Our final tally of people who spoke at the public hearing: 40 total. 34 spoke out against the tank many with very convincing data, arguments, questions and opinions. 5 statements could be classified as pro-DCP Midstream. Among these five: one family, two adults read 3 statements and a current (although) recused member of the Searsport Planning Board. One gentlemen’s statement could not be classified as pro or con.
This leaves by our count 34 members of the community (85% of speakers) speaking against the mega-tank in Searsport. Perhaps one of the most compelling came early in the evening when Tara Hollander, a Stockton Springs resident who lives two miles from the proposed site spoke of her findings after doing a considerable amount of research on DCP’s safety record. Among her findings, in 2008 the state of New Mexico fined DCP Midstream and came to a $60.8 million settlement for 4777 emission limit violations of air quality permits over a 5 year period. Flares in that state were in violation of regulations 648 times during a 5 year period. She calmly read the rest of her very troubling research and findings and handed the board a copy of her findings and documentation. You could hear a pin drop during her session. We will have all her evidence that she uncovered posted on our website shortly. We also heard from another Stockton resident, Bruce Suppes, who worked for 30 years as a licensed officer on deep sea vessels transporting gasoline, crude oils, diesel and jet fuels. Bruce emphasized that none of the ships he worked on had exclusion zones, which speaks to the question brought up earlier in the hearings: if the LPG on these tankers is so dangerous and volatile, then why is there no federal siting specifications? And why isn’t there a zone of exclusion around the mega-tank? These were two residents of Stockton Springs bringing this information to the attention of Searsport. In many cases, Stockton Springs is a heck of a lot closer to the mega-tank than parts of Searsport. Regional concern. We also heard from Searsport resident Harlan McLaughlin who called out DCP Midstream and their tactics of dividing the community and Meredith Ares spoke of the public safety and traffic issues. Belfast resident Phyllis Coehlo quoted from the Searsport planning board performance standards in siting new projects in making remarks about Sears Island birding. Arlene Jurewicz Leighton spoke of the viewshed of the mega-tank and its impact. Ridgely Fuller quoted from the 2011 annual report regarding the hazards DCP will experience in their business and being not fully insured as a limited liability corporation. The list goes on and on; the night wrapped up with two young Belfast residents, students at Unity College reading a letter by Unity’s President Stephen Mulkey about climate change and ended with Belfast resident Peter Wilkinson demonstrating the human footprint of the mega-tank as demonstrated by the “circle of resistance” on November 18 action photograph. The speakers came from all over the mid Coast and beyond. As we said Friday, we could not imagine the night going any better. The hearings will resume in January 16-18 with more interested party panels, conclusions from Good Harbor Consulting and one would presume more public comment after all new information is released.
So What’s Next
Now is not the time for complacency. This company will be back with a vengeance. We want to use the energy, enthusiasm and momentum of the hearings last two nights to keep moving forward. This is where we now need you to act. And here is what we can do now:
If you previously have not signed the online petition, please do so:
DCP made a big show of presenting a petition of some 600 residents in support of the tank; our goal is to have 10,000 signers to the petition to stop this project. Please spread this word to everyone you know to sign this petition, especially residents of Searsport and mid-Coast.
Available at TBNT Office 21 E. Main St. Searsport starting Tuesday morning. We ask for a donation for printing costs. We want these signs all up and down Rtes. 1, 1A, 3, and everywhere else.
Attend your local government’s meetings; a list is on our website, ask them to get or stay involved.
Belfast City Council meeting is Tuesday December 4 at 7pm
Camden Select Board meeting Tuesday December 4 at 7pm
Stockton Springs Meets Thursday, December 6 at 6pm
A full listing is on our website under the “get involved” page.
We also are fortunate to have information regarding meetings that Senator Susan Collins staff will hold with the public on Tuesday December 4:
We want to make sure that Sen. Collins understands from a LARGE number of people in this area that she needs to weigh in to protect us against this proposed mega-tank.
The immediate “Ask” of Sen. Collins is that we want the US Army Corps of Engineers to be required to rescind the permit given to DCP Searsport LLC and to do a full EIS and appreciate this project as having significant REGIONAL impacts.
