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.
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.
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.
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).
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.