Feb 29, 2012

DCP tank plan - email the Corps of Engineers TODAY

 Jay Clement wants to hear from you by 5pm today about the DCP tank plan. Send him this:

Email him this at    jay.l.clement@usace.army.mil 
add your name and personal additions to the email.

February 29, 2012

Jay Clement
US Army Corps of Engineers
Maine Project Office 
675 Western Avenue #3 
Manchester, Maine 04351

Subject:   DCP Midstream LPG Tank plan

Dear Mr. Clement

The Army Corps of Engineers require require a public hearing and an Environmental Impact Study be done of the  DCP Midstream LLC plan for a Liquified Petroleum Gas tank in Searsport.  

This should be done before deciding whether or not to grant the company a Rivers & Harbors Act permit and a Clean Water Act permit to build its project. 

The tank would have effects on people, fish and wildlife down Penobscot Bay and up Penobscot River. None of these have been considered yet. For that reason the public hearing and Environmental impact study are needed.


LURC reform legislation LD 1798 has its 2/28/12 work session: AUDIO recordings

Bay-friends and Maine Woods lovers , Lend us your ears! 
Consideration is underway by the Maine legislature on who makes the decisions on land use for the vast sweeps of the Unorganized Territories of Maine. The State or the Counties?  Some of the islands of outer Penobscot Bay are under LURC Jurisdiction. Listen, read and help Maine decide.

Listen below to audio recordings of the Maine Legislature's February 28, 2012 worksession on LD 1798 "An Act To Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory". NOTE to listen to the February 16th public hearing on LD 1798, Click Here

Audio is broken in 4 parts for ease of listening.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? LD 1798 would enable counties to "opt out" of the Land Use Regulation Commission, an appointed citizens board that presently makes decisions on planning and development proposals for the Unorganized Territory of Maine. The bill includes of other ways of transferring LURC's decisionmaking powers to county governments. But can counties afford the expense of competently making land use decisions? 

 Recording of the committee starts about ten minutes into their worksession - sorry!

Feb 26, 2012

Why threaten midcoast Maine for just 12 jobs?

Why threaten midcoast Maine for just 12 jobs?                                      
By Kim Tucker, Special to the Bangor Daily News

Why should we jeopardize our safety, our security, our environment, our quality of life, every existing job and the marketability and value of every property in midcoast Maine so that we can possibly add 12 permanent jobs in Searsport? Especially when these 12 jobs will likely go to people from out of state?

The very purpose of the proposed Mack Point liquefied petroleum gas tank and import terminal — to import more liquefied petroleum from foreign countries for use as a fuel to heat Maine homes and businesses — is contrary to the security interests of Maine and the United States in two ways.

First, it creates an attractive target for a terrorist attack without any discernible security plan provided by the developer, DCP Midstream — meaning they either are not providing adequate security or they are imposing the burden of that security on taxpayers without advising them of that hidden cost.

Second, this facility proposes to make Mainers more dependent on foreign sources for our heating needs — DCP’s goal is contrary to our interests as a state and as a nation to become more secure through energy independence. Since less than 6 percent of Maine homes and businesses currently rely on propane for heat, why do we need a facility to import foreign propane — liquefied petroleum gas — from unstable regions and countries, and make more Mainers dependent on foreign sources to heat their homes and businesses?

On March 10, Searsport residents will have an opportunity to approve a moratorium and slow this process down. If approved, the moratorium will allow Searsport the time to ask the proper questions about the costs and benefits of this facility — questions that should have been asked by state regulators before permits were issued to allow such a fundamental change for Searsport and all of Penobscot Bay.

The 9/11 tragedy should have taught us that the risk of terrorist attacks must be a consideration when any facility such as the one proposed for Mack Point is proposed. A recent congressional report on siting liquefied natural gas, or LNG, import terminals, similar to the LPG facility DCP proposes in Searsport, detailed the significant terrorist risk posed to public safety and security by such facilities and highlighted terrorism as a necessary consideration in making decisions about where to place such facilities.

That report noted that LNG tankers and land-based facilities could be vulnerable to terrorism. Tankers might be physically attacked in a variety of ways to release their cargo — or commandeered for use as weapons against coastal targets. LNG terminal facilities might also be physically attacked with explosives or through other means. Some LNG facilities may also be indirectly disrupted by cyber-attacks or attacks on regional electricity grids and communications networks that could in turn affect dependent LNG control and safety systems.

Incomprehensibly, despite the heightened terrorist threats we currently face from Iran and other sources, Congress has not vested any federal agency with specific jurisdiction over evaluating the security implications in siting LPG import terminals of the sort DCP is proposing to put in Searsport. Such determinations have been left to state regulators.

Unfortunately, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho, a former lobbyist for the Petroleum Institute, did not see fit to include any consideration of the public safety and security threats posed by this facility when she did her cursory evaluation of this project and rubber stamped it for approval. Now, it is up to Searsport residents to demand the time to make a proper assessment of the real costs of the limited benefits DCP is offering.

Please, speak up and tell Searsport residents that we need them to pass the moratorium and take the time to do a proper study of the real costs and benefits of this proposal and tell Augusta that we do not want to be the next man-made disaster in this country.
Feb 24, 2012

Kim Ervin Tucker of Islesboro is a lawyer admitted to practice law in Maine, Florida and the District of Columbia. Since May 10, 2010, she has assisted the Deepwater Horizon Legal Advisory Group, appointed by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida attorney general and is currently assisting Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in his efforts to get BP to honor its promise to pay all legitimate claims to those damaged as a result of the spill.

Feb 24, 2012

Sears Island Container port bill gets skeptical reception. AUDIO ONLINE

Listen online to industrial port-huggers and two determined Penobscot Bay defenders Paul McCarrier and Will Neils, at the Maine statehouse, challenging  the "LD 420 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Fund Building a Container Port onSears Island" that came before the Maine Legislature's Appropriations Committee today. The bill would put a ballot question before Mainers to have their descendants pay 200 million dollars plus  interest  to build a gigantic containerport in the fertile womb of upper Penobscot Bay where, like a huge IUD device, it will wreck the fertility of Maine's biggest bay  Listen to the hearing (MP3 audios)
Introduction by Senator Douglas Thomas  9min

*  Sen Thomas gets questioned 2min

Paul McCarrier speaks in opposition to LD 420  2 min 18 sec

Will Neils speaks in opposition to the bill 6min 30 sec

David Cole speaks "neither for nor against" the bill. 8min 37 sec

David Cole is questioned by committee 5 min 35 sec

John Oday speaks NFNA the bill 3min 45sec

John Oday is questioned by committee 2 minutes

Randy Mace to end of hearing 3 minutes

 Listen to complete hearing on LD 420 HERE 45 minutes (recording fixed)

Feb 23, 2012

Belfast City Council hears TBNT on LPG, votes to write to ACOE (AUDIO)

On February 21, 2012, the Belfast City Council heard from three citizen opponents of DCP Midstream Corporation's proposal to build and operate a 22.5 million gallon Liquified Petroleum Gas tank and related flare tower and terminal in in Searsport. They now join three other bay towns: Stockton Springs, Islesboro and North Haven, who have already  written to the Army Corps of Engineers, calling for an Environmental Impact Study.. Listen below to them speak and Bealfast City Council talk it over and vote to wrote to the Corps.

Concerns? Economic and environmental harm and threats to public safety..  Islesboro's letter here.. (Other letters as they come available)   The chorus of voices calling for the headlong rush of DCP Midstream's project to be slowed down with an Environmental Impact Study

Listen below as   Thanks But No Tank! activists Peter Wilkinson, Chris Hyk and Maryjean Crowe call on the Belfast City Council to ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a full environmental impact statement before taking any federal action on DCP's application. Then, after deliberating, the Belfast City Council  votes to send that letter to the Army Corps of Engineers!

* Peter Wilkinson 9 minutes 
* Christopher Hyk 3 minutes 30 seconds
* Maryjean Crowe 32 seconds. Also gives Council copies of Islesboro's letter to Corps of Engineers
* Council agrees to add issue to agenda. 16 seconds
* Council discusses issues then votes to send request for EIS  to Corps of Engineers 16 min

Feb 22, 2012

Can Congress slow DCP Midstream's fast track to eco-disaster?

Help your people, congressman!
As detailed in this recent article, Maine Congressman Mike Michaud has been tasked  with bringing a message to Washington DC from the fiercely independent coastal towns of upper Penobscot Bay, Maine, who are  now rising in wrath against the attempted fast tracking of  carbon giant DCP Midstream. 

They are demanding the Army Corps of Engineers slow down and  require the Liquified Petroleum Gas importer  to prepare an an environmental impact statement so the citizenry can "look under the hood" of this giant  gas energy project before it moves any further in the review process.

