October 21, 2017
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Comments for: Opponents given ‘interested party status’ in Searsport tank review

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  • At this moment DCP Searsport LLC, the applicant to the Searsport Planning Board does not hold any any permits of any kind except an air emissions permit erroneously issued by DEP. Further, it is not clear from the draft permit that title to the land was transferred to DCP Searsport, LLC.

    DCP Searsport LLCappears to be a paper corporation, a pass through to DCP Midstream LP who currently hold the DEP & Army Corps permits and who do( or did ) I own the land.

    It is a complete mystery that town attorney’s could have accepted the application from DCP Searsport LLC in violation of a town ordinance. It seems to me very unwise public policy to accept an application for a hazardous facility like this from a paper corporation with no employees, no financial capacity of its own.

    DCP Midstream LP, holder of the permits ( and hopefully still holding title to the land after a huge corporate reorganization in which the DCP”enterprise” was spun off from Connoco Philips with all of its other midstream operations.) has applied to DEP to transfer the permits to its paper subsidiary DCP Searsport LLC. It appears from the draft decision released for comment to interested parties today that DEP will approve the transfer even though DCP Searsport LLC is only a paper corporation . The documentation listed by DEP in the draft decision did not include a deed evidencing transfer of the property to DCP Searsport LLC.. Again very unwise public policy.

    And again, a huge mystery. DEP under Aho would not accept a permit application from DCP Searsport LLC last year because it did not have title to the land and only title holders (or those with an ownership interest (eg via purchase and sale agreement) can apply for permits.. The draft permit does not refer to or explain this apparent reversal of policy when there has been no change in DEP rules and regulations..

    Not a regional issue? The Army Corps permit relied on DCP Midstream LLC’s representation that all the volunteer fire departments of all the neighboring towns would provide emergency response in the event of fire or explosion. Yet DCP at this hearing says all those towns have no status to testify at the Searsport Planning Board .

    And how did all this happen? The state in anticipation of and to facilitate this application completely deregulated LPG so there are no state rules and regulations addressed to the safety issues at the heart of this huge LPG terminal or to assess impacts to public infrastructure and neighboring towns. Again very bad public policy.

    My view? Take it to the now democratic controlled legislature and demand a statewide moratorium on all new LPG infrastructure until they create by Statute an LPG Board funded by applicants and LPG suppliers/distributers with the resources to hire the specialized technical expertise necessary to review and make recommendations on an application like this.

    Lindsay Newland Bowker
    Risk Manager
    New York City Department of Environmental Protection 1986-1998

    • Anonymous

      Anything to stop the project, right. This is a Searsport issue, not a state issue. Many in the mid-coast support the tank and the jobs it will bring to the area. Let the people of Searsport hear the pros and cons of the tank and let them decide what is best for their community. A lot of this drum beating seems to be coming from people outside of the Searsport community.

      • Anonymous

        A Contradiction within your own comment! Doesn’t the fact that the “drum beating” coming from people outside the “Searsport community” make it a regional issue?

        • Anonymous

          Just because a few moonbats from out of town come to make some noise does not make this a regional issue.

          Searsport residents already overwhelmingly support this tank, there are just a few looney tunes who want to disrupt the inevitable.

          Your average citizen isn’t going to take the time to show up at a planning board meeting but when it comes time to vote they will support this project again, if necessary.

          Think of all the time, money, and effort the “No Tanks” folks have spent on this, if they had devoted this much time to a charity or worthwhile cause this world would be a much better place. Instead they are just wasting their time and only delaying the inevitable.

          • Anonymous

            Think of all the money DCP has spent canvassing the town last year to defeat the moratorium.—A hell of a lot more than TBNT.

            You have no way of knowing how many people in Searsport are against the tank. The only vote was against the moratorium, perhaps an ill-conceived plan to hold off on the development.
            The moderator cut all debate at the 11th hour last year when at the Searsport Town Meeting. (Democracy in Action)

            That is the ONLY thing that was voted on.
            We will see what comes out from the DCP (Discount Cremation Plan) people when they present tonight.
            So far, their application has been sloppy and full of holes.
            Something to instill great confidence from a company that wants to build a cryogenic Megatank in the middle of a small town.

          • Anonymous

            First of all I do not understand why you feel as though it is justifiable to classify those who oppose the tank as “moonbats” and “looney tunes” … it appears as though they are just expressing their concerns as to how the Penbay region will be impacted. As far as time, money and effort goes I agree with pidly!

