5:43:00 PM Searsport Should Consider Consequences of
Proceeding Unilaterally with Permitting Massive LPG Storage Tank -
Open letter to Mr. Gillway and Searsport
This is to express my concern regarding an important
issue that seems not to have been considered in planning for the
construction by DCP Midstream (now DCP Searsport?) of a massive LPG
storage facility at Mack Point.
Typically, the permitting of a new project is a matter
that concerns only the town in which the project is to be undertaken.
Such localized projects present few or no potentially negative
repercussions for neighboring towns, and therefore it is generally
unnecessary to engage neighboring towns in the planning process or to
give them an opportunity to air any concerns they might have prior to
permitting and finalization of the project in question.
In the instance of the 22.7 million gallon LPG storage
tank proposed for Mack Point, however, it seems clear that Sears-
port is the only town that stands to benefit
materially from the project, whereas the project's potential for
adverse impacts on adjacent towns is substantial. The failure of the
town of Searsport to engage its neighboring towns in discussions
concerning a project that will be of no benefit, and could be of
significant harm, to them could therefore lead to serious legal
difficulties for Searsport if, in fact, the tank is built and put into
Among such potential impacts are the following:
1. Increased congestion along Routes US 1 and 1A and
Maine 3 due to frequent tanker truck traffic. As you know, these roads
are "Main Street" for a large percentage of midcoast residents.
2. Accelerated deterioration of the surfaces of these
roads outside of Searsport. Who will pay for this?
3. Depression of property values throughout the
affected area, especially for those properties from which the tank
would be visible. Who compensates the landowners?
4. Suppression of the tourist trade due to the
preceding three factors, causing economic loss to tourism-dependent
businesses. Again, who compensates for such losses?
5. Suppression of real estate sales and concomitant
reduction in home values due to concern by potential buyers about the
abovementioned factors and the threat of explosions of the tank and of
tanker trucks. My wife personally knows someone who has decided not to
buy a home in Stockton Springs because of the tank, and I have heard
from sources I trust that many Searsport properties have gone on the
market as a direct result of the tank project. If true, how will this
affect your tax base?
6. Catastrophic economic losses resulting from LPG
BLEVE explosions, which could be triggered by a large variety of
causes, including lightning strikes, earthquakes, thixotropic soil
movement in the post-glacial Presumpscot clay formation surrounding the
tank, ease of access by terrorists, prolonged power outages and human
error. The only other comparable tank of which I am aware, located in
Tampa, Florida, is surrounded by a two-mile-wide uninhabited exclusion
zone, and for good reason.
In consideration of the foregoing, it seems to me that
the town of Searsport is assuming a very great risk in unilaterally
permitting and finalizing this project without soliciting the input of
surrounding municipalities. Searsport residents (at least those who
were sufficiently informed in time) have signed off on it, but
residents of surrounding towns have not. As things stand, the only
available recourse for non-Searsport residents to redress such
potential losses as are enumerated above would be class-action
litigation against DCP and against the town of Searsport, and
increasingly, I hear talk of such action, and I see people organizing
for that eventuality.
I sincerely hope that you will take the more prudent
course and carefully consider the unpromising consequences for the town
of Searsport of proceeding unilaterally with the DCP project.
Specifically, I hope that you will see fit to postpone the finalization
of this project until your neighboring towns have had an opportunity to
assess the implications of the project for their future safety and
David Laing, Stockton Springs
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Article comment by:
The correct link to proposed Searsport LPG
tank viewshed. Click on visibility cloak to see where can can be seen.
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Article comment by:
As a resident of Lincolnville, I agree with
David Laing, Stockton Springs, regarding the need for towns in the
surrounding areas to have a voice whether or not this project goes
forward. Many questions regarding safety and environmental impact have
NOT been addressed. If you are interested in an estimate of the visual
impact of proposed tank go to
http://www.heywhatsthat.com/?view=CT659TC3 This is a rough estimate but
a more accurate depiction of its impact than what was provided by
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