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Comments - 2
Page 2: 9/21/03 - 11/10/2003

I will post any comments about the Fairwinds Proposals here. Please keep your comments clean, brief, to the point, clear and unnasty. Otherwise, they may not appear here. If the spellchecker finds a mistake that makes sense, I will correct it.  Also, please include your name and part of town. Let me know if you would prefer I not include your name and or community with your comment.
The most recent comments come first.
  • 11/12

  • "Restrictions" would be imposed by the government! Why would our "friends" at Foulwinds compensate anyone for negative impact on the people of Harpswell? They are providing jobs and the hope for the future of sadly deprived people.

    The entire concept of "compensation" is pure garbage. If ANYONE thinks that the corporate interests will bow to the claims of local malcontents while sacrificing profits, he or she is living in LA LA Land.

  • 11/9

  • As "so called" Indian casinos were touted as the panacea for all social ills, and the MONEY would solve the problems of the disenfranchised, "Fairwind's" Legal staff wishes to offer a "one size fits all" solution to Harpswell's fiscal woes. $100,000 is crap, The Skolfield farm, and the Mackerel cove headland preservation cost 7 times that!

    Why is the paltry money bribe worth consideration of those who stand the most to loose, the working men & women of this beautiful place?

    If the citizens of Harpswell hope that the "Fairwinds" debacle will lower the tax burden or provide for those less fortunate, let them reflect on "Life as it shouldn't be" in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Detroit, etc.

  • 11/9

  • Attached is a letter to the selectman of Harpswell. It is too long for your comment page but you may edit if you wish. You can read the letter here.  It addresses 4 major issues to be considered in voting on the proposed Fairwinds project: safety , impact on the lobstering industry, economic advantage to Harpswell and quality of life. 

    I am a Maine resident who is a  part time, tax paying resident of Harpswell Neck (over 40 years) .  Like many in my position , I did plan to become a year round resident soon. I do believe that Harpswell would be well served by some development .. and the former fuel depot property would be ideal considering it's location. However, I don't think that the  proposed LNG storage and regasification facility is suitable for Harpswell. 

     I do not think I am alone in thinking that the many property owners in Harpswell who are not currently local voters are the latest example of those injured by taxation without representation. Perhaps there are a few former " summer " residents who are now year round residents who can imagine their position if this happened next door to their liflelong dream . Hopefully they can sympathize with those of us whose homes abut this property and use their well earned vote to support us !

  • 11/9

  • Comment 2: WHO IS "VENTURE" ? WHAT IS VENTURE? Why does this obfuscation determine that NO future negotiations will take place? HOW are the LNG lawyers able to determine the bargaining process? Why are Harpswell and its citizens being manipulated by "casino faviortist style offers" of happy days are here again, in the land of milk and honey?......THINK ABOUT IT!

    Comment 1: $ 100,000 ("following a 'favorable' vote' ") is petty cash to multi-billion, multi-national corporations. Why would Harpswellians (gentrified) shore owning displacers of humble fisherman and women want to put the dagger into the heart of a lifestyle and livelihood, decades old? .......BUT they can't VOTE.  Why not? Don't they pay taxes?
    This is a reference to the Harpswell Bulletin that just came out.

  • 11/7

  • Has everyone seen the Boston Herald today? Every person in Harpswell needs to read the following articles.

    The first was a front page story on November 8th. The front page featured a picture of an LNG tanker, with the words "LNG Attack could torch parts of Hub" and "Danger Zone". It talks about Dr. Fay, and how a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sides with Dr. Fay when it comes to the amount of damage that would be caused by a major LNG incident:

    http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/lng11072003.htm

    The second article discusses how Fall River , Massachusetts officials are looking to the NOAA report to once and for all get rid of an LNG facility planned for their community:

    http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/local_regional/lngs11072003.htm

    Both articles touch upon the fact that the NOAA study agrees with the work of Dr. James Fay of MIT.

    Dr. Fay will be in town Saturday, November 8, and will be presenting his specific report on the safety of the proposed Fairwinds project at 10:30 at the Cundy's Harbor Community Center. We will have copies of his report available at the meeting, and after. Anyone who would like one, either hard copy or pdf, call me at 807 2084.

  • 11/7

  • This is a section taken from the book Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security by Amory and Hunter Lovins: Part 2 Chapter 8, Disasters Waiting to Happen, Liquefied Natural Gas.  You can read the article here.

    • 11/6

    Vandalism, libel and civil disobedience are unacceptable

    We are a town divided.  That sentiment has already been published.  Opinions have been formed, some loudly and plastered on automobiles and on the roadside, others in the privacy of our homes and shared with trusted confidents.  We, as residents and custodians of our families, our future and our dreams, are trying desperately to make a decision that is right, that is just and is good for us as individuals and us as a township.
    What isn’t right, what isn’t just and what isn’t good is attacks against individuals, acts of destruction and vandalism, and deep-rooted sentiments that pit neighbor against neighbor for weeks, months and years to come.
    Unfortunately, the divisive nature of the proposal has reared its ugly head.
    FairPlay for Harpswell is, to an individual and as a group, adamantly opposed to anyone who seeks anything other than a lawful and peaceful involvement in the discussion, research and demonstration of the initiative before us.  We encourage all Harpswellians to exercise the rights given to us by our fore bearers and to attempt to understand the many and deep implications the Fairwinds proposal means to us today and tomorrow.  Vote, protest, write letters and share ideas, but don’t hurt anyone, don’t destroy anyone’s property and don’t make unfounded accusations.

    • 11/4

    To all who want to defeat the "Fairwinds" project, please attend the FairPlay for Harpswell Rally this Saturday, November 8th at 10:30 at the Cundy's Harbor Community Center. If you think this project is a bad idea for Harpswell, come find out how you can make sure that it is defeated.