The long-term “Ask” of Sen. Collins is that we want federal jurisdiction to be exerted over siting decisions of all LPG import and export facilities (like they have for LNG facilities). the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should be using its resources to look at these issues NOT the Searsport Planning Board (which says it doesn’t have to look at safety considerations to grant a permit) or the State Department of Environmental Regulation (which claims it has no obligation to look at the safety issues for such a project) — if they don’t have that requirement who does?!
FERC has reported that this Mack Point site for an LNG facility, so why is it suitable for a more hazardous LPG facility?
Mention Searsport’s stated intent to use mutual aid to respond to emergencies at this facility, the regional impact of the tanker trucks and ships on ALL of the communities in and around the Bay and along the Route 1, 1A and 3 corridors, talk about DCP’s poor safety record (the Army Corps did not consider), complain about the refusal of the Corps to grant a public hearings to consider the regional impacts, tell Sen. Collins’ representatives that we have safer ways of getting propane to Maine to obtain DOMESTIC propane — in fact DCP is bringing propane into the state by rail 80 miles from Searsport from the Gulf of Mexico and the Midwest NOW, so why are they trying to build this “import facility”;
Let them know we believe that DCP has no intent of really importing anything but that this is really being built as an EXPORT facility and we do NOT have the infrastructure nor desire to have the traffic and pollution from such a facility in this pristine area where (as Sen. Collins has said) THE ENVIRONMENT IS OUR ECONOMY.
Please spread the word to your friends. It is important we have a large turnout at these meetings raising our issues. We need Sen. Collins help to make the Army Corps do the job that the National Environmental Pollution Act requires it to do — do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will reveal ALL of the impacts of this facility on our region. Let them know that this is a facility of MANY Significant Interests — NOT a “facility of no significant interest” (“FONSI”) as Jay Clement of the Corps claimed in his shoddy, incomplete Environmental Assessment of the proposed “DCP” LPG tank and terminal.
TELL SENATOR COLLINS HOW YOU FEEL! SPEAK UP OR… FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE!- The offices are in towns all over Maine at different times:
10-11:30 a.m., Turner Town Office, 11 Turner Center Road. 9:30-10:30 a.m., Ashland Town Office, 17 Bridgham St. 10-11 a.m, Falmouth Town Office, 271 Falmouth Road. 11:30-12:30 p.m., Cumberland Town Office, 290 Tuttle Road. 1:30-3 p.m., South Portland City Hall 25 Cottage Road. 3:30:4:30 p.m., Cape Elizabeth Town Hall, 320 Ocean House Road. 12:30-2 p.m., Wilton Town Office, 158 Weld Road. 9:30-11 a.m., Lamoine Town Office, 686 Douglas Highway. 10:30-11:30 a.m., Winthrop Town Office, 17 Highland Ave. 1-3 p.m., Camden Town Office, Conference Room, 29 Elm St. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Newcastle Town Office, 4 Pump St. 3-4:30 p.m., Norway Town Office 19 Danforth St. 10-11:30 a.m. Millinocket Town Office, 197 Penobscot Ave. 10-11:30 a.m., Greenville Town Office, 7 Minden St. 1:30-2:30 p.m. Topsham Town Office, second floor Conference Room, 100 Main St. 8:30-9:30 p.m. Norridgewock Town Office,16 Perkins St. 1:30-3 p.m. Belfast City Hall, 131 Church St. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Danforth Town Office, 18 Central St. Noon-1:30 p.m., Arundel Fire Department, 468 Limerick Road. Noon-1:30 p.m. Berwick Town Hall, 11 Square St.
IF YOU CAN NOT MAKE ONE OF THESE MEETINGS, WE ASK THAT YOU CONTACT SUSAN COLLINS OFICE IN WASHINGTON; ASK THE QUESTIONS ABOVE. TELL HER YOU WENT TO THE MEETINGS IN SEARSPORT AND HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS.
THE TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR HER WASHINGTON OFFICE IS (202) 224-2523.
IN AUGUSTA THE NUMBER IS (207) 622-8414