Buddy Hall, owner and operator of Anglers Restaurant in Searsport, is concerned over how the Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit for a proposal from Colorado-based DCP Midstream to construct a 22.7 million gallon Liquefied Petroleum Gas storage tank at Mack Point.

Hall said that public comments about the project proposal were based on two different site maps that were displayed for public inspection as part of the permitting process.

Though the backside of his restaurant would sit between 300 and 400 feet away from the proposed fuel tank, Hall said he’s not necessarily opposed to the project itself, though he has openly stated it would hurt his business were the proposal to become a reality.

What Hall is concerned with is that a portion of his property was included in the site maps that were initially displayed for public inspection by the Army Corps of Engineers when DCP Midstream was undergoing the permitting phase. Hall is also interested in knowing why the public comment process continued even after Hall told DCP officials of the mistake and the Army Corps came back with a corrected map.

“How can you post maps that are required for public comment if the maps are incorrect?” said Hall in a recent phone interview. “How can they approve that?”

In addition to the first map showing a parcel of Hall’s land included within the boundaries of the proposed project, Hall said the second map corrected that issue, but included a new location for the proposed pipeline.The public comment period spanned from Jan. 31 to Feb. 29, 2012.

Hall said he feels the public comment process should have started over once he brought the land ownership issue to the attention of company and Army Corps officials. He said he’s asked Army Corps Senior Project Manager Jay Clement those very questions, but Hall said he has yet to obtain the information he seeks.

“My questions never get answered,” said Hall. “This doesn’t pass the smell test.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday, May 15, Clement said Hall is correct in his claims that the maps showed two different locations for the proposed pipeline, noting DCP Midstream officials made that change in the interest of working with existing industry at Mack Point.

“That change was made by the applicant as they were working in conjunction with the folks who are operating at Mack Point,” said Clements, referring to companies like Sprague Energy and Irving that are already operating at the port.

The pipeline was moved more inland from its initial location, which Clement said was closer to the shoreline and “made a lot of sense for a number of reasons,” the chief one being the move eliminated some of the wetland impact for the project.

On the question of how Hall’s land came to be included among the land DCP Midstream plans to use for the project, Clement said it is not uncommon for a site map to include “some portions of land in the area” of a proposed project site, and even more common for maps posted for public comment to be “revised or fine-tuned” to better reflect the specifics in a project proposal.

“Because the changes were not of any real magnitude, we felt there was no reason to go out and require a new comment period,” said Clement.

Clement said in terms of why the Amry Corps opted not to hold a public hearing on the DCP Midstream proposal, those who wrote letters and emails opposing the project “opposed it for a whole host of different reasons that were not related to the plans.” The same was true, he said, of the people who offered comments favoring the project.

“We made those decisions based on much broader issues,” said Clement, noting that the public comments offered from both sides of the LPG debate were added to the formal record, but did not pertain to the portions of the plan the Army Corps has charged.

Hall hasn’t been the only one bemoaning the lack of an Army Corps public hearing.

In an April 25 letter addressed to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud, the Islesboro Board of Selectmen decried the the Corps’ decision to forgo public hearings on the DCP Midstream proposal.

“In the Town of Islesboro letter to you dated March 30, 2012, we expressed grave concern about the impacts of the proposal on the environment, economy, health, public safety, security and quality of life on Islesboro and in Penobscot Bay communities,” stated the letter from Islesboro town officials. “Only a comprehensive environmental impact study and public hearings will adequately address these concerns.”

Town officials also shared what was described in their April 25 letter as the email from Clement that Islesboro received in response to their request for a public hearing, correspondence that was dated April 24.

“You requested a public hearing on the application by DCP Searsport, LLC to place fill in waterways and wetlands in order to develop a liquid propane off-loading and storage facility at Mack Point,” stated Clement in the email. “Based on an evaluation of the issues and findings… we have determined that there is no valid interest to be served by holding a public hearing.”

The Army Corps said it received public comment in the form of 211 letters or emails in opposition to the project, 22 of which contained requests for a public hearing and 135 letters or emails expressing support for the project.

But that explanation doesn’t sit well with Hall.

“It should at least be put back out for public comment with the right map,” he said.