    For more information, call FairPlay for Harpswell at 807 2084.

    • 11/4

    Hi, everyone.  I enjoy reading all of the comments on this website.  Thanks, Burr, for the opportunity to voice our opinions.  I  support the Fairwinds project wholeheartedly, and will vote Yes!  I encourage all Harpswell residents to do the same. There is Town wide support, which I estimate to be at least 80%, for this beneficial project.

    FYI:  The citizen group, Friends of Fairwinds (a Harpswell, Vote Yes! group), will meet on Thursday, November 13th at the Cundy's Harbor Community Hall (over the fire department) at 7pm and on Monday, November 17th at the Grange (Rt. 123) at 7pm.  All are welcome.  Come show your support for the LNG project!  For more information. please call Denis Gagnon (#725-2865) or Deb Levensailor (#729-2880).   Thank You, Deb Levensailor, Great Island

    • 11/1

    Kevin White has sent a second letter detailing how Fairwinds will hurt Harpswell and raise taxes. Click here to read it.

    • 11/1

    I find the attempt to compare FairPlays' taking a lawful action to obtain information to the writing of a now famous hateful letter to be misguided and unfortunate. Disagree with the action if you wish -- but please don't try and paint this group with that brush. And, from what I understand, we are not the only group in town that has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the town.

    • 10/31

    I would like to correct a misperception about FairPlay's legal action regarding our Freedom of Information Act request. Some have claimed that we are asking the town to pay our legal fees associated with this action. This action is not asking the Town to pay the fees of our attorney. The suit asks that the Town be liable for "costs". In legal terms "Costs" are incidental items such as filing fees. etc. "Costs" as defined by the relevant statute, are never lawyers fees. It is estimated that the costs potentially incurred by the Town would be in the neighborhood of $200-$400. It should also be pointed out that Town would only be liable for these costs if FairPlay prevails in the legal action -- and, if that occurs, we will be instructing our attorney not to seek these costs. We do not want the Town to have to pay these costs.

    • 10/31

    I confirmed with the town planner today that the water tower at the depot is 104' high.  Not the 130 plus feet that Selectman Knight stated at the public hearing.   According to the calculations from "Kev" on the Anchor website forum the Fairwinds LNG storage tanks should stick up about 70' over Route 123.  Anyone else care to give a calculation?

    • 10/30 (posted 10/31)

    Fairplay's legal suit shares the same mentality as Val Locke's most unfortunate letter to the Harpswell Anchor.  It will probably net the same counter productive results.
    Chris Duval responds to this on 11/1 above

    • 10/30 (posted 10/31)

    So, our fair citizens called "FairPlay" are now suing the town and in effect, all of its citizens (taxpayers).  Such a law suit, when so many voters are opposed the the Town's high legal cause, is information that perhaps will help many to decide on a vote in favor of Fairwinds and not against.   Didn't you folks who filed suit vote for the defendants in this case?  If any of you would like to form a group called "Friends for Fairwinds", I encourage you to contact me.

    • 10/29

    Last weekend’s Times Record had an editorial regarding property taxes in Maine (as it relates to the Casino issue). The LNG proposal is essentially a revenue issue too.

    1) Taxes go down very little, and only temporarily. Municipal spending caused by developmental pressures always fills the void.

    2) Inviting industry to the town is a never-ending tail chase. Industry brings sprawl. Sprawl increases the need for municipal spending…And on, and on….

    3) LNG will sprawl and its associated social ills to Harpswell. It will destroy the town’s rural nature and start to endless sprawl cycle.

    The above is actually what this issue is all about. I’ve always been afraid that the false promise of big money clouds the main issue: Harpswell’s small town, rural character and beautiful vistas.  Where there is blight, industry came first. The town is usually worse off after the relationship.

    • 10/28

    I put up a new poll on the website to see how the vote looks so far. http://www.harpswellanchor.com/poll/

    • 10/28

    My position, as documented, on the LNG complex has been one of the dramatic consequences of introducing this type of industry/operation to an area, and the permanent socio-economic repercussions that result. I have maintained that any financial benefit will be cursory and temporary.

    • 10/28

    I would like to respond to Bob Ring' letter 10/26 he placed a quote of mine in his letter. he only quoted a piece of the paragraph here is the whole statement.  To read it please click here

    • 10/26

    I would like to point out to those who like to use my comments as a spring board to their statement that they were used in defense. I only brought it up when questioned of the validly of my intentions. I did not and do not make the statement that if their forebears are from somewhere else that their opinions are not as important.  There are and is a large diverse population of the town today. That is not grounded strictly in the foundation of its heritage. This decision will be made by people of diverse backgrounds. Not the men and women who carved out an existence here in the 1800’s.I know countless individuals that share the same memories as Claire Copeland. Not exact but similar enough. I don’t recall anyone saying Fairwinds was going to stop the sun from setting over middle bay.  Harpswell will retain it’s beauty. And like the early 1900’s a Steamer will again dock on a schedule on the western shore.  It was a time when people were anxious for the arrival because the steamer brought the goods the town ran on.  Well the new steamer is going to bring supplies the town desperately needs as well. Those supplies are cold Cash. The amount has not been decided upon but it’s being worked out. This project will not steal ones memory of the town. This will not prevent ones grandchildren from coming to visit.  This project will give the town some breathing room. When I say the town I don’t mean the Mountain road. I mean those on Stover’s cove Rd., Ash Point, Cundy’s harbor, Mackerel cove, all the people.  Not just those who are carving out a days pay today but those who have finished and are enjoying their retirements on a fixed income. New families that are working from pay check to pay check. Harpswell has the largest disparity between the have and the have not.  I’ve sat back and listened to my self read the comments of pollution, and lost character of the town.  If that is the arguments you have I don’t see it. In fact I’m sure most don’t.  This is not some movie from Hollywood.  This is a facility located on the site of a once fuel farm on Harpswell neck. 14 tanks littered that site. All contained something that could damage the environment if spilled.  The new proposed facility will have 2 tanks. Not even as large as the ones that used to dot the old station. And if by chance, as remote as it is, something happens. It will not be a worse case scenario. It will be ,f anything, an expansion joint. Or a loading hose.  A leak to get bad enough to expand outside the confines of the fenced in area would need to be either very large, or have been leaking for a very long time. Terrorists would need to get on premises to conduct that kind of damage. The damage to the tanker that is mentioned in the next excerpt is not realistic.

