Opponents of a proposed 22.7 million gallon propane tank at Mack Point want locals to know that if the project goes through, the impact will be felt far beyond Town of Searsport.

Astrig Tanguay of Searsport, co-owner of Searsport Shores Campground, is one of several citizens and business owners from the Penobscot Bay region who will host a slide show presentation and discussion called “Thanks but no tank” Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Searsport Town Hall and again Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Belfast Free Library.

The discussion will be focused on a proposal from DCP Midstream. The Denver, Colo. based company hopes to construct a propane terminal at Mack Point, a development that would include a 137-foot-tall fuel storage tank with a capacity of more than 20 million gallons.

Tanguay was one of many Searsport residents and businesspeople who publicly spoke out against a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal that was rumored to become a potential part of the landscape at Sears Island several years ago. That development never happened.

These days, Tanguay is joining some of her neighbors and fellow businesspeople to call attention to a new proposed development that she said is in many ways similar the LNG facility some feared would come into Searsport back in 2003-04.

“They’re couching it differently, and they’ve made a much slicker proposal,” she said of DCP Midstream representatives. “But they’re still bringing in a lot of potentially dangerous liquid.”

Tanguay raised several concerns about how communities throughout the Midcoast region could be impacted by the proposed development, which has already been given a green light from the state Department of Transportation and is awaiting final approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“Questions need to be raised and answered about the safety and effects of as many as 144 tanker truck trips each day through the main streets of Midcoast and surrounding area towns,” stated Tanguay in the release promoting next week’s presentation and discussion.

The increased truck traffic, said Tanguay, could bring one fuel tanker truck onto the Route 1 corridor every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day — and she said that’s the kind of heavy traffic that can speed up the need for road repairs in a state that is struggling financially.

And while Tanguay said her understanding is that much of the truck transportation would occur during the winter months, that information did little to ease her concerns about general safety.

“Is that when we really want those large tankers on the road?” Tanguay said. “This is our Main Street… So many of us use Route 1 all the time.”

The first half of next week’s presentations will feature a slide show while the second hour will be a moderated discussion about the proposal and the implications of allowing a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal into the community.

“We’re going to talk about the local definition of prosperity, and about what it is we want,” she said.

Tanguay said she and other area businesspeople are worried that Maine’s estimated $15 billion tourism industry will suffer in exchange for about a dozen permanent jobs the LPG terminal promises to bring to town.

“This is about way more than Searsport,” she said.

Robin Clukey of DEP said this week that while the department issued a cursory approval to the proposal last month, DEP has yet to give the project final approval. In terms of when that decision would be made, Clukey said DEP has a statutory deadline of Dec. 5. The project has been under DEP review since June.

Clukey said since the review process began, DEP has received comments from 35 people who oppose the project, and “a couple for it.” That ratio, Clukey said, is common for similar types of developments that have approached Maine communities on the past.

DCP Midstream Spokesperson Roz Elliott said Monday, Oct. 24 that the company wants to hear all forms of feedback about the project proposal, good or bad.

“We welcome that,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to have a good discussion.”

Elliott said those kids of exchanges typically begin with answering the question, “Why Searsport?”

“Because it has an existing dock,” said Elliott. “And the community is aware of what it’s like to have ship traffic.”

Elliott also stated that while bringing in an LPG terminal would provide a boost to Searsport’s tax base and provide jobs, it is an equally important development for the entire state in terms of having a steady propane supply available.

“We’ve had some cold winters, and it’s been challenging at times,” she said. “There have been times when the supply in Canada has been constrained.”

Mack Point, Elliott said, is a desirable location because it has access to rail, marine and truck transportation as well as a nearby pipeline.

Elliott estimated that the DCP terminal would bring between five and six ships a year to the docks at Mack Point, a place that she said routinely accommodates between 130 and 150 ships annually.

“We’re certainly not going to be the biggest person at the dock,” she said.

Elliott estimated that the terminal would create between 10 and 15 full times jobs at the site, and that’s not counting the “domino effect” on the job market that would come as the result of the company’s reliance on other local services. Contracted roles, such as security officers and welders, would also be needed at the site, and Elliott said the company has been known to provide job training. When DCP Midstream built a facility in Pennsylvania, Elliott said, the company brought in an expert welder to train local people who were already working in the field.

“There are various trades we rely on, and we try to hire locally,” she said.

DCP Midstream does not have a formal application filed with the town at this time, in part because the town’s land use ordinance, as it was formerly written, would have prohibited a 137-foot-tall structure — in this case, a propane storage tank.

At the annual town meeting in March, however, voters narrowly approved an amendment to the ordinance that allowed a 150-foot height limit for structures including cranes, bulk fuel storage tanks, silos and grain elevators. The land use ordinance formerly allowed for accessory structures (cranes, silos and towers) of up to 125 feet in height.

The height restriction change opened the door for DCP Midstream to come to town, but Tanguay said the vote to alter the ordinance does not necessarily mean Searsport residents are welcoming an LPG tank to town.

“It’s like they’re saying, ‘You voted for the height change, you get a tank,'” Tanguay said.

Elliott said it is important for the company to work not only with town government when looking to move into a new community, but to work with the people who live there — people who might turn out to be neighbors to DCP Midstream employees.

“When we come into a community we don’t just build a facility, we live there and we work there,” she said.

Searsport Town Manager James Gillway said residents have done their share of independent research about the project proposal, and that he has been impressed by that initiative to learn as much as possible about DCP Midstream and the LPG industry in general.

“When I hear about the progress of the project through DEP, it’s often from a resident,” he said. “We don’t always need to be the first to know. There are some good people right here in the community who know more than we do as a management team.”

Even so, Gillway stressed that the DCP Midstream proposal is no closer to becoming reality than it was when the company held a series of informational meetings in Searsport last winter.

“I want people to know, this is not a done deal, nothing’s been packaged, no promises have been made, nothing,” he said.

Both of the “thanks but no tank” forums will run from 6-8 p.m.