Dear Mr. Clement,
Thank you again for your thorough and even-handed manner in
dealing with the DCP application to date.
The more we learn about the DCP Midstream project the more we find
that DCP has obscured, manipulated or just ignored the facts. Where
they have taken questions and promised answers, they have not been
They have virtually ignored their flare. They won't tell us
how loud it might be or what volume of gas might be burned per hour.
They wont tell us of the pollutants that the burning might cause or how
much might be produced. They haven't told us how much unburned gas
might be released if flaring were insufficient in reducing pressure in
They won't tell us about their lighting plan or about the light
pollution that the tallest structure on the coast for hundreds of miles
They refuse to discuss any security matters, either regarding vessel
deliveries or the facility itself. They claim that it would be a
breach of security to discuss these matters yet similar vessel
movements in other ports are accompanied by escorts and that is a
matter of public record. We have the right to know.
And there is still much they have sought to ignore or minimize.
What happens, for example, when the loading coupling is removed
from a tanker truck after filling the truck? How much propane and
ethyl mercaptan are released into the air? What about when loading
railcars? It can't be none, how much is it? They must know, and
it is cumulative.
What about the mile-long dedicated pipeline from the terminal to the
vessel that will be on the cargo pier? Who operates it? Who is
responsible for it when there is no loading/unloading operations going
on? What happens to the LPG in the line at the end of a vessel
discharge? Do they "pig" the line, like with other liquids?
You can't blow the lines with air like other liquids so how do
you get the liquid out? The line must hold six or seven thousand
gallons of liquifid petroleum gas. You can't leave it in the
line, how is it recovered? What happens to the vapors in the
vapor recovery line that feed condensate back to the vessel during
discharge? Are they discharged into the air? That could be 6000
CUFT of gas. When the liquid is removed from the pipeline what
happens to the vapors? Is there a purging and inerting process
for the lines between shipments? Is there a mile of propane in
the pipeline at all times? How is the pipeline safeguarded from
accidents from equipment on the cargo pier when the pipeline is in use
and between uses? Will they pressure test the pipeline every time
a vessel discharges?
Then there are the questions that have been asked of DCP that have
yet to be answered. Most were solicited by DCP, some at the community
"outreach" meeting that we both attended.
We need an in-depth look at every aspect of DCP's application. We
need an EIS. Below, in detail, is why;
1.The DCP project will stimulate additional industrial
development in area. Proponents of the LPG tank facility, including
officials in government and commercial interests, have made statements
on the record that development of the remaining undeveloped forest and
wetlands of Mack Point with DCP Midstream's project will stimulate and
trigger additional industrial development around Long Cove and portions
of Stockton Harbor, with repercussions throughout the Penobscot Bay
2. Such developments will inevitably generate significant
unavoidable chronic runoff and air water and land discharges. These may
have direct and indirect offsite adverse impacts on protected and
commercially and recreationally managed living fish and shellfish and
other marine and intertidal species with life stages depended on a
healthy and biologically productive estuary.
3. The diminished estuarine productivity that such chronic estuarine pollution inevitably brings will have serious repercussions further down the bay, particularly the fishery sectors of Penobscot Bay island communities and numerous mainland coastal communities, and the tourism industry that is to a great extent stimulated by these coastal fisheries. For that reason it is important to hold a public hearing on the DCP Midstream proposal, and , if the hearings result, as expected, in determination that the company has not taken such reasonably anticipatable offsite impacts into account, order preparation of an Environmental Impact Study.
4. An increased level of risk to nearby communities' residents and
visitors due to the presence of a highly vulnerable potentially
dangerous liquified petroleum gas tank and distribution infrastructure,
should a BLEVE type catastrophic event take place, including cumulative
risk based on the involvement of adjacent oil tanks and the GAC
5. The material facts presented by the applicant have generated a
high degree of controversy as to their accuracy. Judicial decisions on
similar agency decisions show the need for public hearing. The judicial
and enforcement record, including Sierra Club v. Marsh 1 and 2, and EPA
's criminal investigation of
MDOT and Normandeau Associates,as well as US EPA responses to state resource agencies, demonstrates that that Maine agencies, federal agencies and their consultants have a pattern of colluding to falsify the official record and knowingly make unlawful decisions concerning on industrial development proposals for nearby Sears Island.
5(a) In 1985 two agencies, Maine DOT and US Coast Guard, were found by US District Court in Sierra Club v. Marsh to have conspired together to mischaracterize a mile long solid fill causeway between the mainland and Sears Island as a “bridge” in order to circumvent the much more difficult legal standards that a causeway applicant faces (for closing off a navigable waterway between the mainland and Sears Island.) . Sierra v. Marsh was upheld on appeal. Maine DOT was required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
5(b) In 1993 US EPA suspended MDOT consultant Normandeau Associates
and opened a criminal investigation after Maine DOT and its
consultant were found to have deliberately underreported - in the
required Environmental Impact Statement - the amount of Sears Island
wetlands that would be affected by its port plan. The Maine DOT’s
Environmental Impact Statement stated that there were “virtually no
freshwater wetlands” in the area proposed for port development. A new
review then found nearly 200 acres of wetlands that could have been
5(c). In October and December 1995, the US EPA, NMFS and US Fish and
Wilife Service notified the US Army Corps of Engineers of their sharply
disagreement with reports generated by the Commissioners of Maine
Department of Marine Resources and Maine Department of Inland Fish and
Wildlife in response to federal reviews of Sears Island. The federal
concerns and objections were echoed by independent sources including
academics, and accepted as fact by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
In all three cases the Maine state government and would be
developers attempted to circumvent stringent federal regulations
protecting irreplaceable natural resources, in an effort to unlawfully
obtain permits form the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard.
These incidents demonstrate a pattern of willful misconduct by
Maine agencies, consultants and certain federal agencies when it comes
to major port and energy related developments in the Searsport area.
Because of that lengthy sorry record, the credibility of information supplied by industry consultants reviewing this project need to be double-checked, as well as the submissions of a variety of state agencies and bureaus also carefully reviewed. This is particularly important when, as at present, their results are counterintuitive or show an absurdly low acreage of jurisdictional wetlands identified on the site under review, or by an infinitesimal margin the developer avoids triggering a significant review or rejection due to noise levels, or when the state archaeological reviewer and Maine Natural Heritage reviewers rely almost wholly on half century old reports on nearby areas - and little or no site visits.
Additionally, despite the comment period, we still need to hold
public meetings, here is why:
Significant Regional Public Interest. As the Corps is aware,
there is a recent sharp spike in regional concern over development
project over widespread geographic area. As noted in recent submitted
comments of concern by the towns of Islesboro, North Haven and Stockton
Springs, large sectors of the potentially affected natural resource
users and general public and other interested parties residing in
Penobscot Bay coastal communities have only recently become aware of
the gravity of the potential impacts of the DCP proposal. Yet in that
short time they have become sufficiently alarmed to commit municipal
effort into persuading the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public
hearing so that residents of those municipalities will have time to
prepare and then deliver substantive information to the Corps that can
fill the great information gaps that this project has been shown to
Historic use by Corp of Engineers & other agencies of public hearings to obtain comments from bay area stakeholders. A public hearing is preferable to an extended public comment period for many Penobscot Bay area residents, including those working in the marine resources and tourism industries that are at risk from this DCP proposal.
Many of these are not articulate letter-writing commenters. Instead, the agencies recognize that these stakeholders use well-honed verbal skills to articulate their comments and positions at public hearings on issues of concern held by information gathering government agencies such as the US Army Corps
of Engineers and by other federal and state agencies. In fact, since the creation in the late 19th century of the US Fish Commission and the Maine Sea and Shore Fisheries Bureau, Maine fishermen and fishing communities have taken part in public hearings to review government proposals that could affect their livelihoods. In this way their professional and artisanal expertise has been collected and applied to discerning what information gaps the agency needs to examine and fill.
For generations, federal and state agencies and the affected citizens of the Penobscot Bay coast have relied on large part verbal testimony given at public hearings to communicate in detail the concerns and facts sought by the agencies. The Army Corps of Engineers has held hearings on other issues of public interest and concern in Penobscot Bay. The number of public commenters that bring information to the Corps at these meetings can exceed the number of written comments received on a given application seeking a Rivers and Harbors Act or a Clean Water Act permit.While written comments are also part of the public review process, in Midcoast Maine reliance on written comments only would bar an unacceptably large percentage of interested parties from commenting. This would result in a poorly informed decision which deny many their voice.