    “Well in Yemen, October 6th 2002, a French double hulled oil tanker was rammed and pierced by a terrorist act, spilling approximately 90,000 barrels of oil and caused a massive fire. While it was an oil tanker it was the same double hull design of a LNG tanker.” Quoted from Fairplay's website.\ Cheryl Golek

    This statement is absolutely true except the highlighted section. The design of double hulled oil tankers and double hulled LNG tankers is extremely different. Departing from one another with the notion of void separations between cargo and sea. The construction of the tanks and the insulation needed to keep the LNG in the “L” state is extensive, And much greater in rigidly than the French oil tanker was. The cargo tanks, that is Internal tanks, Are comprised of a Stainless steel composite that is much stronger than coated steel used in most “product tankers”  If this were to happen to an LNG tanker there would have been a holed section external to the hull. But the inner hull would not most likely have been pierced. 

    I know the Terrorist possibility scares many of you but consider that there has not been an act of piracy or terrorism on ships off the coast of the USA since the war of 1812. If we look at this project and deny it because of the possibility of terrorism then we have become a victim of that terrorism.  The above quote is more likely to happen off of Yemen. Not off the coast of the Harpswell.

    I’ve had an opportunity to speak with many people about this . I found the most interesting to date was Jim Merriman.  He is of the mind that any danger or risk in this facility is a danger or risk that is to great. To be perfectly honest that sentiment is not Jim’s alone. It’s shared by a great many. It’s shared by my self. Yes, I know you all doing a double take now. I am concerned about the Safety of this project. Not enough answers have been given on the possible damage and area effected. No diagrams have been printed. Or displayed. No listing of safety features have been posted. NO listing of Redundant systems mentioned. No mention of plans for evacuation if danger is imminent. Or even how that word will get passed. No mention of what specific fire suppression systems to be used. How many of the 50 employees are going to be firemen on staff.  I could go on. But the Safety is a concern of mine.

    • 10/25

    What the NoTanks folks were fighting (and the folks in Fall River), are the tanks (or tank) and the 25+ trucks per week that were going to deliver the LNG to points elsewhere.  Does our MOO have any provision on what will happen if the pipeline is NOT going to be approved/completed on schedule?  There are thousands of regulatory hurdles in a pipeline.  And the pressure will be on to make money IMMEDIATELY.  Will there be the possibility of trucks running up and down 123? I don't know the state law governing such commerce, but I don't believe that the state will bar such traffic.  Does anyone know the answer?  It seems to me, a layperson without knowledge of such matters, that the potential exists for truck traffic in lieu of a pipeline.  I don't see that our MOO prohibits truck traffic, there is language concerning 'delivery of gas to the interstate pipeline system'.     Will that mean 'no trucks'?   If truck traffic is a potential part of the program? If so, then more than just abutters should be concerned...Any thoughts?

    • 10/25

    I just said good bye to my daughter, who has been visiting from Texas. She longs to be back in New England, or at least the Northeast, permanently someday, because it is home to her. She just gave us the news that she will be bringing our first grandchild into this world in April. I am hoping that the FOURTH generation of my family will be able to experience life in Harpswell, as we have known it for so many years.

    How many generations of your family must reside in Harpswell before you are no longer regarded as being "from away"? I have resided in Harpswell for over 46 years, which is just about my whole life. I was not born there, but I have deep roots in Harpswell, too! Does having deep roots in Harpswell mean that your parents, grandparents and great grandparents must be buried there or do you just need to have countless childhood memories, of a special place, in order to call it home?

    I learned to swim at Estes Beach and the boat landing in South Harpswell. I went out with my neighbor to pull traps for the first time, in Harpswell. I ate my first lobster in Harpswell. I dug clams, gathered seaweed and hauled seawater to cook them, for the first time, in Harpswell. I hunted for, cooked and shelled crabs, for the first time, in Harpswell. I dove for sand dollars, for the first time, in Harpswell. I went blueberrying, for the first time, in Harpswell. I saw the Perseid Meteor Shower, for the first time, over Middle Bay, in Harpswell. I learned to row a dinghy, in Harpswell. I walked a thousand miles to and from Bailey's Store, in Harpswell. I experienced my first July Fourth bonfire, on the beach, in Harpswell. I have experienced all four seasons, in Harpswell. I have resided in Harpswell longer than any other place I have ever lived.

    There is a certain rock where I sat, with my mother, to watch the sunset over Middle Bay, almost every evening that there was one. That rock represents, to my family, and me, my mother's spirit and deep love of Harpswell. It would break her heart, if she was still here with us, to think that her great grandchild would be unable to experience all the beauty and pleasures that she enjoyed, in Harpswell, for so many years.

    Our rock and our roots are in Harpswell.

    • 10/23

    Regarding a comment made on 9/27 about the height of the water tower at the depot,  it is 104' high.  You can confirm this by looking at the blueprint in the codes office.

