The REAL Fairwinds FAQ
As interpreted by Kevin White

 

The REAL Fairwinds FAQ
As interpreted by Kevin White

[Note: Immediately below is the list of questions that Mr. White is answering If you click on the * you will be taken directly to that question. To return to the top, press the HOME key on your keyboard. Burr Taylor reformatted his article in hopes of making it easier for the reader. He is responsible for problems arising from that.]

  • Town Government: *
    • When did Fairwinds first approach the town? *
    • So when Gordon Weil jumped back into the Select chair to fill the vacancy, he fully knew that Fairwinds was expressing interest in the property? *
    • Did he reassume the selectmenís seat solely to drive LNG into Harpswell? *
    • Is that an accusation? *
    • Are the answers to the above important? *
    • Is it illegal what Dr. Weil did? Is it a conflict of interest? *
    • Dr. Weil has expertise in the area of energy, isnít that good for Harpswell? *
    • But Conoco Phillips has maintained they were pressed for time and needed quick decisions; did they pressure the selectboard into moving quickly? *
    • Is Conoco Phillips also the reason why everything was handled so secretively? *
    • But all the secrecy has made me suspicious of the selectmenís motives. There has GOT to be something in it for them. Is there? *
    • Iím angry that the selectmen didnít approach the town first prior to engaging in serious conversations with Fairwinds. The comprehensive plan was ignored. Isnít that wrong? *
    • Why did the vote date keep getting moved around? *
  • The Lease: *
    • Did Harpswell get everything it wanted in the lease? *
    • Does the lease adequately protect Harpswell? *
    • Why does protection only extend so far? *
    • What types of things are unprotected? *
    • Wow, that means there are huge amount of things that Conoco Phillips can do that arenít covered through the lease agreement, right? *
    • You mentioned expansion. Can Conoco Phillips expand? *
  • Safety and terrorism: *
    • Turning to safety; Is LNG safe? *
    • What about Algiers? *
    • But isnít LNG harmless, doesnít it just evaporate and float away on the wind? *
    • You canít talk about safety without discussing terrorism. Would the facility be safe from terrorist attack? *
    • But the probability of a terrorist attack on LNG is low, right? *
    • But Harpswell is a small town, isnít it likely terrorists will attack a more populated area? *
    • This concerns me. In what ways is Harpswell more attractive? *
    • Canít Harpswell just keep security tight? *
  • The money and the studies: *
    • But the town will receive eight million dollars in revenue from the lease, wonít that be enough money to afford proper protection? *
    • Why? Where is all the lease money going? *
    • What did the socio-economic report say? *
    • Do you mean the lease revenue ISNíT a huge financial windfall for Harpswell? *
    • If the lease revenue isnít a windfall, then why should town voters want to allow Fairwinds to build in Harpswell? Wonít such a thing change the character of Harpswell? Wonít it change it from a rural community to an industrial one? *
    • Isnít the money aspect disputed? I heard that Fairwinds commissioned its own studyÖ *
    • So it is not a study, and nothing in it relates to the socio-economic impact specific to Harpswell? *
    • I find it hard to believe that eight million dollars can flow into the community and the town wonít see a benefit. How can that be? *
  • The impacted: *
    • What groups of townspeople does the presence of Fairwinds hurt? *
    • Is that all? *
    • Doesnít the Yellow Woods Report also predict that taxes will eventually rise to higher than current levels after a short period of reduction? *
    • What about the permanent jobs Fairwindís provide? *
    • What about the construction jobs? *
    • Doesnít the lease have a mitigation fund to address the losses to fishermen created by operations? *
    • Canít fishermen just sue for damage related to the pipeline to recover their losses? *
    • What is the time element? *
    • Why is that a problem; the fishermen will get some settlement if theyíve been injured? *
    • I donít believe that Fairwinds will impact the fishermanís business; is this correct? *
    • What about the abutters? Is there any compensation program for them? *
    • Why do the abutters feel that their properties are in jeopardy? The fuel farm existed there prior to Fairwinds. Isnít it sort of the same thing? *
    • But why are they saying their property values will drop? Didnít property values increase exponentially over time while the fuel depot was there? *
    • Well, did they? *
    • Why is this a problem? They donít have to sell. The losses wonít be realized until they do. *
    • But wonít the elderly and the poor be helped by the cash flow into the town? *
    • Will Fairwinds hurt tourism? *
  • The vote: *
    • What are some of the core issues I should be considering when I go to vote? *
  • The aftermath: *
    • Will Harpswell ever recover from this Fairwinds episode? *
  • The closing qualifier: *
    • Can everything be covered fully in an FAQ? *
  • The recommendation: *

