Tank opposition circles in show of resistance

Demonstration shows scale of tank project
By Ben Holbrook | Nov 20, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook About 228 residents gathered for a "circle of resistance" to demonstrate the impact of a liquid propane gas storage tank.

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 bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.




Comments (7)
Posted by: Avery Grace | Nov 21, 2012 11:36

Fuzzy math? The circumference of a 202' diameter circle is approximately 635 ft with an area or footprint of 32,047 ft2

DCP spent over $100,000 to distort and tear Searsport apart to defeat the moratorium. ( It looks as though the circle event was organized in two days without payoffs).  This not only effectively took away all of the town's bargaining power but has delayed the permitting process by dragging out the discovery of missing permits, delayed studies and market realities.

Here's some more math practice for you:

At 138 ft in height what would the volume of the proposed tank be?

A 138' tank constructed 60 ft. above the existing tanks would stand ______ ft. above sea level.

How many yards of fill does it take to build a 60 ft. tall berm wall around the proposed LPG tank facility? ..in the wetlands under the tank?

The US 1 corridor from Savage road to Station Ave. has a crash rate of 224.23 crashes per million , twice the state average.  Given plus 12% of downtown traffic is heavy trucks, what are the odds of a heavy truck accident in the next 5 years?  (Helpful fact-The two lane downtown road was built in 1945 for automobiles , currently supporting a daily traffic count of over 12,000 vehicles.)

What percentage of the plus $50 million  taxpayers have invested in the port and Sears Island have come back into the town of Searsport or the region?

In 2011, taxpayers invested close to $22,000,000 in the MMA railroad.  What percentage of the Tourism dollars generated in 2010 is that investment? (hint: Number of dollars generated by tourism in the State of Maine in 2010  was $15 billion)

The math goes on and on but gets us no where if we don’t start looking at the big picture and answer some very tough questions.

This is a regional issue, not a Searsport one.  Everybody will be paying.  But for just a moment, let's recognize that  Searsport does not have a process in place for working towards a viable economic prosperity for all.  As a result, most of the past generation’s energies have been spent fighting to get more of taxpayer monies and promote industrial growth as our salvation, a dead end on all fronts.  The hateful energy that local residents display towards local business owners, retirees and young people will keep us in a perpetual downward spiral.

We are looking towards the future. The future that was laid out in the Brookings Report and by the forefather's we're forever quoting...economic stability comes from local businesses spending their resources within the local economy.  Maine is strong because we haven't relied upon multinationals to float our economy...why start now?

Posted by: Marilyn Saucier | Nov 21, 2012 08:15

I agree, Faith...this is an extreme exaggeration. What difference does the diameter of the tank make, anyway? This is just another feeble attempt to stop progress in the area. Without industry, what do we have?

I think that by saying there is "a lack of resources in the region to respond to an accident" is a slap in the face to our local emergency responders. As a Searsport resident living only a little over a mile away from the tank area, I put my total faith in our local fire department and emergency response teams!

Posted by: Melvin J. Box | Nov 21, 2012 06:11

Again the NO TANK people throwing mud against the wall hoping some of it will stick. I'm sill trying to figure out what "we are your real neighbors" means.

Posted by: Virgil Fowles Jr | Nov 21, 2012 03:38

Interesting to know why they didn't count how many Searsport Residents participated...

Posted by: Faith L Garrold | Nov 20, 2012 16:24

second post!! I mis used a word- Diameter is not perimeter!!!

Posted by: Win Hood | Nov 20, 2012 15:57

Proponents outnumbered them last time it came to a vote; wonder how big a circle they could make.

Posted by: Faith L Garrold | Nov 20, 2012 15:44

Another exaggeration!  220 people, standing as pictured, would result in a circle far greater than the perimeter of the proposed tank!  Do the math- 228 people, times an average of two feet each, equals plus or minus 456 feet!!!

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