Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s fourth presentation of its 25th annual Winter Speaker Series, “Don’t Be a Nuisance! (FOMB vs. CMP),” is scheduled to feature attorney William Most.

FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series presentations are again being held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of fomb.org. The event takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12.

William Most Contributed photo

On July 21, 2020, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay filed a nuisance lawsuit against Central Maine Power in Maine Superior Court, alleging the company’s discretionary tower lighting and then-in-process radar facility at the Chops are a nuisance because they unnecessarily harmed and threatened to further harm residents and wildlife in this unique natural area.

For 80 years towers stood at this power line crossing of the Kennebec River and never were they or the lines lit to warn aircraft, even though air traffic in the area was far higher in post World War II years than now, according to a Friends news release.

In 2019, CMP replaced the towers and with no public notice or regulatory disclosure, the new towers were lit with three levels of LED strobing lights, white in the daytime and red at night flashing a total of 600 times/minute. Tower lighting is not required by the FAA, only recommended, and the FAA cited their lighting “advisory only” status as an excuse in rejecting FOMB requests for environmental review of the project.

After about a year of complaints, CMP partially ameliorated their original lighting nuisance with the installation of an active radar aircraft detection system designed to turn lights on only when aircraft are within a certain distance of the towers.

Radar emits radiofrequency microwave radiation classified as a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2011, and was found to show clear evidence of cancer and other biological effects in a 10-year study by the National Toxicology Program, part of NIH, completed in 2018.

Nuisance law is some the oldest existing law and some of the earliest nuisance cases involve light. Prior to passage of the Clean Water Act and other specific environmental legislation, nuisance law played a major role in cleaning polluted rivers and other natural resources in Maine and elsewhere.

Most graduated from Harvard College in 2005 and obtained a law degree from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law in 2011. He practiced at the California law firm of Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP before moving to New Orleans and founding the Law Office of William Most & Associates. Most is licensed to practice in Louisiana and California.

Most has represented individuals, businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, state agencies, regional planning agencies, California tribes, activists, journalists, artists, students, prisoners, farmers, tenants, developers, family trusts, private landowners, and utilities. He has experience in trial and appellate courts, and sits on several advisory boards including the National Police Accountability Project.

Most has been an editor of the Climate Change Law and Policy Reporter, a member of the San Francisco Urban Forestry Council, and a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster youth. He holds a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Most was a fisheries biologist and worked for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

FOMB hosts its Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom.

The FOMB Feb. 9 presentation, “Restoring the Lower Androscoggin River,” is scheduled to feature Steve Heinz of Trout Unlimited, Maine Chapter. This event takes place 7 p.m., with the Zoom access link available at fomb.org about a week before the presentation.

Speaker Series presentations are free and open to the public. Visit its website to see speaker biographies, full event schedules and video recordings of past presentations, as well as become a member and learn how to help protect Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

For more information, contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or [email protected].

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