It is my fervent belief that if you listen to all the voices of
those who will feel probable impact of the proposed project, and if you
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to NEPA, you will
find probable negative impact of the proposed activity on the public
interest as the cumulative effects of this project will negatively
impact local wetlands,local waterways, bay water quality, local and
migratory bird life, local economic well-being including business
volume and property values, safety, and the general welfare of the
people. Even energy security will be negatively impacted as you
afford DCP a monopoly while concentrating all of our propane stocks in
one place where power outages or even terrorism and sabotage put them
That is why, in the end, the Army Corps of Engineers should deny DCP
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Best regards, David Italiaander
US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District, Maine Project
675 Western Ave, #3
Manchester, ME 04315
Dear Mr Clement,
I am writing to you because I am against the proposed LPG
installation at Mack Point in Searsport. As a year round
resident on the western shore of Cape Jellison, I am alarmed by
the scope of this industrial project which would be located
across from my home.
I have a great concern over the health impact on our
community. DCP's application includes a non stop discharge of a
long list of pollutants that include, but are not limited to sulfur
dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter (AKA
soot). These are well
known to cause harm, especially to those who have cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Prevaling winds will carry these pollutants directly at my home and at my family. LPG is expected to be flared off for 500 hours a year, especially in the summer months when we spend more time out of doors, and indoors with the windows open. In the summer there are often air quality advisories. This will only aggravate the situation and we cannot trust DCP Midstream which been cited for safety and air pollutions violations. ( in 2008 New Mexico reached a $60.7 million settlement against DCP for numerous air quality violations).
I am urging the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full-scale environmental impact study of the project (EIS). The prospect of living in close proximity and with a direct view of a 22.7 million gallon LPG tank, one of the largest in the US, is an unsettling experience. I worry about the potential for an accident which could have catastrophic consequences. There is increased danger due to the proximity of the GAC chemical plant and Irving fuel tanks. The proposed location of the LPG facility is much too close to residences, businesses and Rt 1 and has no buffer zone. By their own admission, emergency personnel of our small towns have no way of notifying the public to evacuate in the event of a major leak or fire, and the local hospitals could not handle a disaster even of modest proportions.
A sharp decrease in real estate value in the vicinity and in direct
view of the project would strike a real blow to those who have invested
in their homes. Moving away could mean taking a loss, and it could be
difficult if not impossible to sell those properties.
These are my main concerns, but I have many more : noise and light
pollution, threats to the natural environment, LPG truck traffic on
heavily traveled Rt1 in the summer, in foul weather in the winter,
damage to our roads, potential acts of terrorism, destruction of the
tourism industry and loss of local jobs.
We do not have a shortage of liquid petroleum in the US, and
importing LPG does not make us more independent from the upheavals of
the petroleum market. The only reason for this project is corporate
profits. Furthermore, the benefit of 12 jobs does not make sense when
you weigh all the negative impacts on our communities. We will
pay a heavy price while DCP fills its pockets.
The scope of this project has vast and long lasting consequences on
our beautiful Mid-Coast, therefore I hope that your agency will take
the time needed to conduct a full EIS. Thank you.
Stockton Springs ME 04981
Re: DCP Midstream's Propane Terminal
Proposal for Mack Point Port in Searsport, ME
Dear Mr. Clement:
First, we thank you and the Army Corps of Engineers for not granting
a General Permit as requested by DCP Midstream. That is an indication
that you believe the magnitude of this project calls for a close review
of DCP's application, and that you plan to carry out your
What concerns us and what, no doubt, you have noticed is DCP's
casual omission of pertinent information, such as noise and air
pollution from the flare and the intrusion of substantial light into
the night sky.
But mostly it is the inability of DCP and, regretfully, DEP to admit
that the scale of this project, as compared to the existing businesses
and industrial complexes, is completely inappropriate for a tiny
coastal community of slightly more than 2,600 residents and a downtown
area of approximately two blocks. No building in town stands higher
than 35 feet, and the highest tank on Sprague and Irving properties,
almost at sea level, is about 50 feet tall. The 138 foot tall propane
tank, on higher ground and within yards of Rte. 1 (Searsport's Maine
Street) can not possibly blend in harmoniously with its surroundings,
particularly when 22+ acres of the project property will be clear-cut.
The Irving and Sprague tank farms have a substantial buffer of trees,
except at water's edge; there will be little or no buffer for the
propane tank. A somewhat smaller propane terminal in Tampa, Florida has
a 2 mile exclusion zone. The Searsport project would have virtually
Furthermore, it isn't just the tank; add compressors, the
refrigeration unit, pumping stations, the flare, constant idling diesel
engines and vastly increased truck traffic, other buildings and tanks,
all contributing to the noise, air and light pollution, potential water
pollution and negative visual impact.
We believe that DCP has not been forthcoming with accurate
information to the public, the DEP or the USACE, and they have
manipulated responses to questions from all of the above. If they
conduct themselves in this way regarding environmental impacts, why
should we believe their statements about safety and respect for the
Even worse, DEP, the supposed protectors of the environment, elected
to rubber stamp the DCP application without regard to obvious
For these reasons and more, we must have a full Environmental Impact
Study before allowing this project to move forward.
Thank you for taking our concerns seriously.
Good morning, Mr. Clement,
At DCP's presentation in Searsport on Jan. 26, someone asked the
question about how loud the flare would be, as that issue was not
addressed by ME DEP. We did not get an answer, just a promise
that they'd get the answer for us. To date, we have not received
an answer to that question or
My wife and I live a little over half a mile from Mack Point.
As it is now, there is a lot of light emanating from Sprague's
facility at night. We accept that as necessary for the port's security.
There is also quite a bit of clanging and banging as ships are
unloaded. This usually takes place during the day, and again, we
accept that as being part of the deal. We knew there was a port there
when we bought our house almost 11 years ago.
That said, one of the reasons we moved here is for the peace and
beauty of Penobscot Bay. We are concerned that the proposed
propane facility will be the tipping point taking Searsport over the
line from being a community that is balanced between residential
properties, small businesses and industrial activities.
On a personal level, we dread the loss of the night sky if there is a lot of additional light pollution, and we are very concerned about how much noise will be generated by the flare and wonder why we can't get an answer to that and other questions. We very much appreciate your thoroughness in evaluating this project, and your willingness to solicit comments from the public. If we can ask one further thing it would be that you recommend that a full EIS be done before granting a permit. This project is so large in scope and has such potentially harmful consequences to the entire region, in terms of the environment, economy, health and safety, that I believe it is fully warranted.
Thank you for your consideration,
As you know, I rarely get involved with local politics or make any comments on local affairs; however, the possibility of “the tank” has me VERY concerned, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, I do believe that this will create a very real hazard, particularly with the trucks on our narrow icy roads. The very thought of a possible explosion at the tank is beyond words – much of our town and the surrounding areas would be destroyed.
On a professional level, I strongly believe that property values in the area would be severely impacted. This is a direct quote from an e-mail that I received yesterday from a buyer client. “I’m getting anxious. I would like to consider Searsport or Stockton but with the LNG plant that doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
Please share this letter with the selectmen, planning board and others concerned with making the decisions.
M, Searsport, ME 04974
Dear Mr. Clement,
Thank you for your courteous reply. I would like to add that in their application [ Application NAE-2010-02347.] to Army Corps of Engineers, which I viewed online, DCP Midstream said that the LPG Tank would have no impact on municipal services, which is false.
None of the surrounding towns to Searsport, including mine, have fire suppression training, materials or equipment needed to manage a catastrophic ignition of 22.7 Million gallon LPG Petroleum [propane, or butane] Gas .
Once the liquid gas under artificial refrigeration within the tank is released into the atmosphere, it will expand according to the gas laws to many times its 22.7 Million gallon liquid form [possibly to over 100 million gallons.] The exact volume of propane gas based on outside temperature and pressure should be calculated using the gas laws by the applicant and the suppression plan should a fire occur should be provided to the public..
Whatever volume, possibly over 100 million gallons of whatever suppressant is needed to put out a [100 million gallon or whatever] propane/butane fire must be placed where it can best be applied..
Coping with LPG will require an enormous amount municipal services, contrary to the DCP application.
