Oct 26, 2011

MACK POINT TANK FARM: "Opponents are even writing poems about it."


Fourteen-Story-Tall Propane Storage Tank Proposed For Searsport’s Mack Point
Twenty-two, seven zero zero, zero zero zero gallons! 
Twenty-four-seven noise: tankers, rail, compressors. 



Island colors fade--
fuel storage terminal’s
white, white tanks do not.

--Bob Brooks


C3H8, or CH3CH2CH3
A gas heavier than natural gas
But lighter than gasoline
Forms in pools on the ground

Odorless anesthetic
Will put you to sleep
Explosive at any concentration
Can cook you a nice hamburger
22 million gallons at your doorstep
Have a Nice Day
 - Jim Grossman 


Oct 25, 2011

Penobscot Bay area citizens to appeal state OK of DCP plan for mega LPG tank eyesore

Maine Department of Environmental Protection succumbs to pressure from the Blaine House and approves ravaging of upper Penobscot Bay coastal forest and related scenic businesses, to benefit Liquified Gas speculators.  (Read related MDEP  documents  here)

It wasn't too hard for Conoco-Philips' subsidiary DCP Midstream to get its license to pollute from Maine Department of "Environmental Protection", given that:

(1) DEP is led at present by once & future oil/ gas industry lobbyist Patty Aho, doing a revolving door stint as Environmental Commissioner; and
(2) Maine Governor Paul Lepage is strongly in support of expanding the gas sector of Maine's energy mix.

DEP's decision will be appealed by a host of citizens and organizations before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, (and if needed) through the state courts.  The Maine Board of Environmental Protection will examine the inputs of  the other state agencies like Dept of Conservation and  DMR, that chimed in  on the DCP proposal with timid and pathetic see-no-evil responses, when  DEP requested input.

For, as the saying goes,  garbage-in/garbage-out . Maine DEP's decision is built upon those other agencies questionable bits of the puzzle, as well as data supplied by the company's consultants.  Whether challenged before the Board of Environmental Protection, or  in  Superior Court and/or District court. the state's OK is only going to be as good as those "experts" from private industry and other agencies.

Simultaneously  town of Searsport citizens are contemplating ordinance changes,  planning board appeals and other town initiatives, while Federal Court, and federal agencies will also be venues for action in opposition to Army Corps of Engineers and US Coast Guard decisions about the DCP giant gas tank and the traverse of its giant tanker ships  up and down Penobcot Bay.

These include the  Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ); the EPA, USFWS and NMFS. How? administrative appeals, and federal court litigation

About the Council on Environmental Quality.  The CEQ "balances competing positions, and encourages government-wide coordination, bringing federal agencies, state and local governments, and other stakeholders together on matters relating to the environment, natural resources and energy."

This means if one agency or "stakeholder" (like TBNT) complains that some agency or consultant  is full of baloney in the stuff they submitted to Robin Clukey and to the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers or other fed agencies,  the CEQ will sort it out on the federal side of things.

Court of Public Opinion.Let us always remember, we the people   Because this is the most serious view fouling event by the carbon industry ever proposed in New England, the TV, radio, social media and  text media need to be taken on   visits to the different scenic vantage points into which  DCP-Midstream's  view-fouling supertank would be thrust if built.  What can the public do?

Giant puppets!  Twitter swarmings at each of the major  scenic locations to be degraded!  The causeway! The Jellison shores. Moose Point state park!  Camden Hills state park, The Penobscot River bridge scenic tower. Islesboro land trust  Sears Island!   (Hello FOSI, are you out there?)

