Sep 30, 2011

Mack Point LPG gas plan - Panormas of views to be fouled if it is built

 Here are links to three panorama photographs, courtesy Taber Photography, and Point of View Helicopter Service,  taken while hovering at 198 feet above sealevel  at the spot where DCP midstream's  super tank  would be built. Note how the Cape Jellison homes will have a very clear view of the tank if built. Who else, what else?

See  more photos here from Cape Je;llison of  the scenery where the giant tank would be built that the helicopter was hovering .

For more photos of the viewshed at ;risk click on the link,  click again for the full sized versions, and help us identify locations that are visible in the photos.

Because if your location can be seen on them, then the giant LPG tank could be seen from that location if it was built. 

This is important information to have! Please help if you can.

Offshore Windpower: A Royal approach to conserving seabirds & migrant birds

The Biodiversity Research Institute is bringing Rowena Langston of the Royal Society of the Protection  of Birds (RSPB) to discuss  the European approach to conserving birds when designing offshore windfarms. Langston was principal author of a February 2010 report " Offshore wind farms and birds. Round 3 zones, extensions to Round 1 & Round 2 sites & Scottish Territorial Waters."  Here are the recommendations of that study, (also known as RSPB Research Report No. 39) (pdf)

"Recommendations. Offshore wind farms and birds

1. Collation of existing information on distribution and abundance of birds in UK continental shelf
waters in a GIS compatible form; ideally bringing together data from aerial and boat-based surveys
and providing a unified assessment by species of priority areas in breeding, wintering and passage
periods, as well as identifying gaps in survey coverage. This would facilitate assessment of risk, but
needs rapid delivery to do so.

2. Comprehensive baseline data collection, using a combination of aerial and ship-based surveys, as
appropriate, using recommended methods (Camphuysen et al. 2004; Maclean et al. 2009, Thaxter &
Burton 2009). Minimum of 2 years pre-construction data collection.

3. Co-ordinated survey programme to plug gaps in coverage and provide updated contextual
information for UKCS waters. To include sample re-surveys of areas covered by ESAS, to determine
whether broad patterns of distribution and abundance remain relatively unchanged or whether
there have been changes that cast doubt on the value of using just historical ESAS data for
identifying marine SPAs or areas of potential greater sensitivity for wind farm development.
4. Further research into foraging ranges and areas used by priority species relevant to each
development area, making use of developing technology such as data loggers and habitat suitability
modelling (also relevant to identification of marine SPAs).

5. Review sensitivity indices for birds in the UK continental shelf waters – either a workshop or email
exchange, with a convener, involving several experienced ornithologists.

6. Collate and, where necessary seek to improve, information on population size, survival and
productivity, age structure and frequency of non-breeding to facilitate population modelling for
priority species.

7. Encourage and facilitate further research into migration and other flight movements at sea, notably
to elucidate routes and variation in these by bird species of conservation priority. Further
deployment of satellite tracking with enhanced frequency of positional information shows most
promise, but currently is technically restricted to larger seabirds and waterbirds. This is an
extension of 3.

8. Deployment of radar offshore, on fixed platforms post-construction, to improve our understanding
of avoidance responses by e.g. migratory waterbirds or seabirds commuting to foraging areas
(Desholm et al. 2005, 2006). Resolve how best to obtain complementary visual observations or use of
thermal imaging cameras. OceanPod (Natural Power), and other similar prototype offshore research
platforms, may be a useful development to facilitate offshore research.
Offshore wind farms and birds

9. Deployment of land-based radar and complementary visual observations at several key locations,
pre-construction, to observe departure and arrival bearings and flight elevation of migratory birds.
Offshore deployment of radar to augment baseline data collection also potentially valuable for
specific cases (Walls et al. 2009).

10. Encourage and facilitate the development of study techniques and, where applicable, mitigation
s for application in the marine environment and at offshore wind farms."