    I also have a selfish request....Since an LNG regassification plant is euphemistically being called Fairwinds   or even "The Venture",  could we perhaps start referring to the fuel depot as "The Town Walking Park"  ?

    • 10/19

    Today's Maine Sunday Telegram has a thought-provoking article about the Fairwinds proposal. It quotes reactions from some of Harpswell's residents to that proposal (primarily from abutters; unfortunately no interviews with fishermen or lobstermen who would be affected) and discusses a number of aspects of the Fairwinds project. To view the article, go to: www.pressherald.com/news/coast/031019harpswell.shtml
    Then send it along to anyone else who might be interested or concerned.

    • 10/16

    I watched Peter Micciche's comments to the group at the Kellogg church. He is still using the artists renderings of the facility which many feel are misrepresentative. The energy companies should stop using these immediately. I will have several dozen copies of real photographs of the Everett LNG facility at the meeting tonight, and at every other meeting relating to this project. Those who would like to see what one of these facilities really looks like should see me.

    More disturbing is that at the church lunch, Mr. Micciche referred to the possibility of moving the date of the election. In response to a question from Walter Norton, he said that it would most likely not be moved back three months (to the town meeting), but it might be moved by some lesser amount.

    Who is running the election, the town or the multi national energy companies seeking to build their project? Once again, the energy companies seem to know more about what is going on than the people of the town. Are they in consultation with the town about moving the date of the election? If so, this needs to stop. It is completely inappropriate for Mr. Micciche to be commenting about the possible change in date of a town election. But, unfortunately it seems to be in keeping with the way this entire process has been administered.
     

    • 10/16

    To Laurel and others….this isn’t about energy consumption. The fuel fairy will still bring energy…because you pay her to. It is, though, all about the face, the look, and the character of Harpswell in the future. If you think things are already getting expensive and crowded, wait until industry and supposed “prosperity” arrive in town. For a very small, choice few, things will get better. For a much, much larger segment, things will get much worse. Some, like the fisherman, face potentially devastating consequences (and it isn’t just the Middle Bay folks who are affected… for I wonder where the Middle Bay fishing fleet will start to fish if their fishing grounds foul?). For all, things will be very different if this is allowed. The town will be forever changed.

    Please don’t get confused by the “money” issue. That’s a smoke and mirrors game put together by folks that want to sway your opinion by dangling a cash carrot. There is still money to be made in the world without Conoco-Phillips in the town. If you didn’t have a lot before their arrival, you still won’t afterward. Their “job” effect is temporary and passing…not ongoing. The tax effect…well, read my attached letter. What is permanent is what their footprint will cause to this town. It is all about the road to…(name a town you know blighted by industry and shopping malls)…this is the first step. It is all about whether you want a potential bomb (figuratively and literally) in your back yard.

    Folks might wonder where things went astray…because it’s hard sometimes to see it when you’re in it? This is it. It’s ShowTime! The critical junction! I simply pray that Harpswell’s citizens heed the wake up call. Harpswell is being sold a bill of goods. There is no magic bullet that will miraculously make everything better. This is NOT the right path. There are better, less invasive, less dangerous, routes.

    To quote “They paved Paradise” by Joni Mitchell, “They don’t know what they got, ‘til it’s gone…”

    Please read my attached editorial letter... Click here to see it

    • 10/15

    Regarding Bob Ring's comments on 10-14-03, specifically our day to day direct & indirect consumption of energy products:  At long last someone has finally pointed out that LNG already plays a large part in our lives and it doesn't miraculously appear as a gift from the Fuel Fairy.

    • 10/14

      Comment from Bob Ring replying to several concerns below.  Click here to read it.
      Note: Since it is several pages, I added it to the other page. [bwt]
       

    • 10/14

    For another perspective, take a look at Wiscasset. Just a little look at what the Maine Yankee experience did for that town can make your think about what LNG would do for Harpswell. Wiscasset had 800 acres of coast that produced a nice tax payment for 25 years once Maine Yankee came to town. Now, the tax payments are a fraction of what they were....and the residents of Wiscasset are really suffering with their increased tax burden. All of the infrastructure that was built when the money was coming in from Maine Yankee. The businesses and residents are supporting that burden. Harpswell should remember that nothing is forever..and the LNG depot will be linked to the price of natural gas and the demand. Everything is looking like roses for that market now....but what will tomorrow bring? Harpswell will keep the burden of the site, with irreparable damage done to the land, the ocean and lots of families that will be directly impacted by this project.

    • 10/14

    From Chris Duval's Statement on 10/13

    Institute for Energy, Law and Enterprise of University of Houston Energy Law Center. In their own words "The mission of the Institute for Energy, Law & Enterprise is to help prepare energy industry managers and their legal advisors, and government policy makers and regulators, for more competitive global energy markets."

    Wouldn't it fit in this circumstance?  After all,  FairwindsLNG wants to be competitive. They want to get the facts out. Why would one think that all information out there with an Oil company name on it, or an institute that specializes in this type of data be written off simply because what they do is provide this data to Oil companies/Government/ And Lawyers?

    Who knows the most about Lobsters & the ecosystem. Well, Lobstermen and Marine Biologists. What do Lobstermen know about the properties of LNG? Only what can be proven from data. In turn what does Big Oil know about Lobstering? A lot more about it than the former. I'm sure they have Biologists and Professionals to provide accurate data for them. I'm sure they did not arrive here with no Data on the fishery at all. In fact I'd speculate the reason they are going to this effort to get the local input on the project is directly related to vital nature of the fishery here in Harpswell.

