U.S. Water News Online
AUGUSTA, Maine -- An escalating dispute between two Maine towns over the siting of a municipal water well has finally reached the state's Supreme Judicial Court. Attorneys for the town of Prospect have filed a law court appeal of a recent state Public Utilities Commission order denying the town intervenor status in a proposal by a neighboring town of Searsport to finance a $2 million water project by issuing public securities.
A key element in the project to upgrade the Searsport Water District is a well that was drilled within the limits of Prospect without the knowledge of town officials. Since learning of the well, Prospect selectmen have questioned the legality of the Searsport district removing a protected resource from their town. They contend that federal, state, and local officials were purposely misled by the Searsport district into thinking the well was located in a third town, Stockton Springs.
While Stockton was prohibited by charter from removing groundwater from Prospect, that problem was solved last year when the Maine Legislature passed an emergency bill that defines a common well zone. The Searsport district began using the well within weeks after the bill's passage, which was nearly two years after the well was drilled.
Prospect's attorney, William Dawson, Jr., stated that the state Public Utilities Commission cannot approve an application "which contains false, incomplete, or misleading information." Commission officials, on the other hand, contend that the financing case should not be the proceeding in which Prospect's concerns should
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