The Natural Resources Council of Maine announced today it is appealing the state’s approval of Plum Creek Timber Co.’s development proposal for the Moosehead Lake region.
“We believe that LURC violated established laws governing how the agency was required to conduct this proceeding,” Brownie Carson, NRCM’s executive director, said in a written statement.
The group filed its Superior Court appeal one day after a similar appeal was filed by the Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The North Woods.
Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission approved Plum Creek’s historic zoning request last month. The 30-year plan allows the company to create 975 house lots and two resorts, and includes permanent conservation protection for about 400,000 acres of working forest.
NRCM is arguing that the land use commission, in effect, “approved a final concept plan that was substantially written by its own staff and consultants, who acted as advocates for the plan. The concept plan includes elements that we believe never would have been approved had LURC not exceeded its legal authority,” according to Carson.
The group argues the commission should have rejected the plan in 2008 when it concluded it did not meet the regulatory criteria. The state could then have created zoning for the region that was not based on a pending development proposal.
“This court action should result in a better future for the Moosehead Lake region, either through a true regional planning process initiated by LURC, or by a scaled back development proposal offered by Plum Creek,” Carson said.
Luke Muzzy, Plum Creek’s project manager, said earlier this week that at least one appeal was expected and that the company had not decided whether or not to move ahead with its plans in the meantime. Plum Creek has taken a long-term view of the project, he said.