Town Government:

Q: When did Fairwinds first approach the town?

A: Best accounts of this, evidenced by town documentation, date serious interest back as early as 4/2002. There is paperwork showing that Roberta Weil, then on the depot commission, was in direct contact with Conoco Phillips and appropriate state agencies as of that time. Earliest contact was likely just prior.

Q: So when Gordon Weil jumped back into the Select chair to fill the vacancy, he fully knew that Fairwinds was expressing interest in the property?

A: It is presumed that a husband and wife would communicate. Therefore, by inference, one must assume yes.

Q: Did he reassume the selectmenís seat solely to drive LNG into Harpswell?

A: Solely Dr. Weil knows Dr. Weilís motivations.

Q: Is that an accusation?

A: No, not in the least. It is believed that all the selectmen, to a man, have all believed they are serving the best interests of Harpswell. Where opinion differs is simply whether such a small sample of people imposing its certain vision for the town upon its citizenry was appropriate and handled correctly. It can be argued that it should have been more of a collective agreement.

Q: Are the answers to the above important?

A: In the context that a different mix of selectmen of might have produced an extremely different handling of the situation? Yes. A different selectperson, one not so comfortable with the energy industry, might have more deeply questioned LNG as an appropriate choice for the town and not assumed such dominating control over the others on the board, and moved so quickly into concrete lease negotiations in a situation which so severely contradicted the townís comprehensive plan.

Q: Is it illegal what Dr. Weil did? Is it a conflict of interest?

A: No, as long as Dr. Weil did not pursue public matters for his own private advancement, his participation is not illegal or in conflict of anything.

Q: Dr. Weil has expertise in the area of energy, isnít that good for Harpswell?

A: Yes, it is. Dr. Weilís expertise helped secure the best possible lease agreement for Harpswell. What might be at issue is whether he should have been negotiating the deal from the selectmanís chair, thus exercising iron control over the town political process (in some opinionsóholding it hostage) while concurrently drafting important town business; or whether he should have been accessed as an expert consultant for the town, after the matter had been allowed to move forward following due diligence and global consent and approval by the town during a public assembly. The questions are: "Was it okay to progress with negotiations while in control of the government and without widespread consent?" Should the discussion have been pursued exclusive of, rather than intertwined with the political process? Should a small government body be allowed to ram its own ideology through irrespective of communal wishes, and then fully negotiate for the whole, when the whole has not been invited to have any say in the matter prior to ensuing negotiations? Should the control of the government/political process and what amounts to a special interest group have remained separate and distinct? There have been many political protections afforded Fairwinds.

Q: But Conoco Phillips has maintained they were pressed for time and needed quick decisions; did they pressure the selectboard into moving quickly?

A: They did.

Q: Is Conoco Phillips also the reason why everything was handled so secretively?

A: Yes, and no. Being secretive and guarded was and is necessary due to the highly competitive nature of Conoco Phillipís industry. There is a race on to install LNG facilities in the Northeast, and all companies are playing their cards very close to their chests. On the other hand, outside input would have slowed the lease drafting process dramatically. In a race, that is unacceptable. Public comment was therefore NOT solicited. Trouble arises mainly when ALL contrary input is silenced. The selectmen had control of this and elected to NOT invite any discourse that wasnít LNG friendly. They continued with this position throughout the entire process. This was/is a highly questionable course of action and may lie at the heart of the divisive and emotionally charged environment currently present in the town.

