Might Searsport LPG Facility Export Instead of Import?
Islesboro Selectmen ask Army Corps to Do Full EIS
Islesboro, Maine- At their regular meeting Wednesday March 13th, the Islesboro Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to send a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) and press them-for the second time in a year-to undertake a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Liquified Propane Gas (LPG) marine import facility proposed at Searsport. New information available about the rapidly changing propane market-and diminishing demand for LPG-presents a significantly different picture from that of a year ago regarding the safety and environmental impacts of the proposed project on the Penobscot Bay and the entire Midcoast region.
"There is no need for a new LPG import facility when existing U.S. marine LPG terminals are converting to export, " declared Islesboro Selectmen Chair, Craig Olson. "For this and other reasons, the Islesboro Board of Selectmen urges the ACoE to withdraw its earlier Environmental Assessment and take a hard, fresh look at the proposed LPG marine import project as part of a full Environmental Impact Study analysis."
In the last year, the production of U.S. domestic propane increased at a staggering rate. In the words of gas industry spokesperson Stephen Wilson (Bloomberg.com 2/14/2013), "We are seeing a game-changer because of this era of shale gas." The dramatic increase has reduced propane prices in Maine and the U.S. to record lows and is so extensive that the U.S. is now exporting, not importing, LPG.
Two Maine LPG projects in late 2012 increased the state's propane capacity and infrastructure by 43% from domestic sources, without detrimental environmental impact or the need for NEPA review. According to the Richard A. Clarke Good Harbor Risk Assessment, "gas export would completely alter the risks posed by gas development at Searsport," creating exponentially more propane traffic on roads, rails and ships plying Penobscot Bay.
"Numerous cost effective and environmentally preferable alternatives to importation of foreign propane already exist or are underway to provide energy sources where needed," noted Islesboro Islands Trust's Steve Miller. These alternatives include the following: expanded and new rail LPG terminals, new LPG storage facilities, expansion of natural gas pipeline service in direct competition with propane, use of renewable solar and biomass, increased use of weatherization and efficiency to reduce energy consumption and development of wind power.
The Islesboro Board of Selectmen shared a copy of the letter with the U.S. Congressional delegation from Maine and all Towns in the Penobscot Bay region. They await a response from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Islesboro Islands Trust is a non-profit land trust serving the community of Islesboro and the Penobscot Bay region of Maine. IIT's mission is to enhance the quality of residents' lives through the preservation of open space, educate all residents as to the value of the islands' natural ecosystems, and act as an environmental advocate on behalf of Islesboro and the surrounding Penobscot Bay region.
For more information, email or call:
Steve Miller, Executive Director, Islesboro Islands Trust, firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Arch Gillies, Islesboro Board of Selectmen, 207-734-6452 email@example.com.