End of recommendations

Sep 29, 2011

Mack Pt gasser wannabees suddenly cancel stakeholder meeting

At the request apparently of the Conoco corporados*, the Coast Guard has cancelled  tomorrow's big  stakeholder meeting about plan to create New England's biggest gas tank on the last big natural piece of  wild Mack Point!   
In a late afternoon email today, a spokesman for the Coasties  "...apologizes for this last minute notice advising of the postponement of the stakeholder meeting slated for September 30, 2011 at the Penobscot Marine Museum due to unforeseen logistical and operational circumstances.
 Delay is GOOD! Gassers' target the forest in this image: green forest triangle and over to the bay.  It would be totally industrialized, terrorizing the clams and driving away the moose that like to hang out there.
*DCP midstream is a subsidiary of Conoco-Phillips Energy Company

Sep 22, 2011

Stop the Stank! Don't let the upper estuary take on a permanent sulfur stench

Maine DEP will decide by  Friday  whether to approve the Conoco Oil  Super Tank project for liquified Petroleum Gas - biggest tank in New England.

Not only would this petrol "Supertank" (already being called "the Stank") bequeath a permanent sulfur stench to the upper bay airshed, it will cost Penobscot Bay lobstermen millions in lost revenues from their need to honor the rolling closed areas stretching around each supertanker as it convoys up and down Penobscot Bay with its gunboats.

Yet Maine DEP proposes to blithely rubberstamp the plan  despite the fact that the agency's  review of alternatives was non-existent, the review of economic impacts to lobstermen was non-existent, the economic impacts to the resort businesses of the area was non existent.

Now we will see if Governor LePage will stand by his statement that he will review every Maine DEP permit and  decision that affects jobs.

For the DCP plant which more intelligently should be in Portland, will savage the lobsteremn witll impoverish the resort owners. DCP will fill the air of hte upper Penobscot Bay with the stink of sulfur and claim that it is the smell of money.  But it is blood money. A weregild, for slaying local prosperity on a cross of gas.

Sep 14, 2011

DCP-Midstream plan to foul upper Penobscot Bay skyline runs into opposition

Mack Point Tank Farm, viewed from Searport Shores Campground, Searsport
Two Tanks, or 
No Thanks!

DCP Midstream Partners needs to respect the irreplaceable economic scenic asset that the unbroken skyline of the upper Penobscot Bay region constitutes, and not install New England's tallest gas tank in the heart of the upper Penobscot Bay scenic zone.

In the upper photo, the existing petroleum tank farms of Sprague and Irving Oil merge harmoniously into the landscape, below the skyline  from most locations.

In the lower mockup, the DCP Liquified Petroleum Gas Tank as proposed is far out of scale. It intrudes into the scenic visual space as far as away as Camden Hills State Park and Acadia National Park.

Put bluntly: the existing proposal outright violates the scenic resource protection standards of Maine law and regulations. These,  the Natural Resources Protection Act and the Site Location of Development Act, keep the immensely sellable scenic natural character of the Maine coast intact against the depredations of

When enforced well, these laws keep the bar very high for proposals like DCP's that would irretrievably  and permanently degrade a scenic area important for the employment of thousands of Mainers in coastal tourism dependent businesses living in dozens of communities.

Yet MDEP's draft order would approve the plan anyway, without truly evaluating the scenic assets at stake. But that's okay. It's only a draft. 
 DCP can meet the standards set forth in these laws, and their federal correlates, while still turning a hefty profit. It is a non-essential opportunistic addition to the energy infrastructure. Revising DCP's plan to fit in harmoniously with the existing neighborhoods is good business. 

DCP Midstream needs to either (1) build a smaller tank, (2) build two tanks of lower height, or (3) go away. In any of those options their process will, like Mack Point's existing oil tanks, remain below the scenic horizon for virtually all locations.  Or it spends spend lots of money responding to appeals and lawsuits by outraged Bay area scenic dependent businesses and other public interests

Maine DEP is onboard with the oilies. Here's MDEP's draft order.  But that's okay. It's only a draft.  We've got truth and beauty on our side.  Click image below to get the DEP coding and general facts

Sears Island. Sierra Club's sellout bears its poisonous harvest.

