Searsport LPG proposal

Tank demonstrators come from miles around

Some locals question protest's impact on businesses
By Tanya Mitchell | Jul 10, 2012
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell Arlene Jurewicz Leighton of Lincolnville, right, joins a group of demonstrators on Main Street in Searsport Sunday afternoon, July 8.

Searsport — Several Midcoast residents lined Main Street Sunday afternoon, July 8, to participate in a demonstration opposing a proposed 22.7-million-gallon liquefied petroleum gas storage tank at Mack Point, and apparently not everyone in town was happy about it.

While some participants were Searsport residents, others came from neighboring communities, including Stockton Springs, Belfast, Lincolnville, Camden, Rockport and Penobscot. More than 60 demonstrators attended the two hour protest. They carried signs that called attention to questions about the proposal from DCP Midstream of Denver, Colo.

While some in passing vehicles offered honks and waves to indicate support for the demonstration, others yelled criticisms at the group. A man who was passing by on foot commented, "Blocking pedestrian traffic is not cool."

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton of Lincolnville said she came out to call attention to questions residents in her hometown raised at a June 25 meeting of the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen, during which time the board agreed to send a letter of concern regarding the project to the Town of Searsport.

"We're an inter-connected system, and we really need to look at this in a broader view," she said.

Leighton said she and some of her neighbors presented a letter to their Select Board that included 30 signatures of Lincolnville residents who shared concerns about everything from how Lincolnville might benefit from a mutual aid agreement with Searsport to the project's potential impacts on the environment.

Leighton also expressed concern about what the entire process of importing and exporting LPG from a facility at Mack Point might entail, from the time a fuel-filled tanker enters the bay to deliver the product to the terminal to how it gets distributed and where it's all going from there.

"This is about the industrialization of Penobscot Bay," she said. "Is that what we as a region want? Is that in our economic best interest?"

Others displayed signs urging DCP representatives to present a full-scale model of the storage tank and surrounding buildings, an issue that arose at the June Searsport Planning Board meeting. At that time, company representatives balked at creating the model and stated the exercise would be cost-prohibitive.

At one point during the demonstration, Searsport resident Faith Garrold approached the Republican Journal and questioned how having a group of protesters standing on the sidewalks might adversely impact the small businesses along the Main Street corridor.

"These people are not going to stop and wade through this mess to get into the [Penobscot] Marine Museum," she said, referring to the passers-by on Route 1.

Moments later, Garrold could be heard asking how many of the demonstrators were Searsport taxpayers, at which time demonstrator Joelle Madiec stated that she is a taxpayer of Stockton Springs, and that the project could affect her town as well as Searsport if it were to become reality.

Simultaneously, Searsport residents Don Garrold and tank opponent Peter Taber got into a debate about the project proposal and the demonstration, after which Garrold told Taber, "You're so wrong."

Comments (5)
Posted by: Elizabeth Townsend | Jul 12, 2012 16:32

It makes me so sad, so sad to see the people of midcoast Maine taken advantage of by a big oil corporation.  DCP in partnership with ConocoPhillips, out of Colorado, could care less about the people of midcoast Maine, they are coming to little Searsport for one reason, PROFIT!  Profit that will be funneled right by Maine to big oil people in Colorado.  Meanwhile the quality of life will be compromised for everyone in the midcoast area, including our children and our children's children.  We will have to live with the blight of a huge tank towering in our sky, well above the the tree line.  Every time you drive down Route 1, walk the shoreline, boat on Penobscot Bay, or climb local summits what we'll see is a glaringly huge white tank, out of scale to all that surrounds it.  We are suckers, we loose our beautiful coast-- for what? 12 jobs.... what about the jobs lost in tourism? Tourist come to the Maine coast to get away from this sort of industrial blight that carpets most of the eastern seaboard. From Whale watching to people driving up Route 1 just for its beauty.  Who profits? BIG OIL! Who loses? Midcoast Maine.  

 

Will we have greater energy security? NO!  We are just a way station for LPG coming from away, going away, this arrangement is not for us, it is for DCP profits. What else will we get?  More tankers carrying highly flammable LPG dominating our bay, and more tanker trucks carrying highly flammable LPG dominating Route 1.  Just bringing LPG in and out on our roads and waterways. We are suckers. 

 

Why Searsport? Searsport is easy to take advantage of, naive enough to sell its soul for 12 jobs.  There are miles and miles of industrialized gray spaces from Portsmouth to Norfolk, Virginia open for business--- but all those industrialized area are wiser and would require more licensing and much more cost.  Searsport is cheap, easy and foolish-- because of this the quality of life is compromised for all of us. We are the suckers. It just makes me sad to see such a waste of natural beauty.  Please google DCP/ConocoPhillips to gain some understanding of the size/wealth of this corporation.

 

 



Posted by: ed Gworek | Jul 12, 2012 06:23

BRAVO Mary Jean!



Posted by: MARY JEAN CROWE | Jul 11, 2012 09:20

 

The photographs indicate just the opposite - citizens along the sidewalk, or standing within parking spots not obstructing foot commerce or traffic. Folks I chatted with were appalled that Searsport might bring this tank to the region, further industrializing it. One remarked, "Searsport doesn’t appreciate the gem it has."

If you think the rally interrupted traffic, consider how 18 months of construction will interfere, and then the daily increase of trucks once the tank is operating. It's inconceivable why Searsport would willingly invite more tanker trucks through such a tiny main street.  Standing there listening to the rabble from traffic (vacationers heading north/south), feeling the rumble created by 80,000 lb. trucks, breathing the exhaust fumes, and watching Museum visitors do battle crossing the street within crosswalks with no “STOP for Pedestrian” signs (why?), but ample “NO Parking/Police Take Notice” signs on side streets, it is no wonder that tourists continue through town to other destinations.

It is DCP who has gravely interrupted life in the midcoast. We who oppose the tank, who live here and pay taxes, resent the intrusion of this corporation into our communities, and the Searsport Planning Board’s dismissal of consideration for its neighbors.

Searsport tank proponents have their “truths” about the benefits of this project, and we will not change one another’s minds.  But with Searsport’s reliance on Mutual Aid effecting all of us within Waldo County, not to mention the questions that we have related to safety, pollution, infrastructure, and the impact on the environment and economy, Searsport takes advantage of all of us by denying our right to be involved and have a voice in the process.  As a neighbor, Searsport has been secretive and indifferent to its neighbors. Like it or not this is a REGIONAL ISSUE.

 



Posted by: Priscilla Elizabeth Mace | Jul 10, 2012 17:21

If the TBNT group feels that the tank will affect the tourism trade, how do they justify the interruption of travel due to the people and signs lining the Main Street.  If I were a tourist, I might feel a little "threatened" by it all.  Something for this group to think about.....



Posted by: Faith L Garrold | Jul 10, 2012 16:28

The photographs accompanying this article are very clear as to the blockade of legitimate businesses during this "rally" and not unobtrusive as has been stated by many.



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