    • 10/13

    I feel the town of Harpswell is being done a great disservice by being  forced to vote on this matter before all the valid points are aired and considered. I am confident that once we have a chance to examine ALL the facts, the town will realize what a bad idea and how hideously out of character this proposed project is for our beautiful stretch of the Maine coast. Harpswell should not rush, nor allow itself to be rushed, into making such a major decision with undeniably far reaching, permanent and detrimental effects.

    10/13

    There is so much wrong with Bob Ring's comments that I don't know where to begin. The best part for me are the web sites he lists as providing objective evidence of LNG safety. One is from the Cove Point, MD facility. Another from Marathon Oil. Another from Wickham Point LNG. And we have one from Shell Oil.

    Then we have another that Bob implied was particularly objective, from the Institute for Energy, Law and Enterprise of University of Houston Energy Law Center. In their own words "The mission of the Institute for Energy, Law & Enterprise is to help prepare energy industry managers and their legal advisors, and government policy makers and regulators, for more competitive global energy markets."

    Mr. Ring is certainly entitled to express him opinion. He is obviously an enthusiastic advocate of Conoco Phillips and TransCanada and their planned project for Harpswell.

    • 10/12

    Comment from Bob Ring replying to FairPlay's Concerns, Click here to read it.
    Note: Since it is 3 pages, I gave it it's own page. [bwt]

    • 1012

    i have to wonder what the proposed lng facility would have on the great blue heron rookery over on upper goose island. especially the light pollution and i guess the soot would be detrimental to the birds also. but we will only know after the fact. that's the trouble when no environmental studies get done, such a massive project and no data to guide us. a rational decision cannot be made with out facts and figures. a pro vote on this issue in such a short time frame with no impact studies condemns the future to ignorant bliss. oh but the money we shall have to put things right..

    • 10/10

    I have removed a comment that was here. The note was from Mike Quesnel of Fairwinds, but I had been asked by Mike on 10/7 not to post it. However, since I did not receive the message until today and it was dated 10/9, I thought it was a new comment, and went ahead and posted it. Peter Micciche asked me to remove it today as per Mike's request on 10/7 which I had agreed to.

    • 10/10

    I attended the lobstermen's meeting at Brunswick HS last night. You know that I am against the project, but I will try to be as objective as I can. Peter Micciche presented the basics of the project to the group, and urged the lobstermen to negotiate with the company, and indicated that many of the concerns they have could very likely be resolved. Peter did a good job of stressing that Fairwinds wants to work with the lobstermen, and urging them to appoint a committee to work with him.

    Of course, the disruptions and difficulties caused to the lobstermen by this project, if it goes forward, will be very real -- and none of the group last night seemed very happy about that. Someone made the point that over 70 families derive their income from the waters that will be directly affected by this project. I couldn't help noting that we are going to harm over 70 families -- to create about 50 jobs.

    David Etnier urged the lobstermen to oppose the project if that's the the way they feel -- to vote no against the project if that is what they want to do. But he also said that they should negotiate with Fairwinds to get the best deal possible in the event the project does come to fruition. In response to a question, he also recommended that the lobstermen get their own attorney to help them with their negotiations with Fairwinds and the town of Harpswell.

    Our group, FairPlay for Harpswell was also at the meeting. It was a good opportunity to tell the lobstermen what our group is doing, and to urge them to join us in opposing the process, and the project. We feel that these people are going to pay the highest price if this project happens. Fishing families count too -- and we need to remember that

    • 10/9

    I would invite any undecided Harpswell resident to take the time this Fall to walk  a little way down Birchmere lane . You will be treated to one of the most beautiful views afforded any where in Coastal Maine. A snow capped Mount Washington and the Presidential Range are an awesome sight, particularly as the sun sets behind them in the West. Ask any Lobsterman about Whaleboat, Little whaleboat, Upper and Lower Goose Islands, or the Goslings. Middle Bay is impressive place year round.

    Great place for a massive Industrial Project ! Let's clog the bay with floating barges to house all those "local" pipeline crews, Dredging and construction noise will be deafening from Mere Point to Eagle Island....For THREE YEARS.

    Let's tack on TWENTY SEVEN MORE YEARS of Supertankers "every 4 - 9 DAYS,,,  with it's posse of escort ships and Exclusion zones YEAR ROUND FUN!

    • 10/8

    Recently, out of concern about the ³Fairwinds² project--Conoco/Phillips¹ offer to the Town of Harpswell to set up and run a Liquefied Natural Gas

    (LNG) terminal at the old naval fuel depot--I've been doing some research on LNG.  My initial reaction is not favorable, and my research has only brought up more questions.

    LNG is very dangerous stuff.  When warmed above it ³boiling point² (somewhere around ­260º) it expands 600 times from its liquid state--so one gallon of LNG makes 600 gallons of natural gas.  If an LNG facility springs a leak the ensuing disaster can be unthinkable. One of the first big LNG disasters occurred in 1944 in Cleveland, and another in the 1970's in Staten Island.  These were huge explosions, destroying whole city blocks. The proposed storage facility on Harpswell will be 120 feet tall, and 240 feet in diameter.  If my math is correct it could hold up to 5.4 million cubic feet, or about 40 million gallons of LNG.  If the tank leaked, we could conceivably have as much as 24 BILLION gallons of natural gas covering all of Harpswell.  In a worst-case scenario that much natural gas, when ignited, could incinerate everything within a 144 square mile area.  Three Mile Island would pale by comparison.