The US Army Corps of Engineers  has just announced that it has given final approval to Maine Dept of Transportation's Sears Island Umbrella Mitigation Bank (1page pdf, with links to all related info )

The Sears Island Umbrella Mitigation bank is housed at Maine Dept of Transportation- Environmental Office State House Station 16 Augusta, ME 04333-0016.   Contacts below the image. Click image for  bigger size
Sears Island Mitigation Bank Contacts
Judy Gates Phone: (207)624-3100 Fax: (207)624-3101
& Deane C van Dusen Cell Phone: (207)592-3198

Now let's carefully watch the Maine Legislature, which has a bill before it to create a 200 million dollar bond to build a container port on Sears Island.  A bill they might act on at any time!

Sep 12, 2011

Island Institute: Blurring the Facts.

In his essay "The Blur of Summer", Island Institute chief  Phil Conkling muses on the passing of that season, and bashes a bit at critics of ocean wind farms, who'd managed to disrupt the harmony of the  Institute's recent gathering of ocean wind enthusiasts with a small protest outside on Main Street featuring a drum and coffin labeled RIP Maine Lobster.

In "The Blur" Phil steams restlessly up and down the Maine coast, marking locations where his institute - standing on the not inconsiderable shoulders of credit card magnate Charles Cawley - distributed bits of Cawley's fortune to the handful of year round occupied islands, most in the form of large libraries and schools, in the mode of "build it, they will come".

He also marked other philanthropic ventures, then sounded a note of injured pride as he comes to Vinalhaven, where a trio of hastily raised windfarms - quite unlawful from US F&WS' point of view - has raised the ire of many of the island citizenry for again erecting  monumental architecture in a low key natural environment.

From this annoying blemish of seeming ingratitude, Phil finally turns to what has really been eating him all month: Our little display in front of Island Institute headquarters on Main Street during their ocean windpower gathering where two enviros and three fishermen used fliers, posters, a coffin, and a muffled drum to get out the word that improperly sited ocean wind farms could wreak havoc of lobster larvae transport.

We enviros and fishermen ended our event then joined the windmill enthusiasts in the the Strand Theater where after a pair of short films, the institute had organized a panel discussion. We each asked a polite question during the Q & A, as did the few other fishermen at the event. None of them were supportive of ocean windpower without severest of safeguards

In his essay "The Blur of Summer", however, Philip uses artistic license to somehow transpose us to being outside the panel discussion beating a drum, while we were  inside recording it and asking questions.

"But it turned out," Conkling wrote, "there were more lobstermen inside the Strand Theater participating in the panel discussion that followed the films than outside beating the dream."

True because  nobody was beating the drum at that point - we'd all joined the panel discussion so we could quiz the panelists.

What was truly telling though was Conkling's fascinating Freudian slip, where he accuses us, not of beating the drum, but rather of "beating the dream".  For Philip's Dream - a Downeast variant of  Polynesia's Cargo Cult, would mechanize and industrialize Maine's coast into what Phil imagines as the good old days of President  Arthur, when Rosco Conkling's New York political machine helped spawn a new steel navy.

Philip's Navy is more patrician, however, and discharges money instead of  artillery shells.

Sep 1, 2011

9/1/11 Fishermen's Voice publishes two articles questioning ocean windmills impacts

On September 1, 2011  Fishermen's Voice a newspaper that covers Maine and  Gulf of Maine fishing news and issues,  published two articles questioning ocean windmills' effect on Gulf of Maine fisheries, especially lobsters and lobstering: 
* Offshore Lobstermen Concerned About Lack of Research on Impacts of Wind Plan  
"Can Wind Turbines and Lobstering Mix?"