        • Anonymous

          This is what the “drum beating” is trying to do. Making it a regional issue and not letting the people of Searport have their own debates and making their own decisions. Just like those little yellow self righteous signs. “NO TANK we are your real neighbors ” If we are in favor of the tank we aren’t real neighbors?

          • Anonymous

            No, you might be a neighbor and I don’t care if you are for or against the tank, you would still command my respect as a neighbor.
            The point of the sign was that DCP is coming in from Colorado with tons of fines at other plants for safety violations and leaks (Google DCP Midstream violations) and they are saying that they are going to be good neighbors. Some of those leaks went on for months and it appears that the only way they were found was by the EPA discovering them. So much for their much touted concern for safety.

            They spent well in excess of $100,000 turning neighbor against neighbor over this stupid project, trying to sway people to favor their project and making it a them versus us issue.

            Crystal Canney, Angus King’s press person, is their local PR person. If that does not give one pause, nothing does.

            I, too, hope the people of Searsport make a wise decision, but there is a lot of indication that the “fix is already in”. I hope I am wrong and the whole process gets a fair shake.
            I have my doubts.

          • Anonymous

            I am not a resident of Searport and have not set in any of the town meeting. (not my place) It seem to me that meeting have been open and from what I have seen on the news and in the press they have been more then fair to all parties, so I done know there the “fix is already in” I question is it DCP or is it the NO TANK people turning neighbor against neighbor? DCP may be spending money to draw support, and the NO TANK people are throwing as much mud as they can hoping it will stick swaying people against the project. Different sides, different views. It will be interesting to see where this all ends up.

      • Hi Grampy,

        I am not associated with TBNT. I have researched and written to many involved in this project in my capacity as a risk manager for New York City’s DEP for 13 years and my general interest in sound public policy and good government.

        The issues I am raising matter to everyone in Searsport and everyone in Maine.

        It doesn’t bother you that even before the rest of us knew about the tank the State Legislature who had been approached by DCP completely de regulated LPG so that there is now no official entity with the mandate to evaluate the methods of operation and safety protocols for this huge LPG terminal..the largest on the East Coast. There should have been an LPG Board created and funded by the LPG industry and by applicants like DCP to insure availability of experts qualified to review the safety and soundness of the planned facility. Searsport isn’t in a position to do that. It’s approval is based not safety and soundness but only whether it complies with local site planning rules. Telling the the town that a change of height was needed for a crane in mack point, but knowing of the DCP plans the planning board wrote a height ordinance change specifically tailored to the size of this tank without including citizens in on the implications of the change.That doesn’t bother you?(*See edit/addition below on the ordinance)

        This is classic power broker politics pioneered years ago by a famous NYC gov’t official Robert Moses..you get all the legislation in place before announcing the project and without any knowledge of the project it all seems minor and benevolent.

        Doesn’t that offend you as a citizen? Is that how you want government or corporations to operate especially when what they are bringing is something as huge and dangerous as this storage tank?

        ————-
        * Edit..after posting this I found these two articles by Abigail Curtis on the first meeting between the town and DCP and also specifically on the ordinance passed after that meeting. According to Abigail, the ordnance specifically referenced fuel storage tanks in the ordinance allowing a change of height of up to 150 feet. I am not sure where the oft repeated assertion (that I repeated above) comes from..exactly how the ordinance was explained and presented at the town meeting. Abigails articles clearly alerted to both DCP’s intentions and the link to the ordinance.

        http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/03/news/midcoast/height-of-buildings-in-industrial-zone-on-warrant-of-searsport-town-meeting/

        http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/03/news/denver-company-tries-to-sell-searsport-on-a-proposed-propane-terminal/

        • Anonymous

          My point was I trust that the people of Searsport have the common sense to hear the pros and cons of the tank and make a decision for their community. I also trust that they will make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and all safety measures in place. The NIMBY from other communities are hard at work to shut the tank down.

          • Grampy, I haven’t seen the planning Board or other town officials dotting and i’s and crossing any t’s so far.

            (1) before receiving the application and after meeting with DCP the town redid its ordinance on height restrictions tailoring it specifically to the needs of this project. At the time the town voted on this, many say town citizens did not understand the connection between the ordinance and the proposal that would come from DCP for this tank

            (2)the town has an ordinance on planning applications that requires no application may be submitted until all permits have been obtained. Yet it went ahead and accepted an applcation from DCP Searport LLC who hold no permits at all (except one air emissions erroneous issued by DEP).

