Millinocket, ME -- Contrary to agency assurances, James Nadeau, Commissioner of the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), still has unresolved penalties 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 late July, citing four pending enforcement actions, Maine PEER asked the Governor John Baldacci to dismiss Nadeau from the LURC Commission. In response, Catherine Carroll, the LURC Director assured Maine PEER Director Tim Caverly in an August 18 email that "three LURC violations have been resolved and closed out."
Documents obtained by Maine PEER, however, show that one of the three cases has not been closed out and the fourth case was closed without any penalty. "Both of these violations could have been avoided if Mr. Nadeau had followed proper procedures, now they need to be properly resolved," stated Maine PEER Director Tim Caverly, a long-time former Department of Conservation employee.
Mr. Nadeau has been the Town Manager of Eagle Lake since 1994 and Chairman of the Board of Assessors for Winterville Plantation since 1977. Last Spring he was appointed as a LURC Commissioner despite his record of violating LURC Standards by denying responsibility for the four violations that were committed by the two municipalities since 1992. The two violations at issue are –
· The Plantation of Winterville has not fulfilled provisions required by a 1994 Settlement Agreement. In the legally binding document James Nadeau, as First Assessor for the Plantation, agreed to resolve the Plantation's violations of LURC Standards, including harvesting in a deer wintering area and failing to file the necessary notifications with the Commission. According to LURC documents, the harvesting resulted in significant loss of prime deer wintering shelter. The Plantation admitted responsibility and in addition to the Plantation paying a six hundred dollar fine ($600), Nadeau agreed to pay two thousand eight hundred dollars ($2800) by July 15th, 1994 unless by that date Winterville Plantation had successfully petitioned to rezone to a Fish and Wildlife Protection Subdistrict. The land has not been rezoned nor has Winterville paid the required penalty; and
· In 2002, LURC sent the Town of Eagle Lake a Letter of Warning for violations of Standards that occurred. According to LURC documents the Town cleared, filed and graded approximately a 10,000 square foot area without the necessary LURC permits. In addition Eagle Lake compounded the violation by trespassing on state land without acquiring right, title or interest to the site. Last August LURC issued a Letter of Warning to the Town for undertaking the work without a permit and without permission of the landowner. Almost a year after the trespass the Bureau of Parks and Lands issued a twenty-five year lease to the Town for a one hundred dollar fee without applying any additional penalty for the trespass. "The Department of Conservation and the Governor's office have refused to deal responsibility with Mr. Nadeau's violations," added Caverly. " It is has taken far too long for the 1994 case to be resolved and considering the past violations involving Mr. Nadeau, the Town of Eagle Lake should be receiving more than a slap on the hand for the latest infringements." Maine PEER has requested an Attorney General's office review these cases to determine if the 1994 Settlement agreement for Winterville Plantations was properly executed and, in the case of Eagle Lake, if the Department of Conservation fulfilled it's obligation to protect state property and enforce state regulations.