Feb 17, 2012

Penobscot Bay islands join mainland towns opposing DCP Midstream supertank plan for Searsport

Upper Penobscot Bay is aflame, as town after town rises in opposition to would-be LPG tank operatorDCP Midstream, an appendage of Conoco Phillips and other Big Gas heavyweights that seeks to build the east coast’s biggest Liquified Petroleum Gas tank and dock in tiny but uncooperative Searsport, Maine. (Cont'd below picture.)
Long Cove lowtide clamflats.DCP LPG tank would flatten & pave forest on lower half of picture. US Rt 1 on left

The resistance began with Searsport, whose citizens halted the gas giant’s fast track slide toward rubberstamp approval on municipal and federal levels. They then, banding together as Thanks But No Tank! launched a lawsuit against the state permit  that Maine DEP had granted to DCP Midstream on October 24, 2011.  

But Searsport no longer stands alone against the Denver-based behemoth. The towns of Islesboro, North Haven and Stockton Springs have also risen, with Belfast soon to chime in See recent news story  See Isleboro fact sheet on DCP plan

The growing consensus among these and other upper Penobscot Bay towns is that the 23 million gallon supertank, and its associated flare tower and accessory facilities, would thoroughly and unacceptably dominate, day and night, the economically-precious regional landscape of a dozen coastal towns dependent on scenic tourism, as well as permanently increase the homeland security risk level of the area.

These three towns have made it absolutely clear to the ultimate decisionmaker - the US Army Corps of Engineers - that nothing less than a full Environmental Impact Study of DCP Midstream’s supertank plan and its effects on the region will suffice, before that agency makes its decision.  (The Army Corps is taking comments until February 29th.)

The upper Penobscot bay towns’ concerns include
* Safety and security implications of having a  huge vulnerable liquefied petroleum tank hulking over scenic US Route 1,

*The gargantuan size of DCP’s proposed 23 million gallon liquified petroleum tank, completely out of scale and character with the region including the existing petroleum tank farms.  

 The effect on tourism and quality of life of the tank farm’s deforestation of the Mack Point coastal forest, its chronic stench, its intermittently roaring flare tower & powerful night lights, its constantly running auxiliary generators,  and the continuous dull roar of propane tanker trucks passing in and out of their towns, as they feed 24/7 in and out of the facility.
DCP Midstream has responded to local opposition with a heavyhanded statewide public relations campaign, pitting town against town. The company also sought to divide Searsport’s populace between the town’s two big economic engines: tourism and port. 

But these two business sectors have a lengthy tacit agreement in Searsport not to impact each other’s ability to create wealth, so the gas giant’s efforts appear unpersuasive. If anything they may have brought Searsporters closer together in suspicion of the company’s motives.
Indeed DCP Midstream’s latest newest PR gambit suggests a certain level of panic on the company’s part.   An anonymous harassment campaign attacking key Searsport opponents of the company’s tank plan has arisen.  Nasty insinuations,  personal slurs, race-baiting and worse have been launched against area citizens. While the perpetrator of these libelous productions remains concealed in internet anonymity, it is widely believed from the writer’s grammar and style that a DCP public relations staffer, or  other hireling from “Away”, is the real person behind the fictitious “Jake Prodder” and other anonymous attackers. Area residents plan to consult with Colorado’s human rights and corporate accountability bureaus to see if they can have the offending personages identified and dealt with.

With the feeling growing around upper Penobscot Bay that DCP Midstream is trying to suppress citizen and municipal opposition to its plan, the company’s prospects seem to be dimming. As one critic succinctly put it:

“If that is the playbook this company is using to woo Mainers, they might as well head home to Colorado right now.”

For more information:    

News: North Haven & Islesboro seek impact analysis for proposed Searsport propane terminal

