Millinocket, ME - James Nadeau, a member of the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), still has pending enforcement actions involving him under the very laws he is supposed to be administering, according to agency documents released today by Maine Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In a letter sent to the Governor this week, Maine PEER has called for the Nadeau's dismissal as commissioner.
The violations arose from Nadeau's role managing the towns of Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation in which four construction projects were undertaken without required LURC permits. In three cases, one dating back to 1994, the towns followed through on promised actions or paid fines.
"Given Mr. Nadeau's total disregard for LURC regulations, his position on its Commission only weakens the credibility of a state agency that is already spread too thin," stated Tim Caverly, Director of Maine PEER and a long-time former Department of Conservation employee. LURC acts as the local planning and zoning board for 10.4 million acres of Maine's unorganized territories
In a January 29, 2004 letter to the Governor's office, LURC staff wrote, "One concern that has arisen is the number of LURC violations Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation have sustained connected to Nadeau in his position as selectperson." But last March, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee approved Nadeau's appointment as commissioner after he denied involvement in the recorded violations during the time he served as town manager for Eagle Lake and Chairman of the Board of Assessors for Winterville.
Documents uncovered by Maine PEER not only detail Nadeau's involvement but also show that Nadeau has disregarded requests by LURC to resolve three LURC violations:
- Winterville harvested wood in a sub-district without a permit. Nadeau signed off on a six hundred dollar penalty as part of a Settlement Agreement. Also as part of the May 12th, 1994 agreement, the Plantation was required to petition LURC to rezone additional land to Fish and Wildlife Protection Sub district (P-FW). The agreement also stipulated that if the land was not rezoned, the Plantation was to pay an additional twenty eight hundred dollars in civil penalties. The land has not been rezoned nor has the civil penalty been paid;
- In 1997, Winterville operated a commercial mineral extraction pit without a permit. According to documents, "this activity continued without corrective action for several years after (violation) notification was given." As a resolution, LURC required the Plantation to complete remedial action by October 1st, 2003. The remedial work has not been completed; and
- In 2002, the Town of Eagle Lake, under direction of Nadeau, constructed a road extension without a permit and while doing so trespassed on state property. This is still an active enforcement case and documents show that once the violation was discovered, Nadeau was uncooperative in providing a completed permit application. In addition, the Town was issued an after the fact lease for the use of state land in September 2003. The Town of Eagle Lake, under Nadeau's leadership, was able to trespass on publicly owned land for almost a year without any apparent consequences.
"The only way LURC is going to get Mr. Nadeau's attention is for them to impose daily penalties beginning the first day and lasting until each of the violations are corrected," added Caverly. "In order for the Governor to show that he is serious about supporting state agencies in upholding the law, he should ask for Mr. Nadeau's resignation."
See the summary of the LURC violations committed by the Town of Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation