Thanks But No Tank this past Wednesday, November 7, filed a formal legal appeal with the Searsport Board of Appeals regarding the Planning Board’s improper determination DCP Searsport LLC’s application are “complete.” That determination violates the requirements established by the Searsport Ordinances. The Planning Board has ignored the requirements of the Searsport Ordinances and prematurely declared the “DCP” permits complete so they can rush the processing of these applications and hold premature hearings. However, holding hearings or processing these applications before they are truly complete—as completeness is defined in the Searsport ordinances—is improper. The appeal is based on several reasons, but focuses on four. First, the applicant, DCP Searsport LLC, does not have a required state permit for its proposed pipeline route due to the ongoing appeal in state court. Second, the applicant does not have the required Maine DEP Site Location, DEP Natural Resource Protection Act and Dept. of Transportation Driveway permits in its own name. Third, the applicant has failed to demonstrate that it has title, right or interest in the property to be developed. And last, the applicant has failed to provide the information required to demonstrate that the proposed pipeline will comply with the design and construction standards required for developments in special flood hazard zones as required by the town Floodplain Management Ordinance. (820 feet of the mile-long, elevated transfer pipeline from the pier to the tank is in the FEMA VE and AE flood zones – something to cause special concern in the wake of Superstorm Sandy).
Previous messages have illustrated our concerns. Briefly, the issue of Title and the name of the entity with all of the required permits, is directly tied to the fact DCP Searsport LLC has shown no evidence it has the financial capacity to safely operate a facility of this magnitude nor to compensate victims in the event of any potential large scale—or even small accident. The pipeline and its route are of great concern being in a FEMA floodplain and snaking through all the existing tanks filled with volatile fuels. In the past, large catastrophic LPG accidents have originated with ruptures to similar pipelines. And the NRPA and Site Location law has to consider impacts to unique scenic and aesthetic visual character, impacts to recreation and navigation as well as air and noise pollution; all of which will be violated by this project.
This appeal was made to the Searsport Board of Appeals. Reconsideration of the completeness determination will also be the second agenda item at the Searsport Planning Board meeting tomorrow, Monday, November 12 at 6:30 upstairs at Union Hall. And we’ve seen for the second time in as many months, this meeting is scheduled and will be held on a Federal holiday. The town office is closed all day for Veteran’s Day, yet the Planning Board has determined this meeting must be held.
Lastly, thirteen days after Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of thousands in the New York metro area still do not have electrical power restored. The question of a back-up power source for the proposed LPG mega-tank which must remain chilled to -44 degrees Fahrenheit, should be addressed by DCP Midstream before any permit is issued. Approving the requested permits without addressing this threat is contrary to the requirements of the Searsport Ordinances that require—above all else—the health, safety and welfare of the public is protected.
The Searsport Planning Board will meet Monday, November 12 at 6:30 upstairs at Union Hall. TBNT and IIT Attorneys Kim Tucker and Steve Hinchman will be present to speak to the Board regarding the permit’s completeness determination—if allowed. Please come to this meeting to support our case. Especially consider coming and speaking about the highly questionable approval process if you are a veteran– as on this day your voice will have considerable additional weight.
We had a successful drive for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We collected over thirty boxes of food, blankets, winter boots and lots of warm clothing including some handknit sweaters, scarfs, mittens and hats. Thanks to all TBNT members for their contributions.
We have a presentation and information session on Tuesday, November 13 at 7pm in Hampden. Please alert your friends, relatives and neighbors, especially those in Hampden, Winterport, Frankfort and Prospect areas. This meeting will be in the Community Room just in back of the Public Safety Building on Rte. 202. From the south, it is on the right side, just past the Hannaford supermarket on the left. Please use the parking on the sides of the building and in the lower lot. We will have yard signs for distribution (a donation is appreciated) and refreshments will be served.
We have been generously offered the space in the former Searsport Bank building on Main Street, directly across from Tozier’s market. This is exciting news for us, as we will now have a place to meet, organize, and distribute materials. We are in the process of getting schedules together but anticipate being open during the day. We need help in distributing as many signs as possible; and now the election is over we have the opportunity for much greater visibility we want to capitalize on. Please consider making a donation and posting a yard sign.
We have now the link to the presentation by CELDF’s Gail Darrell which was taped at the Belfast Public Library here.
Also, last month some were lucky enough to be at the Belfast Poetry Festival to see and hear the poem by Elizabeth Garber and MJ Viano Crowe, “I bear witness: Argentina, Egypt, Searsport”. It was very enthusiastically received there with a standing ovation. And now it has now been uploaded to YouTube. Please view it here.