While we saw minimal action and damages from Hurricane Sandy in Maine; New York and New Jersey were hit hard. The images we have seen this past week were often difficult to view; many, many people have lost everything. Power has been out in some neighborhoods since Sunday night. What we saw in some instances were fires rapidly spread by ruptured gas lines – fires which in some instances continue to burn. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Sandy-Superstorm-Fire-Mantoloking-Chopper-Video-Destruction-New-Jersey-176570221.html As Americans we come together and offer our support and assistance in these difficult times.
The implications here are easy to grasp. Searsport being on the coast is highly susceptible to acts of nature including hurricanes and floods. The route for the mile-long pipeline that DCP Searsport LLC proposes would snake through all of the existing Sprague Energy and Irving tanks filled with volatile petroleum products – with 820 feet of the pipeline requested to go in the FEMA VE and AE flood zones. The proposed mega-tank must be kept chilled at all times and it does not have a backup power source in case the power grid goes down; an extended power outage is of major concern. We neither want nor need to convert every power outage into a life-threatening crisis for the sake of 12 permanent jobs
For now, we have a bit of good news, the Maine Dept Environmental Protection posted a notice in the Bangor Daily News; due to DCP Midstream and DCP Searsport filing a joint permit application, a 20-day comment period has begun. We can now write to the Maine DEP regarding our findings and how the mega-tank will pose a substantial threat to the environment and economy of the Midcoast region. This is our chance now to get new questions and newly obtained facts into the record and the DEP has to respond to each of them on the record.
Please consider these four strong points we should make to MDEP:
This proposed facility is a project of statewide significance, impacting all of the communities and people in and around Penobscot Bay – this requires that the Board of Environmental Protection and not the Department of Environmental Protection review this application and hold appropriate regional public hearings regarding the safety, environmental and economic impacts of this proposed facility. Because Searsport officials have already indicated that they intend to use the public safety resources of their neighbors to respond to any emergencies at this proposed facility, all municipalities in the region will be burdened by this facility and its costs.
This is a regional issue:
Consider the large safety issue of the tank and especially as a distribution terminal with tanker trucks moving throughout the state on Routes 1, 1A, 137,3 and ships disrupting the use of Penobscot Bay by every community in and around the Bay.
The tax burdens to many municipalities, in this case the Waldo and Knox County taxes and expenditures will go up due to increase in spending on municipal services, including: road maintenance and repairs, fire safety training and equipment, and lost tax revenues from decreased property values caused by the increased industrialization and safety risks as a result of this development
The change is route for the mile-long pipeline is not a “minor” change in the existing permits. Moving this pipeline so that is snakes through the existing Sprague and Irving tank farm significantly increases the safety risks to people and businesses in the vicinity of Mack Point and the region.
DCP Midstream Partners, LP has proposed to transfer its application to DCP Searsport LLC – an entity that has no demonstrated financial capacity or proven resources should there be any type of accident – this imprudently subjects the State, Searsport, all of the surrounding municipalities and the people and small businesses in the region to the risk of damage without any chance of recovery for those injuries from the responsible party. That is not in the public interest.
We have until November 12 to make our comments. Please write to the DEP with your concerns. DEMAND THE BOARD OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION REVIEW THIS APPLICATION AND HOLD APPROPRIATE REGIONAL HEARINGS REGARDING THE SAFETY, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF THIS PROPOSED FACILITY.
Please send your letters to
Mr. Jim Beyer
Bureau of Land and Water Quality
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
106 Hogan Road
Bangor, Maine 04401
TBNT PRESENTATION IN HAMPDEN
We will be having another public presentation and information session in Hampden at the Public Safety Building Community Room. This will take place Tuesday, November 13 at 7pm. If you would like to assist with this meeting please let us know. We are looking for volunteers to help spread the word.
The next meeting of the Searsport Planning Board is on Monday, November 12 at 6:30pm upstairs at Union Hall. The completeness of DCP’s application is on the agenda for this meeting.
The Planning Board’s public hearing is now set for Monday, November 26 at 6:00 pm at the Searsport District High School, 24 Mortland Rd. The hearing will be held in the cafeteria and it will be continued over subsequent days of November 27, 28 and 29 with each session to convene at 6pm with the possibility of a future continuance to be scheduled by the Planning Board on November 29. We ask that if you are interested in speaking at the hearing to please be in touch with us so we may coordinate speakers.
The City Council meets Wednesday, November 7, at 7pm. Please attend this meeting; we have contacted speaker(s) to urge the Council to consider sending a letter outlining the regional issues to Maine DEP. The opportunity to have Board of Environmental Protection regional public hearings would be valuable.