In addition to municipal services, DCP has not answered a large list of important questions about their LPG tank proposal [listed on the web site: tbnt.org]
50 million gallons of other explosive fuels [Irving Oil] on the same [Sprague Energy] Mack Point development makes the proposed LPG tank even more dangerous. These fuels include gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oils whose vapors explode when ignited. The explosive fumes of these fuels are in the air whenever fuel is being transferred from ship to tank and tank to truck. These 16 tanks have aggregate energy equivalent to about 100 atomic bombs.
How will the proposed LPG tank flare be prevented from igniting fumes from gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oils while ships or trucks are being fueled or defueled? How will exhaust or 18 other dangers [on my document] be prevented?
I therefore request that a full environmental impact study on the environmental and safety effects of this proposal be accomplished.
Along with all other environmental risks, this study should calculate the volume of the proposed 22.7 millions of liquid LPG when its state has changed to gas,
An adequate amount of fire suppressant should be obtained and placed where it can be used to extinguish a propane or butane fire
Attached is the MDEP license which specified that Mack Point now contains 50 million gallons of gasoline, heating oils and kerosene.
Thank you for your continued interest in the application of the DCP Partners, LP to develop a liquid propane off-loading and storage facility located on Mack Point at Searsport, Maine.
We have made your comments part of the official file and they will be considered, along with all other comments received, in determining what permit action is in the public interest.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact me at 207-623-8367 at our Manchester, Maine Project Office.
Jay L. Clement, Senior Project Manager, Maine Project Office
Dear Mr. Clement
I am writing to express concern that the public may not have sufficient opportunity to engage and comment on the proposed LPG terminal. From what I can gather from Stephen Miller with the Islesboro Islands Trust, there presently is no associated Environmental Impact Study contemplated for a project that will have multiple significant impacts were it to proceed. My desire in this communication is to ensure that this gets full and complete airing and assessment.
I come to this issue both as a Islesboro resident as well as a former US Government official serving as the US Director to the World Bank. While at the World Bank, we were able to mainstream environmental impact assessments for all major projects. Given that this has become standard operating procedure in Emerging Markets project financings, I trust that we will have the same in our backyard.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District Maine Project Office
Permit Project Manager Jay Clement,
675 Western Ave., #3, Manchester, ME 04351
623-8367, extension 1
February 12, 2012
Dear Mr. Clement:
I have written to you several times regarding the LPG tank proposed by DCP Midstream
for Searsport. I am in full opposition to it, and so am compelled to write to you again, as
the situation is critical.
There is no easy solution to the crisis we face regarding energy. No alternatives will
truly appeal to us all; and nothing offers the convenience and luxury of oil. But more and
more people recognize that fossil fuels serve only the corporate interest, not the greater
good, perpetuating the status quo, rather than the development of alternative energies
and life styles.
To many of us for a myriad of reasons DCP’s plan for Searsport makes no sense.
Importing a fossil fuel to be stored in a tank the magnitude that DCP plans for
Searsport, near other hazardous materials, close to wetlands they have marginalized in
their proposal, in a coastal village with roads and bridges in poor condition that are in
need of repair now, and with no viable egress for citizens in an emergency, especially as
rescue personnel from other towns respond, raises critically serious concerns.
Not only Searsport, but also all of us who live nearby will be impacted; yet, we have
absolutely no vote, no say.
And it is unconscionable that DCP Public Relations spokeswoman Roz Elliot has fanned
the divide between opponents and proponents of the tank, working to subvert the
citizen-initiated moratorium, paying canvassers to promote voting against it. A YES
vote is needed to slow down the process while a nine-member committee investigates
the implications of this massive project.
Just recently DCP declined to participate in a special 2-hour WERU Call-In Program
dedicated to the issue. Why? If their project is so beneficial to the area, what is there to
hide? What do they fear that they would deny us full disclosure?
And how will this corporation behave when local opinion no longer matters to them? I
believe I already know the answer, and it is just one more concern.
There is much to be wary about regarding this tank. There are grave issues that need
more scrutiny; there are many more questions to be fully answered. No modest project,
the effects of this tank and the accompanying industrialization of the area that it will
necessitate to operate fully, will be far-reaching and long term. DCP Midstream’s LPG
tank is a blatant assault on our economy, our environment, our sensibilities and our way
of life, and a great deal bigger than simply a Searsport issue.
Please give all of our concerns your utmost consideration and require a full-scale study
to investigate the environmental, economic, and safety and security impacts from this
project on our region.
Dear Mr. Clement:
The purpose of this letter is to convey to you, in the clearest possible terms, some of the many reasons why the DCP Midstream/Phillips-Conoco LPG storage and distribution project should not be allowed to be constructed at the proposed location in Searsport.
As I’m sure you have known for a long time, LPG is a hazardous substance. It is no surprise that it is the preferred fuel for blowing up buildings, vehicles and people by cinematic special effects professionals. Very few gallons are necessary to demolish a structure to the satisfaction of a film director. This compares with the thousands of gallons that will be transferred many times a day to tanker trucks that would be travelling Routes 1, 1A, and 3 from the proposed storage tank, which itself will hold up to 22 million gallons of LPG.
Making matters worse is the presence of the Irving and Sprague operations which each store many millions of gallons of gasoline, fuel oil, and other flammable (but much less volatile) fuels, less than a mile to the west of the proposed LPG tank. 5000’ to the east is the GAC plant which produces and/or stores industrial quantities of sulfuric acid, ammonia, and chlorine, to name some of the more hazardous products on their premises.
The 137’ tall by 200’ wide LPG storage tank envisioned by the applicant DCP Midstream/Phillips-Conoco is, without question, a soft target for both foreign and domestic terrorists, It has been characterized as “low hanging fruit” for anyone interested in creating a destructive event on a scale that would be remembered for hundreds of years. It would not take a lot of money or planning to bring it off.
Discounting potential acts of sabotage, the chances for human error, given the numerous steps involved in just a single LPG transfer, multiplied by 100 or more operations a day, makes a tragic accident highly probable over the 30 year lifetime of the facility. Leaving aside the bravado we have heard from our dedicated volunteer firefighters, I doubt that there is a fire department in the entire state capable of managing an ignition event at a propane terminal of these proportions.
I have written to you in the past about other drawbacks to this project; specifically the impact on wetlands and the ecosystem that is Penobscot Bay. As you know, DCP never conducted an on-site wetlands inspection of the proposed construction site. I forwarded to you the opinion of a wetlands ecologist who was sufficiently dubious of the statements in DCP’s application that he recommended a review by a disinterested third party .
The staggering effects on the so-called “viewscape” of this outsized project would generate a long list of ramifications. There has never been an assessment of the impact of this proposed project on existing businesses, their owners or their employees. I count myself among those whose property values and quality of life would suffer, though not nearly to the extent of those who live only yards away from the intended facility. My home is directly downwind from Mack Point and would have unobstructed exposure to the air pollution and noise emanating from the site. DCP’s application estimates a point source noise level of 59.6 Db, but it does not include the noise that accompanies the projected 500 hours per year of flaring off, that some have put at an additional 70Db. Power outages throughout the year are the rule in rural Maine and it is my understanding that additional hours of flaring off would be required to keep the contents of the large storage tank at safe levels. Then there is the constant noise and exhaust coming from idling diesel tanker trucks.
I have lived in Waldo County for 35 years, worked here and raised my family here. I currently work in Hancock County and commute on Route 1. In the winter it is dark driving to work and returning home. Every day I encounter school buses in the early morning hours picking up our children. We share the road with commercial vehicles transporting goods, fuel, and logs destined for the sawmills and paper mills. Whatever benefits there might be to this community of having the largest LPG receiving and distribution facility in the northeast, and I cannot think of any, they would not offset the increased commercial traffic transporting a cargo infinitely more hazardous and totally unnecessary to the welfare of our population.
Suggested letter to:
Jay Clement , Maine Projects Office
US Army Corps of Engineers
Re DCP Proposal, Searsport
Dear Mr Clement,
I have been reliably informed that there are at least several acres of wetlands on the proposed DCP site that fit the description of jurisdictional wetlands but are apparently wrongly being considered "non jurisdictional".
