Public Hearings Day 4

TBNT and Islesboro Islands Trust Testify

Thursday night, November 29, in Searsport, Thanks But No Tank had the floor at the public hearings and put on two panels. The first panel consisted of property owners who live close to the proposed mega-tank site and realtors. All spoke of the direct effect the project would have on their property values.  We heard their situations how if this project is approved and built they will most likely never be able to sell their homes for what they are worth, if at all, their sense of safety and security and overall well-being. The realtor testified that clients are not looking for properties in Searsport now because of the project. Their testimony directly contradicts the site planning ordinance performance standard the applicant (DCP Midstream) must prove the project will not adversely affect property values.  All will be negatively affected.

The next panel featured small business owners. We heard from a motel owner, an Innkeeper, an antiques dealer, gift shop owners, and a campground owner. All told their stories how they came to choose to live in Searsport, how their businesses are part of the web of businesses; how the Inn and campground guests visit local restaurants and shops. All spoke how their business hums in the summer with tourist dollars being spent and if some of these businesses fail then Searsport will be less desirable as a destination site. In many places the testimony was heart wrenching as we heard how so much of these people’s lives have been invested in their endeavors in Searsport and how they feel this project is so out of scale and will bring real harm to them and the town. And as almost as demeaning as this process was, what was far worse was a cross examination by DCP’s lead attorney. His questions designed and asked in a somewhat condescending tone, to dismiss both panels real concerns as being unreasonable were difficult to listen to without feeling outrage.

We also heard from our good friends who live on Islesboro. Steve Miller of the Islesboro Islands Trust and Select Board member Arch Gillies came along with others and discussed concerns regarding dredging and the marine environment, navigation, scenic and aesthetic and how, without question, this is a regional concern.  Our friends have contributed a whole lot and we certainly appreciate all their help as they have funded the Good Harbor study for the benefit of the entire region; this is what good neighbors do.  But again, we saw the same treatment from the applicant. This behavior leads to many other questions regarding their ethics and what type of member of the community they will really be if they are given that opportunity. The planning board really should have a hard look at their past business practices and performance and not just accept the company’s word.

Thank you to all the panelists for coming forward, telling your stories and speaking on behalf of so many.  I am not sure how anyone in the audience could not be affected by what they heard tonight. A great crowd tonight to witness, thank you everyone for coming.

The hearings continue Friday at 6:00pm. DCP Midstream will be giving a 20 or 30 “short” presentation on their project visuals.  Then it will be your time as a member of the public to speak about the project. Preference will be given first to Searsport residents, then to people from other towns. We encourage you to come and speak especially how this project will harm you. To this end, we encourage you to please visit document page and see the Searsport Planning Board’s Site Planning Ordinances (section 6 page 6). Please keep a respectful civil tone which will allow you to be more effective.  Thanks!

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