Mar 26, 2013

Belfast City Council writes to Army Corp of Engineers: Prepare EIS on DCP tank plan


From Belfast Republican Journal/Waldo Village Soup

Belfast requesting Environmental Impact Study for Searsport LPG  tank project    By Ben Holbrook | Mar 26, 201

BELFAST — The Belfast City Council is sending a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers requesting an Environmental Impact Study be conducted in regard to the proposed construction of a 22.7-million-gallon liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank and terminal in Searsport.


Councilor Eric Sanders requested the issue of the Environmental Impact Study be included on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 19, meeting, citing a desire to express to the Army Corps of Engineers how important the study is to residents. Prior to discussion about submitting the letter, residents voiced their concerns about the LPG tank during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Belfast resident Carrie Slocum said she is concerned the facility, which officials of DCP Midstream, the Colorado-based firm that has proposed the tank, have said will be for importing LPG, will actually be used as an export facility. Searsport resident Ken Agabian agreed with Slocum’s concerns, citing financial reports from DCP Midstream’s partner companies discussing the conversion of import facilities to export facilities.
“I believe strongly that this will never be an import facility,” Agabian said.
Christopher Hyke, also of Belfast, said he felt that many of the state’s politicians didn't want to get involved with the project, and that the city should push for more congressional delegates to ask for the study to be completed. Belfast resident Peter Wilkinson was the final speaker discussing the tank, and he said he vouched for the comments of the previous speakers and encouraged the Council to stay involved in the project.
“The biggest lie of all, folks, is that this is not a regional issue,” he said.
The Islesboro Islands Trust and Thanks But No Tank (TBNT) have filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the Army Corps of Engineers for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act, according to a press release from TBNT.
The notice requests that the Army Corps of Engineers withdraw its Environmental Assessment and Clean Water Act permits and reassess the project with new information that primarily relates to whether the facility will be used for importing or exporting LPG, according to the press release
During Council discussion regarding sending the letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, Councilor Mike Hurley, who acknowledged he isn’t “an ardent opponent of this tank,” said he sent a letter to the Searsport Planning Board asking what the benefits of approving the project are for the town.
Hurley said he supported the Council's sending a letter requesting the Environmental Impact Study, but he did not want to become too involved in the project.
Councilor Nancy Hamilton questioned the logic of transporting LPG to Maine, only to ship it to another location. During a final public comment session at the end of the meeting, Hyke and Wilkinson again addressed the issue of exporting LPG. Addressing Hamilton, Hyke said DCP Midstream could add more pipelines, which would allow it to export its product.
Wilkinson stressed that he believed importing propane would not be profitable enough for the company, and that is why he believes the facility will be used for exporting LPG.
The request to send a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking for an Environmental Impact Study was approved unanimously.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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