Those wetlands have nearly every one of the 13 wetland functions described in the Highway Methodology Workbook Supplement:
1. Groundwater Recharge Discharge
2. Flood flow alteration
3. Fish and shellfish habitat
4. Sediment toxicants pathogen retention
5. Nutrient removal retention transformation
6. Production export nutrient
7. Sediment shoreline stabilization
8. Wildlife habitat
9. Recreation Consumptive and Non-Consumptive
10. Educational scientific value
11. Uniqueness heritage
12. Quality aesthetics
13. Threatened or endangered species habitat
Any decision that declares that these obvious acres of wetlands on the site, that are not shown on the company's wetlands map. are "non-jurisdictional" will be wrong.
When the amount of wetlands you have "officially" recognized as "jurisdictional" wetlands is only less than an acre than that the amount that would trigger a full review under the Clean Water Act, it is likely that politics is playing a role in deciding what is jurisdictional and what is non jurisdictional.
It would also be wrong to declare that mitigation is achieved by improving an existing unnamed ditch, that has no connection with Penobscot Bay or any other waterbody, by deepening a culvert to cause it to drain. It is not a fair exchange for destroying a forest full of multifunctional and irreplacable wetlands. It is not nearly enough, even with the cash that the company has agreed to pay the state as compensation.
Please do not award DCP Midstream a "general permit" allowing the wholesale destruction of acres of irreplaceable wetlands. It would be the wrong thing to do.
PO Box 196
Searsport, ME 04974
December 26, 2011
Dear Mr. Lewis,
From our Board of Selectmen I learned that you were in town recently, inquiring about the local response to the prospect of your LPG tank being installed here. It is unfortunate that you didn't
ask sooner; you could have saved yourself, and us, a lot of hassle. I'm guessing that someone in our town government has led you to believe that the people of Searsport would welcome the
opportunity to host your 137' 22 million gallon tank filled with LPG from Qatar. I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth. While there may be a few who hold out hopes of getting a
tank job, the vast majority is outraged at the idea.
I participated in collecting signatures for the moratorium petition, and talked with close to two hundred people. There are a number of very real concerns: no one wants increased truck traffic,
especially trucks that are carrying a volatile substance. No one I spoke with heats their home with LPG, and given that we have an abundant supply right here in this country, people are especially
angry at the thought of putting their health and safety at risk so that gas from the Middle East can be provided to someone—obviously not us. The idea that DCP wants to clear cut almost 25 acres
of coastal forest has incensed many people here.
There are environmental concerns, fears that we will become a terrorist target, but the biggest worry appears to be about the impact on the local economy. Almost no one is naïve enough to believe
that the few jobs created and the tax income generated will come close to offsetting the loss in tourist dollars. You say you're used to dealing with city councils—I'm betting that you are not
used to dealing with gorgeous unspoiled coastline and entire communities that depend on that coastline for their collective livelihoods. Let me put it to you in a way that you might be able to
understand: you probably wouldn't consider putting your tank right smack in the middle of a ski resort, or the most-photographed peak of the Rocky Mountains.
A neutral economic impact study is absolutely called for, but even without it, it's pretty evident that we are looking at decreased property values. (Several realtors have said to me privately
that if I am going to sell, I had better do it now, before the tank comes in.) There are a number of bed-and-breakfasts, rental cottages, and other tourist-dependent businesses in this town. You
may look at Searsport and think, they already have a tank farm, what's one more? The answer is, if that one more is your 137' monstrosity filled with a highly-explosive substance, which requires
the loss of 25 acres of coastal forest, that one more upsets the balance of tourism, industry, recreation, and historical significance that defines our town. It amounts to nothing less than a loss
of identity, and we won't stand for it.
Lest you think that it is just the citizens of Searsport who are resisting, please be aware that people in a number of other coastal communities have a huge stake in this and will lend their
support, vocal and financial, to the fight. It would be in your best interest to look elsewhere for a location for your tank.
Yours, etc., Searsport February 1, 2012
Jay L Clement, Senior Project Manager
Maine Project Office, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers
Dear Mr. Clement,
Thank you for your work on and review of the DCP Searsport, LLC's industrial development proposal at Mack Point to date.
My concern about and outrage at DCP Midstream/DCP Searsport, LLC's proposed 22.7 million gallon LPG tank facility at Mack Point continues, and even increases with the overtly presumptuous attitude
of DCP at their public relations smoke and mirrors show on January 26th at Union Hall in Searsport along with some of their recent press coverage. I was interested to hear that you were at the
meeting, but let me stress the fact that this 'presentation' in no way fulfilled their promise to answer the public's questions, as evidenced by the dozen plus hands, including my own, still raised
when Ms. Roz Elliott ended the meeting. This is a perfect example, one of many, of unfulfilled promises by DCP, as at the beginning of the meeting Ms. Elliott said they were there to answer
questions, "for as long as it takes." I would also point out that many serious questions were raised and to which only evasive, vague and incomplete replies were offered. DCP would like to have
us believe that they are performing "public outreach" but in fact, they are attempting to mislead and deceive the community in the hope of a new project that only benefits the profit margin of a
And when will DCP answer to the miscalculation of the "benefits" of the 12-15 jobs DCP will offer, less the approximately 45 jobs lost when Anglers Restaurant closes plus the jobs and other local
businesses that would collapse due to inevitable decreased tourism, our primary economic engine, because of the 137' high 202' wide tank? This is a net loss of jobs. The interdependent
relationship of our local economy on tourism is indisputable. An independent consulting firm, not one chosen by DCP Midstream/DCP Searsport, LLC, needs to perform an economic impact study to
provide the clear and real estimates on the impact this major industrial project would have on the region.
As to some of the environmental impacts:
- Lighting. The plan that, "Exterior lighting will be directed inward and toward the ground..." minimizing the light pollution does not change the fact that an industrial project of this size will light up the sky for at least a mile around the tank. I have lived under the decreasing shadow and increasing lights of Mack Point from across Stockton Harbor and in recent years it has
dramatically changed the night sky. Again, the size and extent of DCP's industrial project does not fit with the limitations of the region. We must factor in the light pollution that is already in place and not say, 'what's a little more?' but rather 'NO more.'
- Visual impact. The simulations continue to be ridiculously minimized and presented from self-serving vantage points. Major acreage of clear cutting, plus accompanying buildings, plus walls and
fences, and the 14 story tall, 200' wide tank hidden behind some buffer shrubbery and trees has not been accurately represented visually. To continue to reference that MDEP rated the visual impact
as "acceptable" when that same permit proposal included that the, "analysis assumed that the project would not be visible to a viewer who is standing among trees in a forested area" is
unacceptable. Please, standing among trees in what forest? The one they are clear cutting? Or, the neighboring parcel of some extra acres recently purchased by DCP, in an effort to try to win
our hearts by increasing the buffer a little, but still negligibly diminishing the impact of this project.
- Truck traffic and impact on historic buildings. At the January 26th meeting, Becky Malloy stated that they received permit approval from Maine Department of Transportation and that the DOT
considered truck traffic impact on the road to be "negligible." Negligible is belittling to the town and the established issue of a road already in need of repair, passed over for the funds needed
for that repair, and currently in a condition adversely effecting the structural integrity of the historic buildings in town from the burden of vibrations. There is undeniable increased,
concentrated truck traffic and DCP did not offer any answer to taking responsibility for their increased share of negative impact to the road.
Also, we must examine the history and track record of MDOT because they have had a total disregard of environmental impact in the region of Mack Point and Sears Island. In fact, I would request
the Army Corp review the 10 year legal battle with the Sierra Club and the Maine DOT regarding the illegal building of the Sears Island causeway and it's environmental impact. This DOT action and
their past history and continued industrial agenda for Mack Point and Sears Island is germane to the DCP tank proposal and how we cannot trust the over-haste acceptance by DOT of DCP's permit.
There are known and documented actions of past DOT commissioners for which they should have been indicted and now the most former DOT commissioner David Cole is openly supporting DCP's project and
probably hired by DCP as consultant. We must also examine the relationship and proximity of fault line activity in the area which I believe denied previous industrial development on Sears island
and would be equally applicable on the nearby land where DCP is proposing to develop.
- Wetlands. We must more carefully, with expert analysis beyond that provided by DCP, investigate the destroying of 2 acres of wetlands and rerouting streams with replacing an undersized culvert.
Please! This is incomparable and inadequate mitigation and a pay off of $300,000 is a bargaining feature still inequitably enabling environmental devastation for the profits of a corporate
industrial project that does not belong here.