            (3) In accpeting the application form an entity that has no status to make a planning application they also protect that entity which has no permits from any action by the citizens of Searsport to now undo that height ordinance once they get what’s going on.

            You & I are on the same page complete transparency..no deals behind closed doors that citizens aren’t in on..

            truth, transparency..

            I haven;t seen that from town officials in Searsport toward its citizens.

            To your point on outsiders “interfering: with Searports right to make its own decisions, when a project has potential serious regional impacts no one town has a right to take it on itself to approve anything just because its address is within its town limits.

            By the same token it shouldn’t fall to Searsport to sort that out or mediate that.

            What would normally be in place at the state level for a facility like this is an LPG Board staffed and funded by the industry and by applicants to insure that there is proper expertise to review the technical aspects of the plan ad mediate the regional, multi community impacts.

            This isn’t the equivalent of outsiders objecting to the location of hot dog stand in downtown Searport. This is a huge facility with multi community impacts and no place for those multi community impacts to be properly heard and mediated.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t have a dog in this fight.

      Regarding the fire departments: in Waldo County most, if not all, the fire departments have entered into a county-wide mutual aid agreement. In theory, Searsport’s FD could ask for assistance with a house fire from Troy’s FD. So your argument is that Troy should be granted interested party status? Should all the other 25 towns in the county be granted this status based simply on the mutual aid agreement?

      At first and second glance, such an idea doesn’t seem to make sense.

      • Anonymous

        My dog is a lover and not a fighter as well.
        We as Americans have been blessed with the spirit of helping our neighbors when they are in need …. especially here in the great state of Maine. Perhaps many of the concerns are due to the fact that any emergency issues that arise due to the presence of the tank will have a much more devastating impact on the surrounding communities that a house fire would have.

        • That’s exactly right, Osprey. It offends me that DCP a huge corporate entity would presume to take advantage of a neighbor to neighbor system we in rural Maine rely on. On my island (way down the bay from Searsport) these folk are essentially non profit and truly volunteer..they are the fathers and husbands of our neighbors.

          There are very very few of these LPG terminal facilties in the East. DCP owns one of only two others this scale in Chesapeake and as a company it expects that state and local law will require that it provide its own on site haz mat emergency response team.

          For a company like this to rely on a rural volunteer mutual aid system, apparently without any formal agreement, is just wrong.

      • Anonymous

        All you mutual aid towns should remember you are liable for all costs and injuries that could occur if, God Forbid, there was ever a truck or tank accident.

        • Hi Pidly,

          I am amazed if the mutual aid towns know that this huge corporation has represented to the Army Corps that they, the local volunteer fire departments of the mutual aid system, will provide the hazardous and emergency response for the tank.

          Did any of them actually agree to that? Are they getting any training or equipment or other support from DCP for that?

          DCP would not have gotten the permit without promising adequate response to emergencies via the mutual aid program.. Did DCP give them the courtesy of a briefing or explaining what was involved and asking what they would need to do that?

          f they did not specifically consent to this or if DCP has misled them as to the commitment required of them, it is not too late for the mutual aid departments involved to let the Army Corps know it does not agree and let the town of Searsport know it is in its own in this.

      • Mutual aid agreements did not and could not have anticipated the scale of emergency that a failure of this tank would create nor are the volunteer fire departments and their equipment adequate and yet DCP Midstream, a huge corporation that can and should provide its own on site emergency response team has respresented in its permit to the Army Corp of Engineers that its haz mat/emergency response is through the rural mutual aid system of volunteer fire departments..

        All other terminal facilities have their own owner provided haz mat teams by requirement of state and local law.

        Also by the way DCP does its procurement through a third party with vendors vetted by that third party. At the moment DCP has not vetted vendors or contractors in Maine. The idea that a 22 million gallon storage tank will provide jobs and sin off economic benefit to Searsport is just absurd.

        This is one ginormous nasty trojan horse being pushed into Searsport with the help of all the State legislators who changed Maine’s statutes to remove all oversight for the safety issues ( those that over 5,000 Mainers have registered concern about through TBNT’s campaign). James Gillway, Searsports Town Manager is one of those legislators but I don’t know whether he had a direct role in this. This trojan horse dragged into town with standard old as the hills corporate invasion tactics of hiring people to support the project, promising local officials donations and money for pet town projects and well just straight out lying by DCP.. The same tactics which the railroads used as they pushed west..an old old tried and true advance campaign strategy by corporate profiteers. Text book.

        A little bit of research would change both your expectation of jobs and benefit for locals and your understanding of exactly what it is that they are trying to do in Searsport.

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