Steady on... Deep within MDEP's final permit document, the agency may have left subtle triggers for us to find and exploit, assertions that will actually make our defense of nature easier, if we are clever enough to see them. Please read the Maine DEP decision

Oct 21, 2011

Can upper Penobscot Bay communities stop the supertank? Find out Nov 2 & 3, 6-8pm

Coming up!  Small Business and Local Citizens of Penobscot Bay Host Presentation and Discussion on the DCP-midstream giant liquified Petroleum Gas Tank Proposal

DCP/ConocoPhillips wants to put a 22.7 Million Gallon Liquid Petroleum Tank in Searsport, operate 24/7 and put up to 144 Tanker Trucks on Route 1 every day Searsport, Maine, 

PENOBSCOT BAY.  Concerned small business owners and local citizens will gather Wednesday November 2 at the Searsport Town Hall (6-8 pm) and Thursday November 3 (6-8 pm) at the Belfast Free Public Library to participate in an informational slide show and facilitated discussion concerning the implications of allowing a 22.7 million gallon liquid petroleum storage facility to move on to Mack Point in Searsport. All are welcome.

The project has already received DOT approval and is awaiting DEP approval…questions need to be raised and answered about the safety and effects of as many as 144 tanker truck trips each day through the Main Streets of Midcoast and surrounding area towns.

In addition to safety and security concerns, meeting attendees will explore the effects such a proposal would have on tourism, public access to roads and waterways, noise and light pollution, property values and the departure from the State Planning Office’s action plan for the promotion of sustainable prosperity and quality places for Maine residents.

Everyone is encouraged to attend, the organizing group believes the effects of the DPC/ConocoPhillips project will be particularly felt from Augusta to Belfast to Ellsworth, from Stockton Springs to Bangor

For More information:

Astrig Tanguay
Thanks but No Tank
Phone ( 207) 5486059
e-mail: relax@campocean.com  
216 W Main St
Searsport, Maine 04974


Oct 12, 2011

Searsport Planning Board asks: who should pay for DCP Midstream economic impact study?:

At the October 10th  Searsport planning board meeting, several things became apparent as a succession of area residents spoke to the assembled officials about the plan to build an enormous Liquified Petroleum Gas storage tank on Mack Point in Searsport. (Red letter A points to proposed super LPG tank location on Mack Point, viewed from dock  on Cape Jellison).

Several months ago the Planning Board approved  raising the height limitation on Mack Point, paving the way for DCP Midstream LLC to apply to build the giant tank that would hulk above the skyline,  unlike all the other energy companies with tanks at Mack Point. The thing is so big that it would be both chronic view pollution and an incredibly dangerous potential threat.

Five local citizens with concerns about the tank plan attended the meeting and asked for an economic impact study.  Bruce Probert, Chairman of the Planning Board, asked for specifics to be included in the study.  "At what point should we do an economic impact study?  Why should we do a study about DCP" he said, " and not other businesses?
The citizens obliged with a list of answers to his questions, including tax revenues and revenue sharing reductions by the State.  How many jobs at what salaries? (no guarantee they will hire local).  What about wear and tear on roads, more time (and traffic delays) doing maintenance + costs.  What about the impact on local businesses if AAA  routes tourists via I-95 to get to Acadia to avoid the unsightly dangerous tank farm, there is a real potential for loss of business (shopping and restaurants) if tourist traffic through the area diminishes. Increased staffing of police and fire departments. Impact on property values.

As far as paying for the study, one resident replied that DCP Midstream could.  (DCP-Midstream's annual revenues are more than a billion dollars.)
Some  reminded the board that many of us have moved to the area and made major investments in our homes and businesses.  The tank will discourage people from moving to Searsport or anywhere on the Bay within sight and reach of the tank.

Activities in the Bay and disruption to other shipping is the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.  Seismic activity on Sears Island is the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Comments  by some Planning Board members show their support for  the tank.  Bruce Probert read all the different standards in the ordinance that DCP has to meet. Including state  laws. One realizes why they are proposing such large amounts of ecological blood money. also known as compensatory mitigation: ther eis no possible way that the project would fit harmoniously into its surroundings, and another had to do with visual pollution.
How they will try to get round those two items is unclear But if they do, and  the DCP application is received by the Searsport Planning Board and deemed to be complete, the Board has to give an up or down vote within 30 days. During that 30 day period there will be a public hearing.
In addition to the Army Corps of Engineers' Jay Clement, the US Coast Guard's ____ and the Maine Dept of Environmental Protection's Robin Clukey, the fate of the people and wildlife of the upper bay is in the hands of Bruce Probert and the other four gentlemen on the Searsport Planning Board.

