This past week two pieces of information surfaced regarding potential jobs at the proposed LPG Tank in Searsport. The first was included in a letter written to the Searsport Planning Board and circulated to the Board of Selectmen. The author is an emergency room physician who was also the director of the Emergency Department at Ground Zero during and after 9/11/2001. One of the many valuable points he made in his letter is there are not enough round the clock employees to safely run the LPG tank and terminal under optimal conditions.
The second was made by Michael Kavanaugh which commented on an economic study provided by DCP, the Colgan report. The Colgan report includes an estimate of each job paying $85,000 per year based on 18 area employees. Kavanaugh, a research economist, notes in his paper this salary estimate is high as Maine’s Department of Labor report these jobs in June 2012 average between $34,700 and $47,000– and even adjusting earnings to include a 25% employer benefit, jobs in manufacturing are about $58,800. Additionally, he notes that the Colgan report does not consider the project may reduce employment and earnings in other industries.
So we see questions regarding employment arise, what in this case are we to believe? The numbers of promised jobs and potential earnings keep changing but how many jobs or employees will it take to make this facility safe and how do we know?