June 22, 2018
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Former White House counterterrorism adviser to testify against Searsport energy project

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

SEARSPORT, Maine — Former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke is expected to testify in Searsport on Monday about his recommendation that the town not proceed with a $40 million, 23 million gallon liquid propane gas terminal and storage tank project.

Clarke had originally been scheduled to speak last month during the Searsport planning board’s second round of public hearings on the controversial project, but after a snowstorm delayed the start of those meetings, his testimony was postponed, according to Steven Miller of the Islesboro Islands Trust.

“With the kinds of crazy weather we’ve been having, to some extent we have to keep our fingers crossed,” Miller said Friday. “But we’re hopeful that it’s a go.”

The trust this summer commissioned a risk assessment study by Clarke’s firm, Good Harbor Consulting. The island land conservation group has opposed industrial development on Searsport’s Sears Island and the Mack Point port facility, where Denver-based DCP Midstream has proposed building the energy project.

“It’s an opportunity for the Searsport planning board and others to explore some of those findings,” Miller said of the risk assessment study.

Among those findings:

• Regional public safety and security resources are not sufficient to address a significant land or maritime incident.

• No local emergency management plans have been developed to show how agencies will be able to respond to incidents.

• There are no dedicated marine firefighters in the immediate area, or teams trained to respond to an incident involving a fire aboard an LPG carrier.

Last month, Roz Elliott of DCP Midstream said she and others at her company found the report “questionable on so many fronts” and officials were looking forward to responding directly to Clarke and others from Good Harbor Consulting.

Because Clarke could not make it to the January public hearings, Planning Board Chairman Bruce Probert took discussion of the report off the table. More than 200 people, including retirees, real estate professionals and economists, came to the Searsport District High School cafeteria to listen to the proceedings.

The public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at Searsport District High School and recommence at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. A Searsport town official said there is a chance that a third evening of hearings will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13.

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