Jun 28, 2012

Statoil Speaks: six Interviews at public info meeting June 21, 2012 in Rockland

 Listen below to recorded interviews below of 3 Statoil officials, one consultant, a representative of the DeepCwind Consortium and a Seagrant staffer who mingeld with attendeees at a public information meeting  held June 26th  by Statoil at the Rockland Library's meeting hall, to describe its Hywind Maine Project to deploy 4 turbines between 12 to 15 miles offshore of Brunswick, Maine. The Seagrant staffer  said  zero members of the Maine fishing industry attended this eventRead Bangor Daily News coverage 

The recorded interviews below have background sounds of conferees talking and are presented in the order  that Ron Huber recorded them.
Kari Hege Mork, Stakeholder manager  5 minutes 30 seconds
Jennifer Daniels Tetratech (Enviro assessment consultant)  8 mi 45 sec.
Kristin Aamodt, Statoil Project Manager  8 minutes 49 seconds
Peter Marcus K Greve, Statoil Environmental Assessment mgr,  7 minutes 14 seconds
Jake Ward  educator, U Maine  DeepCwind Consortium
Sherman Hoyt  Seagrant/A\Cooperative Extension   7 minutes 20 seconds

Earlier Statoil Hywind events audio
 * 5/23/12, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a 20 minute public  teleconference (mp3)  after concluding its closed session meeting about Statoil's proposal
* 3/12/12 Statoil at 2012 Maine Fishermens Forum

Jun 25, 2012

DCP Midstream tells Searsport: muzzle citizens' speech & don't consider impacts of planned giant LPG tank on tourism.

Searsport. Citizens reacted sharply after disclosure of a letter sent recently to Searsport town officials by gas industry giant DCP Midstream. Signed by lawyer Kelly Boden, and reeking with arrogance, the June 15th letter tells the town to bar citizens attending all future planning board meetings from mentioning the company and its controversial plan to replace Searsport's Mack Point coastal forest with a 22.3 million gallon Liquified Petroleum Gas tank and trucking terminal. 
       Furthermore, the corporate lawyer sneers in the letter, it's TOO LATE to worry about the effect the Gassers' facility will have on the tourism-dependent upper bay area's tourism.
DCP attorney Kelly Boden, left, disrupting public speaking session .
"Opponents of the project are taking advantage of the 'open to the public' portion of the Board's meeting"  DCP whined in the five page letter. Boden called the citizens speaking their mind "prejudicial and disruptive".
       Area residents dismissed the company's assertions.
      "It was through the "Open To The Public" forum that it became apparent there was a [Maine] Fuel Board Permit missing", said Christopher Hyk.  "It was through the same forum that the lapsed lease came to light." 
     "Neither the Searsport Planning Board or Kelly knew of these issues." Hyk observed. "What else is missing or compromised? I suspect there are a few other issues Kelly would like to avoid."
     "They basically sent a letter "instructing" the board to muzzle any comment of the project during the public comment period of OUR meetings," said David Italiaander.  "Then they objected when they couldn't push to the front of the line during our open-to-the-public comment period to offer rebuttals."