"unavoidable wetland impacts...stream impacts by implementing a stream restoration/enhancement project nearby (replacement of an undersized culvert)." Their rush to get a general permit is for
making money, but a full environmental impact study is all the more needed because haste too often overlooks or "minimizes" significant impacts for which it will be too late to save if they are
given permit before a full review is made.
- Safety. On page 27 of DCP's Response to USACE in January 2012 they state their facility security plan will "establish access control measures." What about Project Manager, David Graham's
statement on Jan. 26th that he too, likes snowmobiling and that the snow mobile trail in the buffer land right next to the LPG terminal will be left open? How can we allow a project of this
magnitude to have it's safety be jeopardized, with a very likely increased access and danger of a terrorist attack or hazardous incident, by a project manager trying to delude the public with the
offered benefit of keeping open a snow mobile trail? There is no benefit, as likely such a trail cannot safely be left open and if DCP's project proposal is denied, the community keeps it's
benefit of the trail as it exists now. The point is that the safety and security of this project is not adequately being addressed. Other projects of this magnitude have a 2 mile radius from
housing and businesses and thus access capability is probably more restricted by nature of safer siting than what DCP is trying to get away with in Searsport. If there is not enough room,
including the possibility of the overly close proximity of seriously hazardous materials at nearby GAC, then it is not feasible to have this project here.
The magnitude and impact of this industrial proposal has serious, immediate and irreversible ramifications for Searsport and the entire midcoast region and deserves an exhaustive investigation and
review. I request that a full Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act be performed. In addition, I ask that the Corps please hold a public hearing related
to DCP Midstream's LPG project application. As a resident of Stockton Springs, my family, town neighbors and I are community members in the immediate area who will be directly effected by the environmental pollution - light, noise, air, view-shed
and traffic - and economic impacts - including significantly decreased property values – among other issues, and yet, we have no voice, for example, to address: a) Searsport ordinances, b) voting
on a moratorium in Searsport that would allow for a detailed review of the current ordinances with this LPG tank project in mind, c) appointments to the Planning Board who would decide this project
if ACOE grants a permit, d) and even appealing to the Searsport Board of Selectmen and Town manager on this matter. A public hearing allows a diverse segment of the public to be heard where
currently, DCP is trying to suppress, exclude and dismiss the regional population and allow only Searsport to decide the matter.
The highest level of examination by Army Corp of Engineers is needed on this matter and I ask that you continue to responsibly consider our concerns. Please keep me informed of the proceedings on
P.O. Box 72, Stockton Springs, ME 04981 * tarahollan...@gmail.com
Thank you for your continued interest in the application of the DCP Partners, LP to develop a liquid propane off-loading and storage facility located on Mack Point at Searsport, Maine.
You raise a number of legitimate points considering potential visual impacts and they will be considered, along with all other comments received, in determining what permit action is in the public interest.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact me at
207-623-8367 at our Manchester, Maine Project Office.
Jay L. Clement
Senior Project Manager
Maine Project Office
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 3:12 PM
To: Clement, Jay L NAE
Subject: DCP Midstream
Hello Mr. Clement,
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you at the DCP Midstream presentation in Searsport last Thursday. Your responses to concerned citizens have been thoughtful and thorough and I would have liked to have the chance to thank you in person.
I'd like to discuss the visual impact, if you don't mind. You saw the photographs that DCP brought that they said represented what the tank would look like from various viewpoints. These are the same photographs that theyshowed the Town in December of 2010, and which we believe misrepresented thesize and impact. At that time, we asked for models of the facility so wecould have a more accurate idea of what the impact would be on Searsport, surrounding communities and Penobscot Bay. DCP apologized for not having the models ready but promised they would be available for us to look at by the spring of 2011. That did not happen, and as of their presentation on Jan.26, 2012, there are still no models forthcoming.
The visual impact is often trivialized. As their spokesperson Roz Elliot said on a radio program earlier this month, the opposition to the tank just comes from a few summer residents worried about their views. This is divisive, false and ignores the real issue, which is what will the impact beon a community whose local economy is dependent on tourism. Searsport at the present time is a balance of commercial, industrial and recreational enterprises. Upsetting that balance could sound a death knell to many small businesses and have a negative impact on property values throughout the town.
At the very least, DCP Midstream should provide accurate models of the facility, as well as photographs that represent the reality of the facility as seen from various points on the land and the sea.
Thank you. Searsport
Dear Mr. Clement,
I am in recept of a copy of DCP Searsport, LLC's responses to the ACOE's request for additional information as submitted by their consultants, TRC.
First, I would like to thank you. I am satisfied that the questions raised in your request for additional information demonstrate your fairness and thoroughness in this process to date. I am confident that you will continue to display such exemplary professionalism as the process moves forward.
I would very much like to refute the many inaccuracies, misstatements, spurious facts and unsupported analysis that litter both the cover letter and the body of the response document.
I would also urge that you resist Mr. Wallace's request to meet with you and the district reviewers "to address further questions" as the public has a right to written communications so that everything is in the public record. If you were to meet with DCP or their consultants I would ask that all stakeholders be invited as well to refute their answers.
There are many reasons not to issue a Maine GP, among which is the fact that their wetlands survey is both inaccurate and self serving and there is evidence to support that contention. Additionally, the MDEP permit, as you know, is the subject of a lawsuit. I am aware that your permit would become invalid were the MDEP permit to be stayed or overturned, but that could be too late for the forest that is the site.
The many inaccuracies and inconsistencies in their applications and responses to your request for more information alone should require a full blown impact study. The fact that the process runs counter to their internal timetable is not at all germane to the process. An individual permit should be required.
Despite their claims, there are *no* "strong public benefits" provided to the area. That there are *any* longer term benefits to anyone but DCP is the subject of debate. Total job growth will be negative
when Anglers Restaurant closes as promised by Mr. Hall, the owner. The cost of the lost tourist dollars and to home values is unknowable.
Additionally, their main premise is not just faulty analysis, it is just plain wrong. Maine has no shortage of LPG. IEA statistics show that Maine is in balance, with adequate stocks from year to year. DCP is merely trying to gain a competitive advantage over their competition because it is cheaper to ship by water than by rail or truck.
It's obvious really. Their figure of 90 million gallons of usage in Maine is only 4 turns of their tank in Searsport, equal in fact to their own anticipated 9,000 trucks per year as reiterated in their responses.
They obviously intend to take away all of the consumption in Maine from their competitors and then some. There won't be more propane for Maine because they will drive out the traditional suppliers. The pie won't get any bigger, just their slice will. There is no growth in propane consumption vis a vis oil as one can never recoup the cost of conversion. If anyone is going to switch to a cheaper source of energy, it would be to natural gas, not propane. Spurious facts and unsupported analysis.
There is no for need and no benefit to the area from this installation.
DCP/TRC would have you believe that ACOE doesn't really have the authority to deny a GP over "only 2.04 acres of impacts..." but in fact you have broad authority to deny a Maine GP. We can't look to FERC for protection from LPG, we can only depend on the Coast Guard and the Corps to make sure that every claim that DCP makes is thoroughly vetted.
It is clear from the cover letter that DCP doesn't think you should consider public opinion or public interest in your process. the public thinks otherwise.
As to the responses:
It would appear that a., the status of the town's review, was talked around and not answered, they just told you what they thought the ordinances required. In fact the unelected, unaccountable planning board has sole authority and doesn't have to take things like noise, visual impact, effect on the roads and infrastructure or the lighting, etc. into account. They rely on MDEP, who may not have been misled on the noise issue, and may or may not have gone easy on DCP, and the ACOE permit. They can wash their hands of any responsibility, given cover by the DEP and ACOE permits.
Many residents are pushing for an economic impact study, but that would be up to the planning board.
Regarding noise, no one, not the town, not MDEP, were informed of the noise levels that result from flaring off of the gas, which DCP says will occur for 500 hours a year. That's an average of 82 minutes a day. My research, and others' indicate that such flaring results in noise levels of 79 to 80 decibels, an illegal level.
Their lights will brighten the sky for a mile around the tank, they won't preserve and enhance the landscape by clear cutting 25 acres and there will not be a harmonious relationship with the surrounding terrain and environment as required.
b., The MDEP permit is the subject to a law suit against MDEP. DCP did not inform MDEP in their application of the flaring noise of 79 to 80 decibels, an unfortunate omission for anyone living within earshot.
c. - Benefits - There is no economic need and only DCP benefits from the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and corner the propane market in Maine.
