Nov 11, 2011

Fury in Maine as Denver company proposes New England's biggest gas tank in heart of scenic tourism area.

As reported in the Denver Post, plans by Denver-based natural gas distributor DCP Midstream to set up a large LPG gas storage tank on the coast of Maine have run into a buzzsaw of opposition from businesses making up the area's very profitable coastal tourism industry.

Opponents of DCP's plan to build and operate a 22.7 million gallon liquified petroleum gas (LPG) tank and terminal in the scenic Penobscot bay town of Searsport  say the company's proposed tank - biggest ever in the Northeast - is simply too far out of scale with existing energy companies using the town port to be acceptable.  At meeting after meeting, the residents of  Searsport, Stockton Springs, Belfast and even movie-star-laden Islesboro are marshalling their resources.

"We need to be careful that industry does not drive away tourism," wrote Tom Goscze of the grassroots group Thanks But No Tank! in an op-ed piece in the Bangor Daily News.   "Let’s make sure that we are not destroying our property values and safety for a couple jobs from importing the most expensive fossil fuel on the market."

"Searsport has two oil and gasoline tank farms," said Ron Huber of Penobscot Bay Watch, a regional conservation group, "but those companies, Irving Oil and Sprague Energy, have kept their operations low profile. They do not inflict themselves on the scenic viewsheds of the Penobscot Bay region."  By contrast, Huber said, " DCP Midstream's supertank is five times taller, and would hulk over the skylines of at least a dozen bay towns. It would be a visible eyesore from as far away as Acadia National Park  and Baxter State Park, and a heck of a lot of lesser parks and resorts in the region."

The natural forested mountain viewshed of upper Penobscot Bay is a major selling point for more than a dozen towns' myriads of  tourism-dependent businesses. As far as the businesses of Searsport, Belfast and other bay towns  are concerned, Huber said, " DCP Midstream is lobbing a giant stink bomb at Midcoast Maine, and insisting it's Chanel # 5".

Just as temper-raising have been Homeland Security considerations. The giant tank would rear up literally a stone's throw from US Rte 1. "Its hard to find a less secure location on the Atlantic coast for one of these supertanks" Huber observed, noting that a would-be terrorist   would have no barriers to carrying out an infamous act that could devastate at least three towns

The company's hapless public relations crew has been reduced to trotting out such uncompelling bromides as "Safety is our Core Value!"  and "We would live and work there, too!", ( the latter utterance not too convincingly put forward by DCP  spokesperson Lisa Newkirk, who has evinced no interest in relocating there herself.)

As aired in the feisty Penobscot Bay Blog, local citizens and businesses are gearing up for what may be lengthy appeals fights.  But before that begins,  Bay Watch's Huber said, Mark Borer, Angela Minas and Michael Richards, the president and top VPs of DCP Midstream, should stop by some of the Maine resorts that their proposed LPG tank could ruin. "The few jobs that the tank facility would generate is nothing," Huber said, "compared to the thousands of small business livelihoods that will be lost if DCP's gigantic industrial tank plops down in the midst of this scenic gem."  

Useful Links

Penobscot Bay Watch. (207) 593-2744

Thanks But No Tank! 207548-6059

Media Coverage of this issue so far (google news aggregator)

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amk said...

The tank will be 22 million gallons, not 2.2 million!
Anna Kessler, Searsport.

Anonymous said...

Hope to see all of you at the LPG TANK PROTEST at Mack Point, Searsport on Saturday, November 19th at 1:00 p.m. Show up, voice your opposition, sign our petition and help stop this monster. Expect us.

Ron Huber said...

Thanks AMK!!! Decimal point moved over to where it should be.

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habib said...

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