On DCP involvement in height ordinance

As many of you already know, the Planning Board process in Searsport is flawed. We thought we had the industrialization of Searsport under control because we had a height ordinance that limited the size of any structures and would prevent things like this monster tank. Somehow, long before the appearance of DCP in town, someone got the bright idea that we should change our ordinances to a new limit that would allow the largest tank in the world to just sneak in. Of course this was done in concert with DCP lawyers who actually drew up our new ordinance. And somehow, the article got on the ballot. Sponsored by whom is unclear but for whom is without question. This was done without our knowledge and we were hoodwinked. This letter is to request an explanation and to shed light on a very disappointing situation:

Chairman, and Members, Searsport Planning Board,

On behalf of the Searsport Good Governance Group, and many concerned Searsport citizens, I request you conduct a complete investigation into the events leading up to and including the changing of our height ordinance at Town Meeting. Whose idea was it and how did DCP lawyers get involved? Which individuals were aware of the plan to get this on the ballot and how did it get there? Why were we not allowed to discuss the issue completely before we voted to raise the height requirement by 250-percent? Why were the citizens not appraised of DCP's involvement and future plans for Searsport as soon as they became known to members of the board? Weren't town officials ethically required to reveal relevant information to the voters before the vote?

We are requesting you conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and take appropriate steps to remove any PB members who had involvement in or prior knowledge of DCP's role in the height ordinance issue. Any knowledge of DCP's role on the part of Town Officials that did not lead to full disclosure is bad behavior and must be dealt with.

Please provide us with a written report of your findings and actions. If this is not possible, we request the Board of Selectmen send this issue on to MMA for their opinion and involvement. To avoid a conflict of interest and the appearance of wrongdoing, please take appropriate actions before the hearings proceed any further.

Harlan McLaughlin,


Tank size demonstration

On Nov. 18 about 235 people gathered at Waterfall Arts in Belfast. They formed a circle to demonstrate the circumference of the 23 million gallon liquid propane gas tank that DCP Midstream plans to erect in Searsport. This group was assembled in slightly more than 48- hours by a core group of about 35 concerned Midcoast citizens. We have decided to call ourselves Circle Against the Tank, the circle being our first action, our signature, and the inspiration for our next event.

On Saturday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. we will once again form the circle. Join your Midcoast Maine neighbors at Mosman Park in Searsport on Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. to form a 202-foot diameter “human chain” circle to represent the actual size footprint of DCP’s proposed 23 million gallon LPG tank. Everyone is invited to attend this dramatic, one-hour event action.

Music and poetry will be shared. In case of inclement weather, the Circle will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12. This will be the last action to be taken before the Searsport Town Planning Board resumes public hearings on Jan. 16. We anticipate press coverage, so a strong showing becomes essential. Framing the tank as a regional, as well as a local issue is an argument that needs to be put forth and a large crowd reenforces that.

Parking for the gathering will be available in the public lot on Goodell Street across from Tozier's Market. There will be help available to guide you to the parking lot and direct you to the Mosman Park. Come join us — I guarantee a good time and I'll bet you feel good about yourself if you come.

Robert Shaw