps Pledging Direct U.S. War With China Over Taiwan

U.S. Lawmakers Say Student Loan Forgiveness Will Hurt Military Recruiting

Matt Taibbi

What Happened to America’s Civil Libertarians?

The Justice Department Was Dangerous Before Trump. It’s Out Of Control Now.

Sonali Kolhatkar

The Cult Of Positive Thinking (a tribute to Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-Sided)

Ray McGovern

“Stable as mountains” Putin and Xi in Samarkand

Chris Hedges

Strike! Strike! Strike!