Again, their 22 million gallon tank can meet the needs of the entire state in four turns. If they don't intend to turn the tank over four times a year then the tank is too big for their needs.
The market is entirely capable of sorting out propane without DCP dominating the scene. DCP would have you think that a brief Canadian rail strike is a valid reason for their terminal, as if a stevedore strike or even a power outage couldn't shut them down for weeks. Searsport does not benefit at all from this project.
The iron workers, welders and pipeline builders won't come from Searsport or the midcoast area, unless they poach from BIW. We don't have the skilled construction workers for those jobs. Nor do we have the trained and experienced personal needed to run a cryogenic gas pipeline and storage facility. Maybe Searsport can get 3 or 4 of those security jobs DCP has talked about, or maybe that janitor job. But at what cost of other jobs.
They site as economic benefits their water and sewage usage, and paying\ their electric bill. Really?
Their "philanthropy" in other places is just not germane. They can not demonstrate any economic benefit without an *economic impact study.**
d. Mack Point. It seems me that Maine DOT, owners of Mack Point Terminal should respond to tho the capacity question. My understanding that Sprauge, who sold them the land has space in their terminal for additional, conventional height tanks (containment would be an issue with taller tanks in that footprint) in their area of the terminal, additionally, Mack Point is said to be only 74% developed, which should leave other suitable property available. One tank does offer greater efficiencies, which is their motivation.
f. Outreach - Placing a full page ad in the Bangor Daily News wasn't outreach, it was a show of force. Can you please explain to me what the definition might be of "commonly shared mis-statements"? Perhaps you might send a representative to Searsport on Thursday, January 26 to experience DCP's outreach at the Union Hall at 5:30PM. It should be taped if you are interested in a copy. (it should be an interesting meeting)
g. On traffic, their numbers just do not hold up to scrutiny. On one hand they say 9000 trucks a year (25 trucks a day on average), which would equal the entire consumption of propane in Maine (10k gallon trucks). On the other hand their application is for 144 trucks a day, which, given the size of the tank, would seem to be their goal. Clearly, they have unstated plans to service northern New England and upstate New York because Maine can not absorb all of the propane they could bring in.
As to existing traffic, why do they use estimates and not actual numbers? Irving and Sprauge know exactly how many trucks left Mack Point last year and in previous years. The number seems inflated given the relatively modest size of their tanks and their number. I would like proof that almost 1/2 a million tons is shipped by truck from Mack Point annually. Moreover, the 9000 trucks a year they say they will ship will increase traffic from
Mack Point by almost one third (30%), using their own 30,000 trucks existing traffic. If, indeed their shipments are concentrated in the heating season, they could increase terminal traffic by two thirds.
Their "more meaningful assessment of LPG truck traffic is the anticipated daily maximum of 50 to 60 trucks...during the peak of heating season...".
That number must be spurious. 60 trucks a day for 6 months is almost 11000 trucks a year. 50 trucks a day for 6 months is their magic 9000 trucks a year number. Are we to believe that they will not ship any propane during the non-heating season? They won't supply any of the propane used in outdoor cooking in the spring, summer and fall, or heating in October?
Their 144 trucks in their application and the massive size of the tank belies their contentions. They have big plans, they just aren't honest about them.
Their own numbers say that they will increase traffic from Mack Point by 30%. That is not insignificant.
Where is the proof that "many LPG delivery trucks already use this portion of the highway through Searsport..."? You don't service Down East Maine through Searsport. You don't service Camden and Rockland through Searsport.
The LPG traffic through Searsport serves our neighbors who aren't closer to distribution centers like Bangor, and major highways. Their contention makes no commercial sense.
They need to do an actual traffic survey. They need to substantiate all of their traffic numbers.
h. Positive comments - The Propane Education and Research Council has a guide to seducing municipalities that DCP has followed to the letter so far. Number one, change local ordinances . Check. Number two buddy up to the fire chief and make undisclosed promises for support. Check. Next they are to suck up to the ordinance control officer, and then open an office in town staffed by a contract communications consultant. Well the office is open. So yes, they are following the plan.
However, they can only admit that when the power goes off, which happens all too often in Searsport, their flare is lit. (how loud is that flare?)
i. Discharge - Not expected to.....
There is no experience at Sprauge in operating a mile long cryogenic pipeline, but DCP expects no discharge, and there is no containment for this colorless odorless heavier than air, suffocating, explosive gas. The containment they do have is as tall as the existing tanks. It doesn't sound like harmony to me.
j. Wetlands- We need an independent study, theirs is clearly self serving.
k. Fault lines - More obfuscation. They don't discuss how strong the largest of those 78 quakes are or what their tank could withstand. I do remember the East Face Trail at Acadia was wiped out by an earthquake a few years ago, and that was part of a mountain. Why was it too unsafe to build a nuclear reactor less than a mile away?
l. Security - The site can't be secured. It is open to the south and a crazed gunman would find many hiding spots to shoot trucks, truck drivers, or the tank or the flare. There are many targets from the land and the water.
Do we just hope no terrorist figures it out?
As to safety, there is almost one propane accident per day in the U.S. I am sure many were caused or abetted by well trained employees. Accidents happen. One here can wipe out the town.
m. Law suit - True, the appeal doesn't stay the permit, unless they lose.
n. Boating -The oil transfer area, where vessels anchor awaiting berth is close to Moose Point.
Their vessels are over 900 feet long. At anchor in variabel winds the vessel can occupy a circle with a diameter of 1800 feet. A quater of a mile is 1320 feet. Pretty tight for a landlubber like me.
What of the three lobster fishermen who fish out of Searsport who run trap lines across the harbor almost to Sears Island? Do they have to wait, potentially for days if the berth is occupied and the LPG vessel is waiting at anchor?
o. Air license - O.K.
p. Moratorium - DCP has hired professional canvassers to go door to door to urge Searsport residents to vote NO on the moratorium. So much for community outreach.
q.Clear cutting - Why can't they just say "yes, we are clear cutting 24 acres.?" or "The buffer can't even hide the containment dyke much less the tank"?
Attachment B, those simulations are still nonsense. No accompanying buildings, no clear cutting shown, the vantage points are self serving and minimizing and not reflective of the views approaching from the north or south on route1 nor from the most active parts of the harbor and bay. Behind a barn on Old Route 1 seems self serving, "we can't see it from here" seems absurd.
Jay, Thank you for your attention. Please hold DCP accountable and seek out the truth.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Steven L. Stockton, Director of Civil Works
Michael Ensch Chief of Operations, Directorate of Civil Works
Meg Gaffney-Smith. Chief, Regulatory Branch. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
******Colonel Charles P. Samaris, Commander and District Engineer, New
*Re: ACOE review of large gas tank project, Searsport Maine:
Dear Ms Darcy, Mr Stockton, Mr Ensch, Ms Gaffney-Smith and Colonel Samaris,
I write you, asking that consideration of seeming deficiencies by the ACOE's Maine Projects Office in the review of a proposal for a liquefied petroleum gas tank and marine terminal be examined at a higher level of the Army Corps of Engineers.
I have had many years of interaction with the Manchester Maine office and have normally found their reviews and decisions fair and fact-based. In the present case however, that does not seem to be the situation. This is so unusual that I feel impelled to reach out to the ACOE's national civil works leadership seeking clarification and guidance on how to rectify this situation.
Below are comments we sent to Jay Clement of the Corps of Engineers Maine Projects office yesterday that summarize our concerns. I consider Mr. Clement to be of unimpeachably high standards, but something is wrong here.
You may also see something of our point of view at our webpage about the LPG gas proposal <http://penbay.org/dcp/> for Searsport Maine.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any additional information
Dear Mr. Clement,
My husband and I have reviewed a copy of DCP Searsport, LLC's responses to the ACOE's request for additional information as submitted by their consultants, TRC.
Thank you for the questions raised in your request for additional information it demonstrates your fairness and thoroughness in this process to date. We hope that you will continue to display this professionalism as this complex process moves forward.
However, there remain many inaccuracies, misstatements, facts and unsupported analysis throughout both the cover letter and the body of the response document.
We request that you refuse private meetings with Mr. Wallace and his request to meet with you and the district reviewers "to address further questions" as the public has a right to “due process” something that has been absent regarding DCP since last March’s town meeting. As tax paying citizens we have the right to transparency of all written communications so that everything is in the public record. If you do choose to meet with DCP or their consultants we respectfully request as part of due process that all stakeholders be invited as well to refute their answers.