DCP atty Kilbreth, left, tells board: stop public speakers.
"More galling" Italiaander continued " is their narrow reading and misreading and misinterpretation of  applicable ordinances.  We all know the intent of the property values ordinance was to protect the property values of all those potentially affected. In this case that is the entire town.       
       Ann Flack, also of Searsport, noted that the purpose of the public speaking time is to let citizens provide the Planning Board with "advice on how to thoroughly reject the DCP application, using their ordinances."
       The propane peddling company's letter complained that the list of  issues to be considered in an upcoming economic study of  DCP's giant propane tank is "far broader than necessary."  
       While residents point out that tourism is the primary economic engine of Searsport and nearby towns, the company declare in their letter that studying the effect of the giant tank on scenic tourism must not be part of the economic study.
       "{T]he proposal to include an assessment on "tourism" is inappropriate, as there are no performance standards that address tourism,  DCP attorney Boden wrote. "Evaluating the project's impact on tourism is not helpful and a waste of both the Planning Board's and DCP's time and resources. "  See Searsport Planning Board Performance Standards
       Opponents of the company's tank plan rejected Boden's assertion, pointing out that, as tourism IS the economic driver of the region, an economic study that fails take tourism into account would be hopelessly flawed. Moreover Searsport's Performance Standard 1. "Preserve and Enhance the Landscape", and Performance Standard 2  "Relationship of Proposed Buildings to Environment" exist largely to protect resources vital to local tourism.
       DCP's liquified petroleum gas tank, along with its associated flare tower and 24/7 truck operations cannot possibly meet either of those performance standards, according to Ron Huber of Penobscot Bay Watch. 
       "The recent balloon test showed that the giant tank, which would hulk thirteen stories high above the town, would be an egregious eyesore from every direction", Huber said. adding that "flattening an irreplaceable coastal forest and replacing it with concrete,  steel and asphalt  will not 'fit in harmoniously with the surrounding terrain' no matter how many times gas industry lawyers claim otherwise."  

Jun 21, 2012

Balloons prove DCP tank would be "world class eyesore".

Photographic results are in. This morning's deployment of red and yellow balloons above the forested site that  DCP Midstream hopes to clearcut and pave before erecting the east coast's biggest liquified petroleum gas tank show conclusively that the tank would be an objectionably instrusive addition to the world class scenic visual assets of Penobscot Bay.
Can you see me now? DCP test balloons rise above horizon , June 21, 2012
As damning as the balloon test results are, they pale in comparison with the scenic disruption the actual tank would cause. While the balloons suggest the general outline of the top third of the liquified petroleum gas tank, missing from the picture is the middle third of the tank that would be visible once the forest in the center of the picture is stripped from the site, (which presently features some of the oldest forested wetlands in Maine).

Nor does the balloon deployment demonstrate how the nighttime view of the starry western  sky would be degraded. Not only would the tank be festooned with blinking lights, it would be accompanied by a flare tower that would  send  Mordor-like flames roaring into the sky whenever minute temperature shifts roil the ocean of superchilled gasses in the tank.

Opponents of the Gasser-wanabees mocked the company's spectacular fail. "DCP proposes grafting a world class eyesore on our bay's  world class scenic vistas," said Penobscot Bay Watch leader Ron Huber. "Blind with greed, they just don't get it."
DCP balloons viewed from Rt 1 north of Sears Island Rd. (trees in middle of photo would be clearcut)

In a letter to the Searsport Planning board - which must rule on  the company's tank application- a spokesperson for grassroots civic group Thanks But No Tank! dismissed the balloon plan as one more of "DCP's pathetic and desperate attempts to explain their way out of producing a 3D scale model (agreed to and, in fact, promised well over a year ago)"   In a claim that has drawn universal scorn, the  billion dollar company asserted that creating a digital 3D scale model of its proposed tank and related buildings and pipelines would be too expensive and time consuming.

 "An insult to the citizens and the [Searsport] Planning Board alike." the spokesperson said. "DCP does not want the Board or the public to see the magnitude of the tank and terminal."

Additional photographs of the DCP balloon test from more locations will be added to this story as they arrive.

Jun 19, 2012

Maine tidal & floating wind power leaders took calls on public radio

John Ferland
On June 16, 2012, Habib Dagher of DeepCwind Consortium and John Ferland of Ocean Renewable Power Company appeared on Maine public radio's "Maine Calling" show.

Ferland discussed the progress of his company's submerged tidal  energy turbine, known as theTidGen™ Power System. Over the course of this year ORPC will install up to 5 of its  tidal generators in Cobscook Bay.

Dagher discussed the DeepCwind Consortium's floating wind turbine. While the plan originally called for deployment of the consortium's first prototype floating windmill off Monhegan Island this summer, delays in obtaining several required permits have forced the rollout of the prototype to next year.
Click on the links below to listen to the two energy pioneers speaking with MPBN's Keith Shortall and field questions from callers and emailers.All recordings are MP3s.

