Madness in Maine! Huge propane tank a mortal threat to tiny Searsport!


Your readers may be interested to know that the huge, 30 inch diameter Spectra natural gas (NG) pipeline proposed for New York City is the same size as the bulk NG transmission pipeline owned by Spectra that runs the length of Maine from the Sable Islands to New York State. All over the country, the energy giants are riding roughshod over localities in their frenzy to sell petroleum in all its forms (including gas), to get us distracted from alternatives, and to wring the maximum profit before the public DEMANDS an end to this planet-destroying madness. A proposed giant liquified propane (LP) tank in the little town of Searsport (pop. 2600) on the coast of Maine is just one example of what is facing our state – we also are targeted for a tar sands pipeline.

Natural gas is now superabundant in the US due to fracking. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas refinement, and it has to find markets someplace, either domestic markets or exported to markets abroad. Strangely, in the face of an overabundant supply of domestically produced propane, the company proposing the giant LP tank in Searsport says it will be IMPORTING LP from foreign sources, enough propane to meet 100% of Maine’s current consumption. What is the real game plan here? Given the market conditions, why is this project being avidly pursued by a joint venture of Spectra and Conoco Phillips? Some think the tank is actually intended for export, contrary to its permit applications.

A local land trust hired former counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke’s firm to do an independent study, which stated flatly that the project should not go forward, because (1) the site is too small and too close to residences and US Route 1 (2) the risk of explosions too great, and (3) the local, rural emergency management system totally inadequate, a fact echoed by the Coast Guard in their review.

Nevertheless, the project has received most of the necessary permits from the Corps of Engineers and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (currently headed by a former lobbyist for the chemical industry). The final necessary permit must be obtained from the local planning board (headed by an individual with over 30 years employment in the petroleum industry). There have been many nights of intense public hearings. The final hearing is to be on Monday the 25th.

Strong opposition has been gaining momentum in recent months, through a well-organized group called “Thanks but no Tank” (TNBT). They have a website and a short fact page and a Move-on-based petition has gathered over 5000 signatures (feel free to add yours) at:

Dick Atlee
Southwest Harbor, ME

Abbie McMillen
Brooksville, ME


I Represent Other “Interested Parties”
by Joanne Moesswilde, Belfast, Maine

Hear me
Hear me
I was not granted interested party status
I do not attend meetings
I do not speak into microphones
Hear me though, just the same.
I am
The gull who laughs at you while you enjoy your picnic
The fish you never see but you hope are always swimming
And the lobster you know so well
I am the loon and that soothing voice
I am the clean fresh breeze that fills your sails on Penobscot bay
I am the tree that shades your walk
I am the quiet that comforts you after a days work
I am your smiling neighbors
I am the friendly visitor
I am the slippery seal smiling at you
I am the quiet road home
I am your grandchild, not yet born.
Listen now,
I ask you to keep our place safe
This place safe
The place where we fly,
When the child sits on you knee i hope you can tell them
the story of how you kept the TANK away
To save this place for us
Instead of trying to describe for them
what it was like before the TANK came.

I am timeless
You always count on me to be here
As I have been for ever
I promise to stay
As long as there is a place for me.

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