In Bill Nemitz’s March 20 column (“To boldly go where no Maine rocket has gone before”), Sascha Deri, CEO and founder of bluShift Aerospace, states: “A very small contingent of folks who were very negative, wouldn’t even let me finish off my presentation. It was a stream of questions they didn’t really want me to answer – it was just a way to lock up time … It was like a filibuster.”

bluShift Aerospace CEO Sascha Deri watches a test of his company’s rocket engine in Brunswick on March 1. Contributed photo

The launch site wasn’t divulged to the general public until last October. bluShift’s venues generated legitimate questions with answers that didn’t meet the concerns of the community. Lack of specificity fostered distrust over plans for launch execution, impact on fishing, jobs, environment and town infrastructure. Deri promised to pursue another location if consensus wasn’t attained. Not fulfilling that promise was Deri’s downfall.

The town’s decision was not respected. Consensus proved 80 to 97 percent against rockets via multiple municipal processes, including straw vote, petitions, surveys, a moratorium and town vote. The actions backed the establishment of an ordinance to restrict launches.

Jonesport consistently relayed their decision to Deri, underscoring his refusal to fulfill his promise. The democratic system was used to convey that decision. It wasn’t negative, nor was there a filibuster.

Jonesporters are not unwelcoming people. They want industry that enhances their fishing heritage and Down East culture. Rocket launches posed a threat to their livelihood, quality of life, environment, natural resources, tourism and town infrastructure.

Deri’s vision simply wasn’t the vision of the Jonesport community.

Carrie Peabody

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