Introduction  1 minute 40 seconds
Discussion with Dr. Dagher  5 minutes
Discussion with  Mr. Ferland   5 minutes 30 seconds
Call-in questions 1   12 minutes
Call-in questions  2 to end of show 11 minutes 30 seconds
Listen to MPBN podcast of complete show  43 minutes

Jun 15, 2012

DCP Midstream attorneys try to muzzle Maine citizens at Searsport public meeting

Mainers reacted with anger and disbelief  when attorneys for Colorado-based DCP Midstream Corp tried to interrupt & close down the public comment section of a meeting on the company's controversial plan to install an oversized LPG tank on the shore of scenic Penobscot Bay.

SEARSPORT. At the June 11th meeting of the Searsport Planning Board, DCP Midstream attorneys Kelly Boden & James Kilbreth tried to block and even close down public comment on the Denver-based company's controversial plan for a 22.6 million gallon liquified petroleum gas tank in this tiny port town.  The two lawyers' unsuccessful efforts were captured on videoAngry Mainers are calling for the company to replace the two attorneys with others who actually respect Maine law. (Youtube version of incident)

Area residents were already upset because DCP Midstream officials had succeeded in convincing town officials to delay the public comment section of the evening meeting for more than three hours, causing many citizens to have to leave before their opportunity to speak came up. The public comment section of planning board meetings in Maine are traditionally held at the beginning of the meeting.

But emotions reached a flashpoint when DCP attorneys Kelly B. Boden and James Kilbreth, working in tandem, apparently tried to shut the delayed public comment period down. 

First, Boden walked to the front of the line of citizens waiting to speak. Told by Searsport  planning board chair Bruce Probert to return to the end of the line, the DCP lawyer ignored the request, pushed  past Camden resident Thomas Michaels, who was just beginning his testimony, and announced that she wanted to object to statements made by previous public speakers. Expressions of disbelief filled the air as enraged Mainers echoed the planning board chief in telling Boden to go away from the podium. Probert finally ordered the DCP lawyer to back off and called for calm.  

Then, as Thomas Michaels resumed his testimony, noting the added costs the company's controversial  tank would bring to towns around Penobscot Bay, and challenging DCP's refusal to produce a simple 3-D representation of the company's proposal, DCP's other attorney, James Kilbreth, walked to the front of the chamber and, referring to the hubbub created by Boden, told town officials "you better shut this [meeting] down".  The Planning Board declined Kilbreth's "advice", and allowed Michaels and other citizens to testify. Recording of complete hearing here
This disgraceful behavior by DCP's lawyers is a warning call to Mainers. The  Maine Supreme Judicial Court found late last year that Kilbreth violated state ethics rules in an embezzlement case. 

If DCP Midstream continues to allow these two to represent them on this project, then it will be clear that the company has nothing but contempt for Maine law and Maine people.

Recent media Coverage of DCP's controversial plan: Click Here


Jun 4, 2012

Statoil to hold public mtgs on off-Maine floating windmill plan: June 25th 26th, 27th.

Do you want to have a say in the decision on installing 4 deepwater floating windmills off Maine?  Here's your chance.

On June 25, 26 and 27, the American subsidiary of Statoil will be hosting what it calls "Introductory public informational sessions for the Hywind Maine Pilot offshore wind project"  at the following locations:

June 25, 2012: Boothbay – Boothbay Firehouse (4 – 7pm) 911 Wiscasset Rd, Boothbay, 

June 26, 2012:  Rockland  Rockland Public Library (5:30-8pm) 80 Union Street, Rockland, 

June 27, 2012: Portland - Gulf of Maine Research Institute (4 -7pm) 350 Commercial St.

The company writes: "All sessions will be in Open House format so individuals can speak to our team members, gather information, and learn how to stay informed throughout the regulatory process.  

The pilot project will include four floating wind turbines in federal waters and is scheduled for construction in 2016."

For more information contact Kristin Amodt of Statoil. Email:  kriaa AT statoil.com