Q: But all the secrecy has made me suspicious of the selectmenís motives. There has GOT to be something in it for them. Is there?

A: Outside of a personal desire to see the process through, there is no hard evidence that any of the selectmen see direct benefit from Fairwinds. It is anticipated (correctly or not is highly debated) that Fairwinds will enrich the town government. There is no guarantee that any of the selectmen, once their term expires, will be able to control said funds. Consequently, personal enhancement from the project is not likely. There are some anecdotal accusations of job pandering, but they are unsubstantiated.

Q: Iím angry that the selectmen didnít approach the town first prior to engaging in serious conversations with Fairwinds. The comprehensive plan was ignored. Isnít that wrong?

A: Wrong is not the proper term. Perhaps mishandled is. The future will be the true judge of how badly the selectmen may have bungled the process.

Q: Why did the vote date keep getting moved around?

A: Because the lawyers for both sides couldnít hammer out a suitable agreement that satisfied both parties. That takes time. It is a very complex document.

The Lease:

Q: Did Harpswell get everything it wanted in the lease?

A: No, that is unreasonable to think. The process of negotiation is a process of give and take. Neither side gets everything it wants. Fairwinds gave up ground, Harpswell had to give up some ground. Thatís how it works.

Q: Does the lease adequately protect Harpswell?

A: Harpswell is protected better than most towns would be, thanks in part to Dr. Weilís expertise and familiarity within the energy industry and his knowledge of whom to access for answers. The problem arises only in the fact that protection from a lease agreement can only extend so far.

Q: Why does protection only extend so far?

A: It is important to understand that a lease is only an agreement between tenant and landlord and its focus is on acceptable usage of the land/property in question. The running of the business falls vastly outside of the scope of the lease agreement and thusly cannot protect the town from all consequences of housing such a business on that site. A town cannot tell a business how to run itself. NO business would agree to that.

Q: What types of things are unprotected?

A: Things that are related to the operation and future expansion of the business. A town can only dictate to a business how it will operate as it relates to land and resource usage. If land and resource parameters are met, the town has NO SAY otherwise. All other aspects of the business are untouchable via a lease agreement. Businesses are in business to grow. Itís what a business does. A business, by its nature, wants and needs to sell more of its product. To do that, it needs to know it can continue to expand.

Q: Wow, that means there are huge amount of things that Conoco Phillips can do that arenít covered through the lease agreement, right?

A: That is correct. One cannot legislate against everything that could happenÖESPECIALLY via a lease agreement. It is unreasonable, naive and just wishful thinking to believe one can. The forces of the world are too wild, woolly and unpredictable to make such a thing even remotely possible.

Q: You mentioned expansion. Can Conoco Phillips expand?

A: There are rules and conditions defined within the lease for expansion upon the town owned land. Expansion off of town owned land is not, and cannot be, addressed through a lease agreement. It can be controlled only through land usage restrictions, which can be changed by townís people upon future request by Conoco Phillips. The courts and other powerful influences can also change and mandate their own land usage restrictions--Or lack thereof. It isnít ALWAYS up to the town, when involved in dealings and circumstances of this nature, for it to have complete control over itís own destiny. It is a distinct possibility that powerful outside bodies (including Fairwinds) will force their strong will and way upon the town as expansion is an expressed goal of all LNG facilities. Remember what a businessí fundamental purpose is: to sell more of its product. To do so, it must be capable of producing more of its product. With LNG, that means expansion of production capability. Itís pretty much business 101Öand youíre dealing with very powerful players. The town may be forced to do things it doesnít like or want.

Safety and terrorism:

Q: Turning to safety; Is LNG safe?

A: The LNG industry has an excellent safety record, but it is a record that has been established on a small sampling of sites. Small samples are not known to be accurate predictors of future trends. As the numbers of sites grow, the opportunity of mishaps grows too. Whether or not the good record of safety can be maintained is a question for the ages.

Q: What about Algiers?

A: Algiers is a dark blemish on an otherwise sterling record. The explosion WAS directly tied to LNG/NG and its related operations. It was not a boiler as originally hoped for by everyone in the LNG industry. One must recognize that wherever Liquid Natural Gas and Natural Gas are sited, the potential for an Algiers to occur is ever present, however remote the possibility. The problem is, should something awful occur where Fairwinds is sited, the consequences to Harpswell are particularly and uniquely dire. People live in very close range of the facility and it is nearly certain that they would become immediate casualties of any unforeseen disaster. Remember, NOT ONE person, out of hundreds of people who are involved with the LNG industry who attended a recent trade event, said that they would be willing to live next to one of their own facilities. That is a very telling thing.

Q: But isnít LNG harmless, doesnít it just evaporate and float away on the wind?

A: Characterization of LNG as "harmless" is dangerously inaccurate. Although not explosive, it burns at a very high heat and is by all measures exceedingly dangerous. Of particular concern are the unique properties of LNG and itís interaction with water. A large uncontrolled open water pool fire is considered to be the most dangerous of all potential LNG incidents. But a full-scale discussion of LNG dangers and risks is not appropriate for an FAQ limited by space and complex discussion. What to take from this discussion is that LNG IS IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM EVER TO BE CONSIDERED HARMLESS, and under certain conditions can be deadly lethal.

Q: You canít talk about safety without discussing terrorism. Would the facility be safe from terrorist attack?

A: In todayís world, terrorism is a real threat. The federal government recognizes the unique attraction of LNG to terrorists. It is nearly impossible to insure that any facility is completely safe from a terrorist attack. With enough motivation and planning, penetration is possible. Yet this can be said of all terrorist targets.

Q: But the probability of a terrorist attack on LNG is low, right?

A: Prediction of random events, by their nature, is impossible. Terrorism attacks are a random event. Also, one must be mindful of the future. Today, itís a terrorist attack. Tomorrow, it could be an act of war.

Q: But Harpswell is a small town, isnít it likely terrorists will attack a more populated area?

A: Terrorists go after the newsworthy; any casualties are incidental to their core purpose. In this sense, Harpswell will suit their need as fine as any other site. In some ways, Harpswell is MORE attractive.

Q: This concerns me. In what ways is Harpswell more attractive?

A: Terrorists look for the easiest, most exposed spots to attack. Such are called "Soft Targets" due to their vulnerability and lack of harder to penetrate defenses. Places like Boston, with its large population exposure, are secured tighter than a drum during LNG delivery activity and ongoing operations. The same level of security may not exist in Harpswell. That makes it a more attractive target to terrorists.

Q: Canít Harpswell just keep security tight?

A: Yes, but keeping tight security is a major inconvenience to the town citizenry, and it is uncertain if town residents would be able to consistently maintain the patience and focus required to stay ever vigilant. Vigilance also costs money. It is also uncertain whether the town will be willing to consistently budget and fund the amount needed to properly maintain a tightly woven security net. Itís expensive.

The money and the studies:

Q: But the town will receive eight million dollars in revenue from the lease, wonít that be enough money to afford proper protection?

A: Probably not. The town will have many, many other pressures demanding its attention and monetary resources. It is not certain that there will be enough dollars remaining, or even whether security will be considered a priority item, in the town budget.

Q: Why? Where is all the lease money going?

A: That is a very, very complex question, and it simply cannot be answered in proper detail in an FAQ. A predictive analysis outlining some of the future pressures the town will be dealing with was commissioned from The Yellow Woods Associates by Fairplay, a Harpswell citizenís group, to ascertain some of the socio-economic impacts that might arise from the placement of the facility in Harpswell.

Q: What did the socio-economic report say?

A: The full scope of the report is too comprehensive to address in an FAQ. For a summary analysis, please read the report at this link:

http://www.transitcommerce.com/Harpswell/doc/Summary_of_Impact_Report__1.doc

In a nutshell, at the very least, the report dispels the notion that the lease revenue comes without any other considerations or strings attached and will be a cost free financial windfall for the town.

Q: Do you mean the lease revenue ISNíT a huge financial windfall for Harpswell?

A: Not really. When all considerations are factored and accounted for, the lease revenue is NOT the windfall that Fairwindís proponents and salespeople have portrayed it to be. This is particularly exposed when factoring in the wish lists currently being drafted by hopeful town special interests. The revenue income would dissipate in a puff of green smoke if even a small portion of the special interests were entertained. As illustrated by all the available concrete evidence, the town will need to concentrate largely on its own infrastructure to manage and support the changes Fairwinds will bring. There isnít going to be a lot of money left about for other niceties. Fairwinds will make things different in Harpswell; not necessarily better, but definitely different. It will change the town dramatically Ömaking it better for someÖworse for others.

Q: If the lease revenue isnít a windfall, then why should town voters want to allow Fairwinds to build in Harpswell? Wonít such a thing change the character of Harpswell? Wonít it change it from a rural community to an industrial one?

A: This is the central question of the whole issue. Modification of the comprehensive plan to invite and allow industrial elements into the community is a new course for Harpswell and represents a fundamental change in the future vision of the townís developmental direction. Harpswell is choosing what its character will be when it grows up. Each voter must vote their conscience and their interpretation of their vision of Harpswellís future character. This is the core decision for the townís and their future. They are leaving a heritage of fishing and aquaculture and moving towards an industrial horizon.

Q: Isnít the money aspect disputed? I heard that Fairwinds commissioned its own studyÖ

A: A public relations firm provided a set of numbers to the Maine State Department of Planning and had the agency run its stock "Maine Regional Output Simulation Model" on those numbers. The model is rudimentary and is a simple computer formula. It can be skewed wildly dependent upon the accuracy of the original input data and constructive assumptions made. The Office of Planning takes no position on its relevancy other than to state, "We ran the numbers we were given." They even did not know it was for Fairwinds when they ran them. Some of the conclusions, when studied closely, appear counter-logical to the point of downright scratch-your-head silly.

Q: So it is not a study, and nothing in it relates to the socio-economic impact specific to Harpswell?

A: It is not remotely close to a study, does not fall into the same category as a study, and not in any way is specific to Harpswell with its numbers. It is a simple REGIONAL model. It does not address any impacts peculiar to Harpswell Township.

Q: I find it hard to believe that eight million dollars can flow into the community and the town wonít see a benefit. How can that be?

A: The revenue comes into the bucket through one source and leaves through a thousand new holes, which are created by the impact of the venture-- some smaller, some larger. There will be some benefit to a certain groups of individuals as town government (not the general populationóthat is a major distinction) will be the primary beneficiary of Fairwinds. Others groups will be fiercely hurt.

The impacted:

Q: What groups of townspeople does the presence of Fairwinds hurt?

A: In general, the worst impacted groups fall primarily into two main categories: 1) Near-facility property owners who will witness precipitous reductions in their property values and 2) Fishermen and harvesters who rely on the bounty of Middle Bay to derive a living. Fairwinds is expected to have an impact on the ecosystem and catch both during its construction and concurrent with ongoing operations.

Q: Is that all?

A: No, there are fishermen/harvesters from other towns and those who fish other Harpswell waters who will be impacted as those immediately adversely affected migrate to survive and run into conflicts with competitive existing territories. The slices of the already shrinking pie just get thinner. Also, Harpswell taxpayers will be immediately impacted if Fairwinds is allowed as taxation burdens shift away from the devalued properties towards the remainder of the town. Devalued property owners will pay less in taxes, other property owners in town will likely see increases in valuation (due to demand) and higher tax bills (due to both higher valuation and shifting of tax burden responsibility from devalued propertiesí lowered tax bills to them.)

Q: Doesnít the Yellow Woods Report also predict that taxes will eventually rise to higher than current levels after a short period of reduction?

A: Yes, it does.

Q: What about the permanent jobs Fairwindís provide?

A: There are 50 total positions available. Most will require a set of unique skills and Fairwinds will not guarantee that they will be awarded to Harpswell residents (who may legitimately not possess the skill sets necessary to perform the available jobs). "Jobs" is not a large benefit derived from Fairwinds.

Q: What about the construction jobs?

A: They are temporary and again, largely will be imported from outside the townÖas the construction firms who also require special trade skill sets will bring their existing crews. It is of little consequence (employment-wise) as most Harpswellians are already gainfully employed elsewhere.

Q: Doesnít the lease have a mitigation fund to address the losses to fishermen created by operations?

A: The mitigation fund is controversial and there are large gaps in its coverage. It is not a comprehensive program of complete coverage. It falls short in two very essential ways: 1) The amount of the fund will be insufficient to cover the amount of expected losses and 2) No coverage is provided for losses related to construction and ongoing operation of the gas pipeline.

Q: Canít fishermen just sue for damage related to the pipeline to recover their losses?

A: Yes, they can. The problem arises when the time element is factored in.

Q: What is the time element?

A: Lawsuits take time. Damages, both immediate and ongoing, must be accurately studied and calculated. It is an extremely complex process that takes a long time to complete.

Q: Why is that a problem; the fishermen will get some settlement if theyíve been injured?

A: Living during the wait is the problem. Household bills still need to get paid during the process. It could drag on for years, and the certainty of the outcome is not accurately predictable to any degree. For all intent and purpose, the impacted businesses, the fishing families, will be forced out of operations.

Q: I donít believe that Fairwinds will impact the fishermanís business; is this correct?

A: No, you are a "moron in denial" who is ignorant of reality. It is decidedly proven beyond the shadow of any doubt that EVERYWHERE SIMILAR OPERATIONS HAVE OCCURRED, IMPACT HAS OCCURRED. The question is never one of impact, but one of how deep the impacts are and how long the effects last, and what to what extent ongoing operations will continue to have dramatic impact.

Q: What about the abutters? Is there any compensation program for them?

A: No. They approached Fairwinds in an attempt to seek redress, but were rebutted and rejected out of hand.

Q: Why do the abutters feel that their properties are in jeopardy? The fuel farm existed there prior to Fairwinds. Isnít it sort of the same thing?

A: Not even in the wildest attempt at any comparison. The fuel farm was active very infrequently. Fairwinds is a round-the-clock 24/7 full time ongoing operation. There is no comparison, however remote.

Q: But why are they saying their property values will drop? Didnít property values increase exponentially over time while the fuel depot was there?

A: Yes, they did. But the presence of the fuel depot is not a salient factor in the underlying cause of the wholesale property increases. There was universal increase in property values due to an increase in societal demand for shorefront property. The more pertinent question is: Did properties close to the fuel depot increase proportionally relevant to properties NOT located near the fuel depot?

Q: Well, did they?

A: No. Properties away from the fuel depot increased proportionally more than close located properties-- which remained price-deflated by comparison. The fuel depot is a pricing detriment. Fairwinds will exponentially exacerbate the devaluation effect.

Q: Why is this a problem? They donít have to sell. The losses wonít be realized until they do.

A: Many donít want to sell. Some will be forced to sell as their lives and situations change. Financing and refinancing become a huge problem. The potential for reverse mortgages, an option for the financially struggling elderly to tap into their largest single asset, becomes impossible. Oneís home is the average Americanís single biggest investment. That investment becomes decimated by Fairwinds.

Q: But wonít the elderly and the poor be helped by the cash flow into the town?

A: Generally, no. Just the opposite is anticipated. Prices of goods and services will rise as demand for them increases. Prices of rents, real estate, energy, foodÖall costs of living will outpace the limited resources of groups on fixed incomes. In that sense, Fairwinds will hurt this group on a day-to-day basis. Taxes may rise also. The town may become too expensive for them to afford. If the town has any money left after expenses that are mandated or required, then affordable housing and social programs may improve the lot of the poor and fixed income families. Yet, it would also be reasonable to assume that their priority would fall low on the list of the townís desired expenditures. Being already disenfranchised and not politically powerful, there are many stronger advocates that may siphon off the available funds before they trickle down to the townís economically challenged.

Q: Will Fairwinds hurt tourism?

A: Probably, to some degree. The extent of the impact of Fairwinds on tourism is very hard to calculate. It is especially unknown as there is so much uncertainty left surrounding the extent of intrusion and disruption that will be caused by Fairwinds. If the project proves to ultimately be very intrusive and disruptive, the damage to tourism will be great. If not, then damage will be lessened. But by most reasonable assessments, there will be some depressive impact on the tourism industry directly correlated to Fairwindís presence and ongoing activities.

The vote:

Q: What are some of the core issues I should be considering when I go to vote?

A: This is best answered by a list:

First and foremost: What is my future vision of Harpswell? Is it a more industrial, developed and populated town? Or is it one whose central appeal remains bucolic and primarily pastoral? Do I want to allow heavy industry in the town, or should the townís primary economic roots and future direction remain with its traditional maritime heritage? A proven industry, the townís largest collective employer, is being asked to step aside for a new, yet unproven industrial element to the town. The financial hit suffered by the fishing industry will be significant, widespread and multi-level. It will ripple throughout the whole town and the region, affecting ALL involved in the industry (regardless of someoneís own individual mis-beliefsóthis is what will transpire) and will subsequently have a suppressing effect on all related businesses and economies in both Harpswell and the surrounding industry-dependent region. It is setting the course for a new industrial direction for the town at the expense of its historic culture and heritage. It is absolutely fine if this is your choice, but please know that this is at the core of the choice that you are making. The decision is all about your future vision of Harpswell. It is: "What do you want your town to be when it grows up?"

Make this decision without regard for money. For it is hotly debated whether there will ever be any money available from Fairwinds. The opposite may be true. It may cost the town money. Consider what your vote would be outside of the disputed financial issues. In all likelihood, there wonít be any personal monetary benefit derived from Fairwinds.

How concerned am I about the safety of LNG and its terrorist potential? Will I be uncomfortable having the facility sited in town? Will I be worried more about living in town when federal terrorist alerts rise to yellow, orange, or red? These are valid concerns. Do not dismiss them lightly. LNG is potentially lethally dangerous. You also must be willing to occasionally accommodate tight security measures and inconveniences that are caused by the presence of LNG in the community.

Are you comfortable with the pain this will bring to others? For it will bring hardship upon some of your fellow neighbors. You must be willing to sacrifice others for the new direction if you vote for Fairwinds. Related to this is whether or not you feel there are better solutions not yet explored. There are solutions to the townís problems (and the fuel depot) that do not require anyone having to sacrifice their livelihoods or their investments in their properties. Do you feel there are viable alternatives to Fairwinds where both the town can win, and in doing so, prevent any injury from being inflicted upon any segment of it citizenry?

Do you find the industrial look of things to be attractive? This may be a contributing element to your decision.

The aftermath:

Q: Will Harpswell ever recover from this Fairwinds episode?

A: Recovery starts immediately with a ĎNOí decision. If the town goes in the affirmative, only time will tell.

The closing qualifier:

Q: Can everything be covered fully in an FAQ?

A: No, Virginia, it canít.

I hope this helps everyone in providing some food for thought when mulling over this important decision facing you and the town. Everything in it is my opinion, but my opinion is grounded and based on the facts as I know them to be true.

And I know far more about all of this that I ever desired. Waaaayyy more. Iíve nearly become a bloody expert. This is something I never wanted to be.

The recommendation:

My recommendation is: Vote "No"

Harpswell is not appropriate for this venture. It is not made better by Fairwinds. It is only changed by it. I, personally, do not like said changes. That is my opinion.

Iím done. Iíve said everything here I could think of to provide you with the balance of things as I weighed my decision.

Best-

Kev.

Kevin White

Beautiful Harpswell Maine.