Tank opposition circles in show of resistanceDemonstration shows scale of tank project
Belfast — More than 200 concerned residents from around the state gathered on the athletic field behind the Waterfall Arts building Sunday, Nov. 18, to demonstrate how large the diameter of the proposed Searsport liquid propane gas tank is in anticipation of public hearings regarding the project.
As demonstrators arrived at the field and began to form the 202-foot diameter circle, sporadic chants broke out and signs showing exploding tanker ships and trucks could be seen.
The demonstration served two purposes, co-organizer Peter Wilkinson explained: the first is to show people a rough scale of the size of the project and secondly, to rally people opposed to the tank in advance of the public hearings scheduled for the last week of November.
"Now you know what 202-feet looks like, and now they know what democracy looks like," Wilkinson said to a gathering of about 228 people.
After the demonstration ended, Wilkinson said the event was the result of a plan that was formulated Thursday, Nov. 15.
"There has never been an on the ground footprint that shows what it [the tank] looks like," Wilkinson said. "Let's show people what it actually looks like."
Concerns raised by residents who attended the demonstration ranged from the impact on traffic, safety and housing values.
Belfast resident Mary Brand said safety is her biggest concern because of what she described as a lack of resources in the region to respond to an accident.
Northport resident Donna Ptak said the problem with the tank issue is that the Searsport Planning Board is "failing to realized it's a regional issue." Attendees also noted the increased traffic volume from the trucks hauling the fuel would congest highways and destroy roads because of their weight.
In addition to residents from around the state, several organizations attended, including: Thanks, But No Tank, Waldo County Peace and Justice, Islesboro Island Trust and 350.org Maine, as well as others.
Before the crowds dispersed, event organizers encouraged everyone to show up to the public hearings, which are scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 26, at 6 p.m. at Searsport High School.
"We're going to say no to this tank," Thanks But No Tank member Ken Agabian said.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.