From Herald Gazette

Islands seek impact analysis for proposed Searsport propane terminal

By Shlomit Auciello | Feb 17, 2012

Photo by: Tanya MitchellSearsport resident Tom Gocze, at microphone, addresses selectmen Jan. 17 about his concerns regarding the size and scope of the proposal from DCP Midstream to construct a 22.7-million-gallon liquefied petroleum gas storage tank at Mack Point. In the foreground is a scale model of the 137-foot-tall tank, as well as a nearby Irving tank and Angler's Restaurant, a model that Gocze built. DCP Midstream representatives dispute the accuracy of the model.
The Islesboro and North Haven boards of selectmen have voted unanimously to ask the Army Corps of Engineers for “a fair and thorough” environmental impact study of a proposal — by Colorado-based DCP Midstream — to construct a 22.7-million-gallon liquefied petroleum gas storage tank at Mack Point before issuing a decision on pending permits, a Feb. 16 press release said. The release was issued by the Islesboro Board of Selectmen with the assistance of the Islesboro Islands Trust.
At the Feb. 14 regular meeting of the North Haven Board of Selectmen, all five selectmen voted in favor of sending a letter expressing concern about the effect the LPG terminal may have on the island's commercial fishermen and other island businesses to Jay Clement at the Army Corps of Engineers office in Manchester.
North Haven resident and Maine Chapter Sierra Club chairwoman Becky Bartovics suggested selectmen send the letter before the period for public comment closes on Feb. 28. The Army Corps of Engineers is the lead regulatory agency on the project.
The Islesboro Board of Selectmen met Feb. 15 and agreed to send a similar letter to Clement. Board chairwoman Susan Schnur said that she was especially concerned about safety issues. The letter the Islesboro board agreed to send said, in part, “The possibility that the proposed LPG terminal and tank will diminish the scenic value, recreational opportunities and economic viability of our marine and second-home-related businesses, which this proposal clearly represents, is troubling.”
The letter said further, “A full EIS would provide more, better and sorely needed information about possible alternatives to the current large-scale proposal, about the economic impact on current businesses in the region, about whether this particular facility is needed, and about environmental effects of the LPG terminal, especially on valuable scenic resources. A public hearing on the proposal is also essential.”
North Haven Town Administrator Joseph Stone on Feb 16 said that a fact sheet provided by Islesboro Islands Trust, “was significantly persuasive that it convinced the North Haven Board of Selectmen to send [a letter] of their own.”
He said the boards are concerned about the scale of the project, its “obvious environmental impact” and the fact that the tank's contents must be kept at minus 40 degrees.
“There will be regular flare-offs,” he said. “If it ever blew up most of the Midcoast would disappear with it.”
“The absence of an EIS seems astonishing, given the scale of the project and how relatively benign projects, such as as wind turbines, undergo exhaustive review,” said Stone. “We have to go through an environmental review just to rebuild our 120-year-old bridge because it's going to take up an additional 4,000-square-feet of mudflats.”
Island response mirrors mainland concerns
Opponents of the proposal have accused the company of paying residents to influence the results of the upcoming moratorium vote and presenting “fraudulent” information. Another accusation, made at a Jan. 26 meeting in Searsport, was based on the presentation of enlarged, digitally enhanced images showing what the tank might look like from various points around town. Resident Peter Taber took issue with their accuracy, particularly with one that appeared late last year in a full-page advertisement in the Bangor Daily News that showed the proposed tank at the same width as the tanks that already exist at Mack Point. The project plans, Taber said, show the proposed tank would be nearly twice as wide as the existing tanks on the waterfront. The LPG facility would be built alongside existing port operations on the Searsport waterfront.
More than 200 people packed into Union Hall in Searsport Jan. 26 to hear a presentation from representatives of DCP Midstream.
Searsport selectman Doug Norman raised questions, at that board's Feb. 7 meeting, about whether jobs related to the project would benefit local workers.
"I asked a question about jobs and I don't think I got an adequate answer," said Norman. "They only said how many jobs would be available... When I asked what their definition of community employment is, they did not answer."

At the Jan. 26 informational meeting, DCP Midstream officials said it is preferable to hire local people to fill 12 to 15 permanent jobs and an estimated 100 construction positions, but Norman said he wanted to know if applicants from Bangor or Portland would be considered just as local as a Searsport resident.

Norman said DCP Midstream Chief Operating Officer Chris Lewis told him employment laws bar the company from discriminating against any job applicants based on race, gender, or in this case, town of residence.

"I'm bringing this up because a lot of people support this because they think they can get a job, and that might be the case, I certainly hope they do," said Norman. "But there are no guarantees."

A job fair for the project has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29, 4-8 p.m., at Union Hall on the second floor of the Searsport Town Office building.
Residents have also expressed concern over the ability of the town's volunteer fire department and emergency responders to adequately protect the public in the event of a large-scale emergency.
Anna Kessler, Astrig Tanguay and Betty Schopmeyer have been conducting a review of the town's emergency plan.
Kessler said the plan has limited information about hazards and toxic materials that are already existent in the town's port operations and being transported along Route 1. The plan, she said, does little to inform residents about the existing on-site materials, the risks involved or what the public can do to prepare for an emergency involving hazardous materials.