    Further, there are many hazardous chemicals that are used in transport, transfer, and storage, and in the infrastructure maintenance for LNG facilities.  These can include PCB's, mercury, and other deadly chemicals that could harm or destroy the local lobster fishery.  Diane Cowan of The Lobster Conservancy is concerned that the physical presence of the pipeline itself could disrupt lobster nurseries and migration routes--most of which at this point are still unknown.  According to a paper by marine ecologist Stanislav Patin, an underwater pipeline leak would be fatal to any fish (and presumably to any lobsters) that came in contact with it.

    These are serious and so-far unanswered questions.  But I am also deeply concerned about many other unknowns with the ³Fairwinds² project. What will be the impacts of extending the jetty to 800'?  What are the added safety risks of having huge LNG container ships entering Harpswell waters and unloading their potentially explosive cargo?  Will Conoco/Phillips and its Canadian partner provide ample disaster insurance to cover the impacts to property, lives, and the local economy in the event of a disaster or other unintended consequences (like loss of the lobster fishery)?  What has been the experience of the communities where the other four or five LNG terminals are located around the United States?

    Then there is the consideration of jobs.  According to newspaper reports, Conoco/Phillips says there will be up to 900 short term jobs during construction and 50 long-term ones.  Who will get these jobs?  Will the employment opportunities bring a new flood of immigration into Harpswell, driving rents, property values, and taxes unrealistically high?  What will these 900 workers do when they are laid off after a couple of years?  And who will get the long-term jobs?  Locals?  And what will be the impact to traffic on Harpswell¹s roads of 900 workers and all the equipment and supplies that will be utilized in construction?

    I realize that the $8 million a year income from the leasing of just 70 acres of town land is a very attractive prospect, but are the risks worth it?  Did the Selectmen have a professional energy negotiator working on their side of the discussions, or did they just pass along to the citizens what Conoco/Phillips put on the table?  Have all the possible pitfalls and loose ends been covered?  Does the public have any assurance of how the $8 million would be used by the Selectboard?  According to my reading of the ³Memorandum of Offer² from Conoco/Phillips, the town would be solely responsible for mitigating any claims arising from local lobstermen and shell fishermen should the fishery be negatively impacted.  Can the town reasonably take on this liability?

    These are a lot of very big questions, and I don't profess to know the answers to them.  Maybe some of them have already been addressed.  But what I can say with some certainty is that a LOT of research and due diligence still needs to be done before this issue is taken before the citizens for a simple up or down vote.  This is a project that will PERMANENTLY alter the face, the ecology, the economy, and the lifestyle of Harpswell, even if there is never an accident.  My hope is that Harpswell citizens will insist that the vote be delayed.  Scientific research and due diligence need to be completed, and a comprehensive program of educating the voters about all the risks and benefits should be undertaken BEFORE citizens are asked to vote. Once the lease is given the town will lose virtually all control.

    One final concern: my own informal research indicates that federal regulators have greatly slacked off in their oversight of the US pipeline and energy infrastructure during the past 20 years.  As a result (and as a result of decaying infrastructure) there are increasing numbers of pipeline "incidents" and accidents (accidents are increasing at a rate of 4% per year).  The US Department of Transportation website shows that between 1986 and 2000 there were nearly 7,000 incidents and accidents involving pipelines and distribution facilities for a variety of hazardous materials.  These have resulted in about 400 fatalities, 1800 injuries, and about $1.5 Billion in property damage--all within 15 years. Some of the worst accidents of the past 60 years have involved LNG.  Do we really want to import this kind of extreme hazard to Harpswell?

    Please, let¹s delay the vote and do our homework!

    • 10/8

    A focus group is a common technique for finding out about public attitudes and to refine marketing strategies. Scientific Marketing Inc. is based in Toronto. We will find out what they learned from the Tuesday evening event in the next round of Fairwinds infomercials. The $75 is called bait. Ask any fisherman; herring doesn't work on humans. So please take the money and use it wisely to help support the many volunteers who have organized to send this bad idea back to Canada. Otherwise, the follow-on review processes will be in the hands of state and federal agencies who know little about what is at risk. I think the Weil/Fairwinds team has underestimated the intelligence of Harpswell voters.
    Please see the What's new for 10/09/03.

    • 10/8

    Regarding Laurel Davis' comments:

    Ms. Davis was participating in what is called a focus group. Focus groups are used to determine which messages will prove most effective in a public relations or advertising campaign. They are very commonly used in political campaigns.

    I have done many focus groups, and I can tell you that the client is never, ever present in the room. Nor would there be signage or other items displaying the client's logo . The idea of a focus group is not to reveal who the research is actually being done for, and to create an atmosphere in which the participants will speak freely.

    Also, the research company doing the focus group never, ever reveals their real name. I have been in the marketing business in Southern Maine since 1978, and I have never heard of Scientific Marketing of Tenant's Harbor. They do not turn up in a search of the internet, and they do not seem to have a phone listing. This does not mean they they do not exist -- but if they do, they certainly are keeping a low profile! (Usually, marketing companies are very good at promoting themselves and keep a very high profile).

    Whomever is doing this research is trying to find out which messages will motivate undecided women in the upcoming election. They have probably decided that this group is an important one in determining the outcome of the election, and they want to find the messages that will sway this group to vote the way they want. They will use the findings of this research to determine what they say in meetings, newspaper ads, radio spots and tv commercials. Who is paying for this research? Well, I do know one thing -- it is not our group, FairPlay for Harpswell. Ask yourself what other group has an interest in this election, and draw your own conclusion.

    Is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not. Those who participated had every right to do so, and the company paying for the research is not doing anything illegal, or unethical. But it does point out the tremendous financial resources that are being brought to bear in this rushed process. Resources that are daily being used to sway the voters of Harpswell.
    Please see the What's new for 10/09/03.

