MACHIAS, Maine — The Navy’s plan to put a ability cable beneath Machias Bay has generated affair amid cockle fisherman, and has some analytic the cardinal of jobs that may be alone back the communications base in Cutler connects to the ability grid.
Navy admiral captivated an accident Wednesday night to accommodate advice about the proposed project, acknowledgment questions and accost comments.
The Argosy communications station, which began operating in 1961 and provides coded communications to the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, is powered by its own agent breeding ability plant. Now the Navy wants to affix the acreage to the ability filigree via a cable that would be active beneath Machias Bay and baffled to the Bangor Hydro Electric substation in the apple of Bucks Harbor beneath Machiasport. As proposed, the $14 actor activity would crave alone a few weeks to coffin the cable 3 to 5 anxiety beneath the ocean attic and would be completed by the summer of 2015.
About 35 bodies abounding Wednesday’s accessible house, according to Tom Kreidel, a agent for the Argosy Facilities Engineering Command in Norfolk, Va., who abounding the event. Some of those bodies bidding abutment for the proposed project, others had questions about the cable route, and others were anxious about the jobs that may be eliminated, he said.
“Comments … accept run the gamut,” said Kreidel.
Jobs and the abeyant appulse on cockle fishing additionally were on the minds of bounded admiral who met with Navy cadre on Tuesday, according to Machinas Town Manager Chris Loughlin, who abounding the briefing. Navy admiral met with assembly of bristles towns in the actual breadth — Machias, Machiasport, East Machias Cutler, and Whiting. The Navy advisers who assignment in the agent breeding bulb are well-paid, acclaimed Loughlin, and those jobs are important to a rural, poor association like Washington County.
The communications base has about 65 noncombatant employees, and 17 of them assignment in the agent breeding plant. The Navy will not apperceive how abounding of those jobs would be alone until the achievement of a abstraction that would be performed afterwards the activity is completed and the ability is powered by Bangor Hydro. Since the agent generators would alone be acclimated a advancement antecedent of power, however, it seems bright that a cardinal of those jobs would go by the wayside.
The abeyant appulse on the bay’s admired cockle fishery charcoal unclear. That would depend abundantly on how the cable is appointed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on abyssal charts. Depending on the designation, the fishermen would be bound from boring their cockle accessory forth the basal in the around of the cable.
That appellation about is the advantage of NOAA, said Catherine Creese, administrator of the Navy’s argosy sea attic cable aegis appointment in Washington, D.C., who abounding the accessible house. The Navy, however, can accomplish a recommendation, she said.
“It’s not our intention,” said Creese, to ask for a appellation that would absolute cockle fishing. If the cable is active auspiciously to able depth, a beneath bulging appellation would suffice, she said.
“We appetite to assure our cable,” said Kreidel. “We additionally appetite to be acceptable neighbors.”
The activity is still in the architecture phase, which is appointed to be completed this winter. The Navy additionally is in the action of applying for assorted federal and accompaniment permits in affiliation with the project. Funding is not final, either, and currently is in the account awaiting afore Congress.
The transmitting base is amid on a peninsula of about 3,000 acreage a the apple of Cutler. Although the Navy removed its aggressive cadre from the communications base in 2000-01, the Cutler ability charcoal analytical to its mission, acclaimed Cmdr. Jody Grady, who supervises its operations from Norfolk Argosy Base. Although satellites now accredit communications with submarines, alone the actual low abundance radio transmissions from Cutler can access the water, acceptance communications with the argosy while they abide abysmal and hidden. There charcoal an “incredible” cardinal charge for the adequacy provided by the Cutler station, said Grady, who abounding the accessible house.
The Navy advised two added routes for aing its communications base to the ability grid. One was via manual affairs over acreage to addition substation in Machias, and the added was aing to it via a cable active beneath the ocean attic up to the arch of the bay and forth the Machias River. Those options were disqualified out, in part, because the routes were appreciably longer.
“It’s a big affair to the fisherman,” Michael Murphy II, a cockle fisherman and administrator of the Machiasport Board of Selectmen, said Wednesday of the Navy’s plans. There are about two dozen cockle fishing boats based in the Machiasport area, he said.
The cable would alternate two cockle administration areas in Machias Bay, explained Trisha De Graaf, DMR’s ability administration coordinator for scallops.
“Essentially, back the cable goes in, allotment of it will be in an accessible breadth and allotment of it will be in a bankrupt breadth in any accustomed year,” she said.
A 2011 DMR analysis estimated Machias Bay had 80,000 pounds of harvestable scallops, according to De Graaf.
The activity will accommodate a cardinal of benefits, according to the Navy. It will abundantly abate air emissions from the agent ability bulb and save $3.9 actor annually in ammunition costs, for example.
The activity is accepted to pay itself in a little added than six years, according to the Navy.
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