There are many reasons not to issue a Maine GP, among which is the fact that their wetlands survey is both inaccurate and self-serving and there is evidence to support that contention.
Additionally, the MDEP permit, as you know, is the subject of a lawsuit. I am aware that your permit would become invalid were the MDEP permit to be stayed or overturned, but that could be too late
for the forest that is the site.
The myriad of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in their applications and responses to your request for more information alone should require a thorough impact study which a yes vote on the moratorium would hopefully allow. We urge you to require them to obtain an individual.
Despite their claims that for every million dollars spent on the project 3 million will be generated for the local economy (as noted during their presentation on the Voice of Maine on 1/16/12) they fail to acknowledge that the bulk of these jobs are only temporary and that there will only be 10-15 full time jobs left once the project is complete. In fact total job growth will be negative
when Anglers Restaurant closes, tourists by pass the coastal route from Camden to Bar Harbor in order to skip the increased truck traffic and all of us who have small businesses in all of these coastal towns loose those out of state dollars. The inevitable depreciation to the homes in which we have all built as our “nest eggs” is certainly questionable at best.
If the “true facts” are examined Maine has no shortage of LPG. IEA statistics show that Maine is in balance, with adequate stocks from year to year. DCP is merely trying to gain a competitive
advantage over their competition because it is cheaper to ship by water than by rail or truck. This competitive advantage impacts local Maine fuel businesses such as Thompson’s, Dead River and
Webber Energy which recently sold their entire retail business to “the volatility of the market” (one has to wonder how much of a role DCP’s plan played in this decision). Potential 225 Webber employees will loose their jobs at the end of this heating season. DCP obviously intend to take away all of the consumption in Maine from their competitors and then some. There won't be more propane for Maine because they will drive out the traditional “local” suppliers creating yet more unemployment such as what has happened with Webber Energy a business that has been supplying fuel for almost 100 years. Only DCP stands to win this game.
There is no for need and no benefit to the area from this installation. DCP/TRC would have you believe that ACOE doesn't really have the authority to deny a GP over "only 2.04 acres of impacts..." but in fact you have broad authority to deny a Maine GP. We can't look to FERC for protection from LPG, we can only depend on the Coast Guard and the Corps to make sure that every claim that DCP makes is completely vetted and we respectfully implore you to do this!
DCP makes it clear that they do not think you should consider public opinion, a small town such as Searsport and the lives that we have built here are seen as expendable. Naturally they would not make this proposal in Portland where the sheer number of citizens alone, along with their politicians would generate a much louder outcry than the smaller number of Searsport residents can.
Regarding DCP’s responses:
1- The status of the town's review, was talked around and not answered, the unelected, unaccountable planning board has sole authority and doesn't have to take things like noise, visual impact, effect on the roads and infrastructure or the lighting, etc. into account. Nor have our “officials”allowed due process of the town residents to raise these very valid issues despite numerous attempts to do so. Our voices and concerns have been stifled. They rely on MDEP, who may not have been misled on the noise issue, and may or may not have gone easy on DCP, and the ACOE permit. They can wash their hands of any responsibility, given cover by the DEP and ACOE permits.
Many residents are pushing for an economic impact study, but that would be up to the planning board who has demonstrated time and again an unwillingness to allow residents a voice and “due process”.
Regarding noise, no one, not the town, not MDEP, were informed of the noise levels that result from flaring off of the gas, which DCP says will occur for 500 hours a year (roughly 1.4 hours per day). Research indicates that such flaring results in noise levels of 79 to 80 decibels, an illegal level. They admit that when the power goes off, which happens all too often in Searsport, their flare is lit so how often will this exceed the 500 hours per year?.
DCP’s lights will be a glowing beacon in the sky 24/7 for at least a mile around the tank, they won't preserve or enhance the landscape by clear cutting 25 acres and there will not be a harmonious relationship with the surrounding terrain and environment as required. What DCP is proposing will do irreparable complete irreversible change to the entire Searsport and Penobscot Bay region.
2- The MDEP permit is the subject to a law suit against MDEP. DCP did not inform MDEP in their application of the flaring noise of 79 to 80 decibels, a grievous (and perhaps convenient) omission for anyone living within earshot.
a.. There is no economic need and only DCP benefits from the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and corner the propane market in Maine. DCP would have you think that a brief Canadian rail strike in 2007 is a valid reason for their terminal, as if a stevedore strike or even a power outage couldn't shut them down for weeks. Searsport does not benefit at all from this project.
b.. The iron workers, welders and pipeline builders won't come from Searsport or the mid-coast area, unless they woo them from BIW. We don't have the skilled construction workers for those jobs.
Nor do we have the trained and experienced personal needed to run a cryogenic gas pipeline and storage facility. Maybe Searsport can get 3 or 4 of those security jobs DCP has talked about, or
maybe that janitor job. But at what cost of other jobs.
c.. They cannot demonstrate any economic benefit without an economic impact study that our proposed moratorium would enable.
4- Mack Point. It seems us that Maine DOT, owners of Mack Point Terminal should respond to the capacity question. Our understanding that Sprague, who sold them the land has space in their terminal
for additional, conventional height tanks (containment would be an issue with taller tanks in that footprint) in their area of the terminal. Additionally, Mack Point is said to be only 74%
developed, which should leave other suitable property available.
5- Outreach - Placing a full page ad in the Bangor Daily News wasn't outreach, it was a show the force of a company that has millions of dollars that they are willing to spend to wear the residents of Searsport and the surrounding towns for pushing for our constitutional due process for a full transparency and an economic impact study. During their meeting last night (1/26/11) in our town
hall DCP packed the room with non-Searsport residents touting the benefits of this project. This is not outreach; it is stacking the deck and pure intimidation. We were told from some out-of-
towners if we did not like the project we should just get out of town!
6- On traffic, their numbers just do not hold up to scrutiny. On one hand they say 9000 trucks a year (25 trucks a day on average), yet their application is for 144 trucks a day, which, given the size of the tank, would seem to be their goal. Their 144 trucks in their application, and the massive size of the tank we think belies their contentions and they just aren't honest. Even their own numbers say that they will increase traffic from Mack Point by 30%. A moratorium would all for actual traffic survey and again I’ll repeat allow the residents of Searsport and the surrounding communities due process.
7-Wetlands- We need an independent study, DCP’s is clearly self-serving. Again a moratorium would allow for this.
8- Fault lines – DCP does not discuss how strong the largest of those 78 quakes are or what their tank could withstand. Research shows that the East Face Trail at Acadia was wiped out by an earthquake a few years ago, and that was part of a mountain.
9- Security - The site can't be secured. It is open to the south with increased homeland terrorism it would be easy to find hiding spots to shoot trucks, truck drivers, or the tank or the flare.
Not to mention, accidents happen and unlike a similar tank in Tampa Florida, we have no security perimeter. Searsport is clearly in the blast zone.
10- Law suit - True, the appeal doesn't stay the permit, unless they lose.
11- Boating -The oil transfer area, where vessels anchor awaiting berth is close to Moose Point.
Their vessels are over 900 feet long. At anchor in variable winds the vessel can occupy a circle with a diameter of 1800 feet. A quarter of a mile is 1320 feet. What of the three lobster fishermen who fish out of Searsport who run trap lines across the harbor almost to Sears Island? Do they have to wait, potentially for days if the berth is occupied and the LPG vessel is waiting at anchor?
More overlooked potential economic impact, potentially forever.
12-Moratorium - DCP has hired professional canvassers to go door to door to urge Searsport residents to vote NO on the moratorium the promise of jobs etc. Surely in these economically hard times
they don’t mention that these jobs are temporary or that their plan once complete changes the mid-coast forever.
13- Clear cutting - Again DCP is not disclosing the full story. In fact at last nights' public meeting their pictures of the proposed tank were clearly inaccurate and not to scale again more deception. Their Attachment B simulations are complete and utter nonsense none of it is reflective of the views approaching from the north or south on Route nor from the most active parts of the harbor and bay. Behind a barn on Old Route 1 is self-serving
Mr. Clement, my husband and I thank you for your continued attention. Please hold DCP accountable and seek out the truth and allow the citizens of Searsport the due process we were denied at last
march’s town meeting.
Mr. Christopher Lewis
December 22, 2011
NO LPG tank in Searsport, Maine
I am a Maine taxpayer and I am opposed to the LPG Tank that your company is proposing for Mack Point, Searsport, ME. This project would impose costly and dangerous consequences to the entire mid-coast region of Maine, and I am writing to you today to let you know that I speak for many Mid-Coasters in saying that we do NOT want your LPG here. KEEP OUT.
The proposed project would lead to a massive increase in the industrialization of Mack Point, bringing with it an increase in truck traffic, noise, odors, more strain on local roads and bridges, fire, safety and security concerns, and damage to the coastal land and ocean environments.
From an economic standpoint, the project offers little in the way of jobs or revenue to the area, and may in fact have a negative effect on local establishments and tourism. Perhaps you would like this project in YOUR community.
In this day with global warming an actual threat (re: temperatures in the 50’s here this past week; violets in bloom), why would anyone with any intelligence continue to advocate for a FINITE FOSSIL FUEL. We need alternative energy and conservation, now. And don’t even get me started on importing from Qatar through a corporation that does NOT have the communities’ best interest at heart. Give me a break.
I have no desire to be polite or moderate. We don’t want your multinational corporation or your LPG in Mid-Coast Maine. Do you understand? Pass it on.
10 February 2012
Dear Mr. Clement,
The people of mid-coast Maine are very concerned about the proposed 22.7 million gallon LPG tank in Searsport, Maine and we are asking the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full-scale environmental impact study for this project.
The proposed 22 million gallon tank would be one of only four tanks this size in the country. DCP Midstream has been cited for numerous safety and pollution violations. There is no proposed safety buffer zone around the Searsport tank, as with the other tanks this size. Here are our concerns:
1. safety (in Elk Grove, IL police uncovered a domestic terrorist plot to blow up two
10 million gallon LPG tanks)
2. emergency preparedness (only four other tanks this size in the country)
3. 288 trucks a day on our roads
4. noise pollution (the facility and the 18-wheelers)
5. air pollution from flare (108 tons per year)
6. 24 hour light pollution
7. threats to the natural environment
8. destruction of tourism and related jobs in mid-coast area due to industrialization
on this unprecedented scale
9. destruction of property values due to industrialization
Coastal Maine is one of the most beautiful places on earth. This beautiful place, and our way of life here, is under threat.
Again, we urge you to conduct a full-scale environmental impact study on the proposed 22.7 million gallon LPG tank in Searsport, Maine.Sincerely,
AIR QUALITY TALKING POINTS
Admissions against interest, found in the DEP air emissions “Finding of Fact and Order-Air Emission License”
1. LPG vapors will be discharged into the atmosphere. Questions to consider, what amounts and affects, is LPG considered an VOC, and what about “greenhouse effects”?
A. ship transportation: 6 ships/year, 200,000 metric tons (2,476,000 barrels) annually-“Releases of propane at the pier will only occur during disconnection of the liquid and vapor lines at the conclusion of the ship unloading process.”
B. truck and rail car loading: license for X (I don’t know the number) rail cars/day, and Y (I don’t know the number) trucks/day-“At the conclusion of the loading process, the uncoupling procedure is: 1, coupling block valves will be closed;2. Liquid propane remaining in the coupling line will be flashed into the vapor return line; 3. The propane gas remaining in the coupling will be vented to the atmosphere.”
a) additionally, ethyl mercaptan will be stored at each loading station in four 1000 gallon tanks, and “injected for odorization”. We don’t know the process or whether there will be any atmospheric release during this process
b) ethyl mercaptan will be certainly be released into the atmosphere at the time of uncoupling, during the truck and rail loading process, because it is now a part of the propane gas being transported
c) the atmospheric release of ethyl mercaptan is not accounted for in the DEP license
d) ethyl mercaptan is a known irritant. Inhalation of vapor causes muscular weakness, convulsions, and respiratory paralysis. Lower concentrations have been reported to cause repiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and vomiting
2. Acid rain-quoting from Maine Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality article,
“The gasses in the atmosphere that contribute to the development of these acids come from both natural sources, such as volcanoes or the decomposition of organic matter, and from anthroprogenic, or man-made sources such as automobiles and boilers.
The man-made component of acid deposition is principally derived from fossil fuel combustion; that is the combustion of coal, oil, or gas in utility and factory boilers, exhausted from smokestacks, and gasoline and diesel fuel from cars, buses and trucks exhausting through tailpipes. Wood and biomass combustion also contribute to acid deposition. The pollutants creating the acids are primarily sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) which are found in the exhaust from both smokestacks and tailpipes.
These pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere, where they gradually settle back to earth as an acidic dust, or combine with water vapor and return to the earth as acidic rain.
Acid deposition changes the chemistry of the environment. It affects water bodies such as ponds and lakes, river and streams, and bays and estuaries by increasing their acidity, in some cases to the point where aquatic animals and plants begin to die off. The lowered pH may liberate metals bound in the minerals of the bedrock and soils surrounding a water body, sometimes to a toxic effect.
Acid deposition damages vegetation as well. Scientists have observed leaf damage attributable to acid rain that limits the plant's ability to grow and sustain itself. Damage to forests has also been well documented; acid deposition reacts chemically with forest soils, leaching away nutrients vital to tree growth while at the same time mobilizing toxic metals in the soil.
While it is less well documented, some scientists have expressed a concern that acid deposition may adversely affect land dwelling animals as well, through the mobilization of metals in drinking water and through the uptake of metals by plants that are later consumed by animals. It is likely that humans would be similarly affected. It is clear that human health is compromised in those populations chronically exposed to airborne concentrations of sulfates and nitrates found downwind of heavily industrialized areas.” (http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/acidrain/)
A. DEP is licensing the release of amounts of sulfur dioxide (S02) and various nitrous oxides (NOx) which are known causes of acid rain
3. Particulate Matter (PM and PM10)-PM10 is among the most harmful of all air pollutants. When inhaled, these particles evade the respiratory system’s natural defenses and lodge deep in the lungs. Health problems begin as the body reacts to these foreign particles. PM10 can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis and other lung diseases, and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections.
Populations particularly sensitive and vulnerable to PM10’s affects include children, the elderly, exercising adults, and those suffering from asthma, bronchitis or COPD. Of greatest concern are recent studies that link PM10 exposure to the premature death of people who already have heart and lung disease, especially the elderly.
A. DEP is licensing the release of amounts of PM10 into the atmosphere
4. Carbon monoxide (CO)-Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odorless, non-irritating gas. Other than that, it also happens to be extremely poisonous. CO is a result, chiefly from the exhaust of internal combustion engines.
A. DEP is licensing the release of amounts of CO into the atmosphere
B. There is no mention of the release of amounts of CO by the 144 trucks that will be coming and going each day to the terminal
C. There is no mention of the release of amounts of CO by the ships during the unloading procedures.
5. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)-The Federal Environmental Protection Agency has found that VOC’s are “deleterious to the ozone layer” and are contributory to the greenhouse gas effect, contributing to global warming. Additionally, VOC’s have been linked with respiratory, allergic or immune effects in children and the elderly.
A. DEP is licensing the release of amounts of VOC’s into the atmosphere
6. Asthma in Maine (Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention-Division of Chronic Disease-Maine Department of Health and Human Services)
A. almost 15% of all Maine children and adults have, or have had, asthma attacks. Asthma prevalence in both children and adults in Maine well exceeds the national occurances.
B. There are over 8,000 emergency room visits a year in Maine because of asthma
C. There are over 1,000 hospitalizations a year in Maine because of asthma
D. Amongst children, asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism
E. Amongst adults, asthma is the fourth leading cause of absenteeism
7. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)-occurs when a person breathes in lung irritants of some kind; smoke, chemicals, pollution and dust. Asthma also plays a role
A. In Maine, 150.2 out of every 10,000 adults age 45 and older die of COPD annually
B. COPD is a major public health problem, if for no other reason than that it requires high medical utilization rates and hospitalization
C. COPD is the fourth leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, and is the only major disease that is rising in prevalence and mortality.
In summary, the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection Air Emission License is flawed be cause, by its’ own admission, is licensing the release of quantities of LPG vapors, ethyl mercaptan, SO2, NOx, CO, and particulate matter. It is incontrovertible that all of these are either harmful to human health and/or the environment.
Further, there is no recitation as to the amounts of certain of these materials. No monitoring provisions have been provided for certain of these-they have just been ignored. The net effect is that they are entirely unregulated,