Mack Point's Emerald Triangle: wetter than they say?

Let's walk the threatened Mack Point forest, (the green triangle in the picture)  and document every little bit of wet wildness there.

If we find more than 3 acres
-including the harbor's intertidal flats that DCP is including in their impact zone, then the Army Corps of Engineers cannot grant them a "general permit" that requires no hearings or any input from the people at all.

Given that  streams  from far inland cut through the proposed stank farm  and that there is much old growth soils, I think it is very likely to be much more wetlands than they identified - forested wetlands that can add up up to the amount of wetlands greater than 3 acres.

If so, that triggers the must-do-full-study requirement - which adds a year and more onto the application process .  Remember it was by discovering that the state's consultants had fibbed about the amount of  wetlands on Sears Island that  the Sears Island containerport plans of  McKernan and King were halted

Let's give it a look, shall we?

Oct 3, 2011

Cape Jellison's scenic resources at risk from LPG supertank.

Pictures taken on Cape Jellison, and of Cape Jellison, from the location  across Long Cove and Stockton Harbor from where energy company DCP-Midstream wants to build a giant Liquified Petroleum Gas storage tank. Biggest in New England! while Maine DEP is doing little.    (Click Here for  photos of endangered scenic resources from Searsport Shores Campground in Searsport)

Panorama of Stockton Harbor Click Here for larger  
a - Colonel Petterson Park (public access to beach)
b - Stockton Harbor Public Docks
c - Sears Island 601 acres Conservation Easement  Maine Coast Heritage Trust
d - The Village Condos Stockton Springs
e -  Rocky Point (private homes)
More Photographs 
View From Stockton Harbor Docks 9.26.11 Helicopter Click Here

View from Stockton Harbor dock 9.26.11 Helicopter closer  Click Here

View from Stockton Harbor Docks 9.27.11 proposed site marked
This photo was taken the morning after the helicopter flew over, so  site marked is an estimate, but based on studying the photos. 

Note that Stockton Harbor Public docks serves  commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as sailboats. There are approximately 150 moorings. Stockton Harbor hosts a significant boating community, centered around the Stockton Harbor Sailing Center.

From Stockton Harbor and Cape Jellison perspectives , the location of this new proposed development is  a huge sprawl of industrial development into unbroken natural forestland, rich with Indian artifacts in an undeveloped irreplaceable natural coastal forest on Mack Point

Oct 2, 2011

DeepCwind: Feds declare "no significant impacts" to Monhegan or GOM. Okay funding

Monhegan's viewshed and soundshed will change for the first time in some time, as the University of Maine and its DeepCwind Consortium finally get their multimillion dollar check cut by the US Dept of Energy to build the various components of America's first offshore wind turbine and tow them out to a site 2 miles south of the island.  

Happily UMaine has chosen to build a prototype for floating deepwater floating windpower extracting structures (see image), rather than the stick-in-the-mud steel & concrete thickets that other states have envisioned off their coasts.   

Key dimensions
* Blade length 13m (42.7ft)
* Rotor Diameter 27 m (88ft)
* Tower height: 13.7 m (44.9)
* Upper hull hgt: 23.4m ( 77ft)

Key Materials 
Blades: fiber reinforced polyester resin
Tower: Steel
Hull: Steel
Mooring Lines: HMPE Polyethylene
Anchors: Steel boxes filled w/ copper slag

It is the belief of the developers of the DeepCwind prototype, that they will learn sufficiently from this test bed over a two to three year period, to build and safely and cost-effectively deploy a great armada of floating deepwater turbines 25 and more miles off Maine.  Time will tell if they are right.

Below are links to all the documents used in the Department of Energy's decisionmaking process that has finally approved University of Maine’s "Deepwater Offshore Floating Wind Turbine Testing and Demonstration Project, Gulf of Maine" aka DOE/EA 1792 (pdf)