In an uncommon triumph of science and law over special interest lobbying, parochial economics, and irrational spin, EPA New England tells Maine to open fish passage for alewife spawning.

In a letter dated July 9, 2012, to State Attorney General William Schneider (, the EPA ruled that the State of Maine inappropriately blocked the passage of river herring, including alewife, from key reaches of the St. Croix River above Grand Falls Dam.  The letter concludes that the State failed to obtain EPA’s approval for what amounted to a revision to Maine’s surface water quality standards when it began excluding alewife as a result of a State law that became effective in 2008.  The State now must decide how and when it will comply with EPA’s determination.