Tonight's hearing on DCP proposal canceled
Searsport — Searsport Planning Board Chairman Bruce Probert announced Wednesday morning, Jan. 16, that the first of three public hearings on a proposal from Colorado-based DCP Midstream that was scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight has been canceled.
Probert said he decided to call off the hearing for two reasons: Safety and the lack of a venue large enough to accommodate the large crowd that is expected to attend.
Probert said because the snow storm that swept the Midcoast region Wednesday prompted Regional School Unit 20 administrators to release students at noon, Searsport District High School would not be open.
The only other option for a venue was Union Hall and because of the limited seating in that building, Probert said, some who wished to attend might be turned away due to capacity issues.
"And we don't want to do that," said Probert.
Parking would also be an issue, and Probert said he was concerned about the safety of everyone who would have been traveling to attend the hearing.
Probert said the hearings would instead reconvene Thursday, Jan. 17 and would continue through Friday night, Jan. 18.
Earlier this week, Probert said there was "a 50-50 chance or less" that all of the business regarding the DCP application would be completed during the three nights of hearings that were originally scheduled for this week. With that scenario becoming more probable now that tonight's hearing is canceled, Probert said, the board would likely schedule two more nights of hearings Monday, Jan. 28, and Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The Searsport Planning Board scheduled the hearings for the proposed liquefied petroleum gas storage tank at Mack Point — a development that would include a 22.7-million-gallon LPG tank — to gather public input about the project.
Wednesday night's hearing was to begin with the presentation of an all risks hazards assessment study from Good Harbor Techmark, a study that Islesboro Island Trust commissioned last fall. The study from the consulting firm owned by counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke was released Monday, Jan. 14, and the report recommended “not proceeding with the project as currently proposed." The report concludes that the Searsport Planning Board must deny the LPG permit applications submitted by DCP.