Augusta, ME – The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) has awarded Russell Pierce, Esq., of the Portland-based law firm of Norman, Hanson and DeTroy, a 2009 Environmental Award for his unwavering efforts for the protection of Moosehead Lake.
The award is given each year by NRCM to an individual or group whose actions have made a real difference at the local or regional level in the protection of Maine’s environment.
Pierce’s efforts were focused on Seattle-based Plum Creek’s plan to build vacation homes and resorts on the spectacularly beautiful north end of Moosehead Lake, on remote trout ponds scattered around Moosehead Lake, and on the shorelines of Moosehead and other lakes and ponds. Pierce’s efforts, on behalf of NRCM, helped send the $5 billion company back to the drawing board to scale back its plans three different times.
Each iteration of the plan—each about 1,000 pages long—had to be read, analyzed, and responded to. “NRCM was ably represented throughout every step of this long, exhausting process by the law firm of Norman, Hanson and DeTroy. The firm contributed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of free legal assistance for which we are unspeakably grateful. And the human being who did all that work on behalf of the firm was our attorney and fearless leader, Russ Pierce,” says Brownie Carson, executive director of NRCM.
“Russ’s passion for protecting the Moosehead region was evident from the beginning,” says Carson. “His love of hiking and the outdoors is second to none. How much easier it is to work with someone who shares your values, so that when you use a phrase like ‘the largest development proposal in Maine history’ you know the person knows not only what that means in total acreage, but understands what it means to the heart and soul of one of Maine’s most breathtaking places.”
The organization cites Pierce’s willingness to work days, nights, and weekends, for weeks and weeks on end—which soon became months and months—as evidence of his commitment to protecting one of Maine’s, and the nation’s, most treasured places. As NRCM staff and legal team labored through each version of Plum Creek’s plan, organized the testimony of its witnesses and read, evaluated, and prepared cross examination for over 170 Plum Creek and other parties’ witnesses, Pierce’s capacity to absorb, evaluate, respond to, and recall thousands of pages of testimony proved essential.
Pierce’s hard work and dedication helped NRCM make the case for better conservation for the easement portion of the monstrous proposal, and a final plan that pulled development off some of the region’s most remote and spectacular areas.
“For his passion, intelligence, hard work, and untiring commitment to the cause,” says Carson, “NRCM could not be more pleased to give to Russ Pierce a 2009 Environmental Award.”