In addition, Kessler said, the town has no detailed warning system for alerting residents of an emergency or pending evacuation. She referred to a fire that broke out at one of the tanks at the Irving Oil facility last summer, and how despite the response of seven towns and additional equipment that was brought to the scene, it took several hours to put out the fire.
Town Manager James Gillway reminded the public that town Emergency Management Director Almon "Bud" Rivers is in the process of reviewing the town's emergency plan.
Comments in regard to the proposed DCP Mainstream tank project may be mailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Maine Project Office at 675 Western Ave #3, Manchester, ME 04351. Those wishing to comment on the project may also contact Project Manager Jay Clement at 623-8367 or visit the website at nae.usace.army.mil.
The Gazette reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by email at sauciello@villagesoup.com. VillagesSoup Journal reporter Tanya Mitchell contributed to this story.

Legislature & citizens ponder bill LD 1798 to "reform" LURC. AUDIO online

On February 16, 2012, the Maine legislature took testimony on LD 1798 ,"An Act To Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory"  The vast majority opposed the bill. Below, listen to their reaons, and the give and take between them and the senators and representatives on theAgriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee

* Bob Neff 2min 20sec
* Ken Spaulding 5min
* Plum Creek 2 min
* Buzz Lamm 6 min  
* Alexandra Fields Environment Maine 3 min 25 sec
* Lindsay Burgoyne 3min 30sec  
* Superintendent Wiggin 5 min  
* Cathy Johnson NRCM 6 min  
* Shawn Mahaney CLF 3 min  
* Cynthia Stancioff 3min
*  Beth Delvallee 5min
* Bart Hague Waterford  
* Michelle Moody 3 min  
* Jeff Pidot 3min 30 sec

Feb 14, 2012

Maine laws protecting environment face bills today to weaken them. Interested party redefined; plus more site law exemptions & redef of "adverse environmental impact"

Friends, what the heck are they thinking with these bills? Being heard today! Click for hearings links!  By replaced interested party with "aggrieved person" does it limit the ability of citizens to be involved?   Get rid of concept of "interested party? Please let me know what you think.  See also the two bills listen below this one...

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §682, sub-§6-A is enacted to read:
6-APerson aggrieved. "Person aggrieved" means a person that the commission determines has suffered or may suffer an actual or imminent injury as a result of a licensing or other decision of the commission. For the purposes of this subsection, "injury" means a decision of the commission that adversely and directly affects or will adversely and directly affect an aggrieved person's property, pecuniary or personal rights.

Sec. 2. 38 MRSA §341-D, sub-§4, ¶A, as enacted by PL 1989, c. 890, Pt. A, §13 and affected by §40, is amended to read:
A. Final license or permit decisions made by the commissioner when a person aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner appeals that decision to the board within 30 days of the filing of the decision with the board staff. The board staff shall give written notice to persons that have asked to be notified of the decision. The board may allow the record to be supplemented when it finds that the evidence offered is relevant and material and that:
(1) An interested party A person aggrieved seeking to supplement the record has shown due diligence in bringing the evidence to the licensing process at the earliest possible time; or
(2) The evidence is newly discovered and could not, by the exercise of diligence, have been discovered in time to be presented earlier in the licensing process.
The board is not bound by the commissioner's findings of fact or conclusions of law but may adopt, modify or reverse findings of fact or conclusions of law established by the commissioner. Any changes made by the board under this paragraph must be based upon the board's review of the record, any supplemental evidence admitted by the board and any hearing held by the board;

Sec. 3. 38 MRSA §361-A, sub-§3-D is enacted to read:
3-DPerson aggrieved. "Person aggrieved" means a person that the department determines has suffered or may suffer an actual or imminent injury as a result of a licensing or other decision of the department. For the purposes of this subsection, "injury" means a decision of the department that adversely and directly affects or will adversely and directly affect an aggrieved person's property, pecuniary or personal rights.

Environment and Natural Resources Committee Feb 14, 2012 1pm
LD 1648An Act To Clarify the Site Location of Development Laws Regarding Exemptions for Previously Developed SitesFeb 14, 2012, 1:00pRoom 214 Cross Building
LD 1793Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 375: No Adverse Environmental Effect Standard of the Site Location Law, a Major Substantive Rule o...

Feb 8, 2012

Searsport! Beware of Corporados bearing gifts!

 "Equo ne credite, Searsportii!  Quidquid id est, timeo DCP et dona ferentes."
"Searsporters, don’t trust this horse. Whatever is offered,  
Fear DCP when it is bearing gifts."

Feb 5, 2012

DCP Midstream Gassers imported FAKE unemployed Searsporters to public meeting

DCP-Midstream organized this group of out of town tradesmen from as far away as Madawaska  to attend the company's January 26th Searsport public info meeting, in exchange for a vague commitment from Big Gas to consider hiring them.
  Because, to multinational gas giant DCP, hiring "locally" doesn't mean Searsport, or necessarily even Maine.