    • 10/8

    I live on Birchmere Lane which is separated from the fuel farm by the airstrip.  As a matter of fact my property line connects to the airstrip.  We have received no information or mailings concerning Fairwinds, excuse me I should say we received one mailing but it came after all the meetings that were listed had been held. 

    We do have some people up and down our road by car and or walking that have had paperwork in their hands and checking out the properties here.  We also have some people that we believe work for Fairwinds living right next door to us as we have seen their vehicle in and out and also at their office across from the Anchor.  This is a very uncomfortable position for us, as we have only been living here for a few years, and put our savings into a home that we thought we would be retiring in, now we are not so sure what is going to happen.  I grew up in Harpswell and have lived here most of my life so I am not an outsider and I am a year round resident.  We also live across the street from selectman Knight. 

    Therefore I agree with Chris Duval about who received info and who didn't. 

    • 10/8

    Answers in red are the responses of Peter Micciche of Fairwinds that he made to Ned Simmons. Ned sent them to me.

    Energy consumption/emissions
    Fairwinds has stated that 1 to 1-1/2% of the project's gas throughput will be consumed on site to operate the plant. This is equal to something on the order of 10 times the household energy consumption for the rest of the town. While there is no doubt that natural gas is a very clean fuel, in light of the large amount to be consumed, even very small emissions per unit of fuel burned raises air quality concerns.

    My understanding is that the actual amount and type of emissions can vary significantly depending on how the fuel is used. I would be interested in more details on how the fuel will be allocated to the various processes, and the type of equipment to be operated (turbine vs. piston engine for the generator, type of boilers, emission controls, stacks, etc.). Also, if possible, how those emissions might affect air quality in Harpswell and the region. Emission of particulates and NOx are of specific concern, at least locally.

    At this time we can confirm that generators on site will be natural gas-fueled  turbine generators and natural gas-fueled heaters will  be used to provide a warm  water bath for the regasifiers. Once detailed engineering work has been completed we  will be able to  provide more details on the type of equipment that will be installed  at the terminal. All of the equipment will be designed and  installed to at least  meet the emission requirements specified by the EPA and Maine Department of the  Environment.

    During operation, emissions from the LNG facility will involve exhaust gases from  natural gas fueled LNG re-gasification facilities  and power generation equipment.  These emissions are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2  - a greenhouse gas), nitrogen  oxides (NOx) and  carbon monoxide (CO) and due to the cleanliness of natural gas will  be relatively minor.  The height of exhaust stacks will be  established using  traditional emission modeling programs to ensure compliance with all environmental  standards. A detailed emissions  inventory will be completed when the design of the  LNG terminal facility is finalized and will be submitted as a requirement of the   permit application for the facility.

     Desalinization plant return water

    Using Fairwinds planned capacity of 8000 gallons per day of fresh water, the desalinization plant would discharge approximately 230 pounds of salt in 32,000 gallons of water at maximum capacity. To put this in perspective, 3 or 4 garden hoses running 24 hours per day could deliver that volume of water. Or put another way, the 32,000 gallons would fit in a cube approx 16 feet on a side.

    While it seems to me that the amount and salt content of the water discharged from the desalinization plant is unlikely to have an effect on the marine environment beyond a very small area, it would be comforting to have a simple model of the dispersal of the water returned to the bay.

    It would also be interesting to know how this amount of salt compares to the Town's annual use of road salt.

    To avoid any impacts on the local acquifer, the project had proposed to include a  desalination plant to generate daily freshwater  requirements of 5000 gallons per  day. You are correct that the discharge from a desalination will have minimal impact  on the marine  environment. However, we have heard from Harpswell residents that they  have concerns with a desalination facilty at the terminal and  we are examining other  options for meeting our fresh water requirements such as having fresh water delivered  to the site.

    If it is determined that a desalination unit is the preferred option, we will need to  address the discharge issue with the regulatory  agencies and the Harpswell community  during the permitting phase.

     Enforcement

    Will the Town have standing to enforce, or to compel the appropriate state or federal agency to enforce, the government regulations applicable to, and the conditions of the permits required for, the construction and operation of the facility?

    If the Town cannot absolutely rely on government agencies to enforce the regulations and permits, can the Town reserve the right to enforce the provisions of the regulations and permits in the lease?

    I believe this question needs to be addressed to the town Selectmen who are in a  position to state whether or not the town have  standing that would allow them to  enforce state and/or federal regulations.

     Publication of ongoing issues

    It would be helpful if the issues and questions that have already been put to Fairwinds and the Town's advisors were published, with replies when available. If it is determined that it will not be possible to respond to a question before either the lease document is finalized, or before the December vote, this information should also be made public.

    Maximum usefulness would require frequent updates, preferably on the web as well as in print, and perhaps in some form on channel 14. I realize this represents a significant amount of work, but the limited amount of time available makes the timely distribution of this information critical. 

     Hopefully this would minimize duplication of effort, help with understanding of the issues, and speed up the give and take required to get the citizens' concerns addressed before the fast approaching deadline for finalizing the lease agreement.

    Your comments regarding publication of issues and questions that we have been  addressing are appropriate and timely. We will shortly  be posting a Frequently Asked  Questions (FAQ) document to the Fairwinds website  along with  answers to those  questions. As well, the Harpswell Anchor has been collecting a set  of issues and questions raised through letters to the editor. We  have been asked to  provide responses to these issues and questions and they will appear in the Anchor's  special edition on October  16.

    It is important for us to understand the issues and concerns of the Harpswell  residents and we are willing to spend as much time as we  can to make sure that  happens. At the same time we want to make sure that we provide as much information to  the residents as we can  so that on December 16th they can make an informed decision  regarding the lease proposal.

    Public hearings

     There has been much discussion at the various public hearings and meetings regarding how the Fairwinds proposal has arrived at the present point. This is understandable and necessary, but it's my opinion that it's beginning to interfere with the dialogue among the interested parties on substantive issues.

    If the voters are to make an informed decision, we cannot afford to be sidetracked from the real issues surrounding this proposal. If an investigation and additional hearings are necessary to ferret out all the history behind the proposal, so be it. But let's net get distracted from the real business at hand.

    Thank you for your observations regarding public hearings.

    These comments was also sent to Fairwinds and to the Town [bwt]

    • 10/8

    On October 7th, at 6pm, I attended a meeting at The Parkwood. It was first scheduled for the Atrium.  We did not start until all those lost at the Atrium made their way to The Parkwood. It was a survey conducted by Scientific Marketing Inc from Tenants Harbor. No Fairwinds people were present nor LNG affiliates nor government agencies. No presentation was given, nor was there any project information provided by the corporation. There was no Fairwinds signage, photos, or media of any kind - even the pens and paper tablets had only the Parkwood logo on them.

    This particular group of meeting attendees were all Harpswell women, still undecided over the Fairwinds Project, and not working the traditional 9 to 5 schedule. There were women from both sides of Harpswell, natives and imports, fishing wives and daughters as well as non fishing, college educated and not, young and older, and from different points on the economic scale.

    We were asked non leading objective questions in a neutral setting to determine what our concerns were over the Project and how we normally searched out information. We were asked to list the Projects pro's and con's.  We were asked to rate the credence of the various forms of available media and sources of information.

    I found the whole process both enlightening and refreshing. It was a chance to voice concerns in a non hostile, calm environment and to exchange perspectives.  At the end of the meeting, we were each paid $75 for our participation.  Although we find it unusual to be paid for giving our opinions (and in some cases just to be listened to), surveys are a common practice in research and marketing. There was nothing underhanded, secretive, or coercive at all.  I heard about this meeting via word of mouth from a neighbor. We were told at the meeting there will be more survey's taken from other groups with different attendee criteria.

    I hope this clears any possible conspiracy theories in reference to this meeting.
    For more information about this see, what's new. [bwt)

    • 10/8

    If arrivals are anywhere from 4-9 days apart and the tanker stays at port for 24 hours does this mean that four days from one tankers arrival another tanker could arrive, thus leaving a short time span of only 36 hrs in between tankers?
    I think you may mean 48 hours. [bwt]

    • 10/8

    At the selectmen's meeting 10/7,  I thought the selectmen, particularly Gordon Weil, expressed themselves as clearly as I have heard so far concerning this proposal and I have changed how I feel about their relationship to the proposed project.  I do now feel that they are doing what they can to present an opportunity to the town, and that they are trying to act in the best interest of the town.  I believe nobody is certain just what that is yet, including the selectmen. 

    • 10/7

    I just spoke to someone about attending the meeting tonight and was told there is going to be a meeting tonight at The Atrium at 7pm. I then called the Atrium to find out what time Fairwinds was having their meeting and was told by the front desk that Fairwinds meeting is at 7PM in the Ballroom.

    I have also been informed that each of the participants in this meeting is being paid $75.00 to attend.

    Now isn't this interesting.

    • 10/6

    My husband and I have resided in Harpswell for only two years, but we have lived in the Bath - Brunswick area for nearly 35 years and I spent much of my childhood on Orr's Island. I am a Maine native, born in Bath.  Harpswell is an unacceptable and totally inappropriate location for an LNG plant. Period. Harpswell is not an industrial site, which it would become. To me, and to my family, that is the bottom line. A few local jobs would be great and financial gain would be fantastic - but - lets be careful. None of those suggestions are fact. They are simply suggestions from Fairwinds and from our selectmen (sorry, but as much as I want to I just can't seem to separate those two parties). As things stand right now, I can't make sense of the checks and balances being thrown at us and I resent having to plead my case for more time to adequately decide. The ability to make an informed decision should be my right. I wish my selectmen would respect that, but then, perhaps if I had more information, I'd just be in their way. I'm concerned about every single issue in this proposal, from safety to the environment to the fishermen to financial stakes. I'm worried about a rift between those on the Neck and those off.  And I'm worried that the nice folks from Fairwinds are making it much too easy for us. If an LNG plant comes to town, it will irreplaceably change Harpswell.  Even the town of Westbrook is paying closer attention to its industrial choices, an attitude which comes from years of experience dealing with industry in its town. Once we go down that road it will be tough to come back.  We need to pay attention to those of experience around us --  and I mean those of objective experience, not those parties directly involved.  We need to open our eyes and take a clear look -- beyond the purported dollar signs and simulated visuals that Fairwinds is plastering around  -- the pamphlets are simply too good to be true!  The conceptual depiction of the depot looks absolutely nothing like any footage we have seen from the video or from actual visuals of the other LNG sites. Why?  Because if we actually saw what the site  was going to look like we'd back away. And no one needs to take an extended trip to figure that out.  Look at today's paper.  How are we really going to feel about smokestacks in Harpswell, and over-ground pipeline, if it comes to that?  Take a look at the other LNG plants in this country -- nothing is in a comparable location to our beautiful and unadulterated coastal town, not even Alaska.  We like Harpswell the way it is. We support our fishermen and our environment. And I believe we are savvy enough to find a lucrative alternative use for the depot property -- one that is appropriate for the citizens of Harpswell, whether they are far enough away to turn a blind eye to it or not.  Let's not allow ourselves to simply be pegged as a vulnerable community by big business that has an investment idea for itself. Who can blame them, but, come on Harpswell, let's show them we're smart and willing to work for a more appropriate opportunity for our citizens and our town.

    • 10/6

    My major concern is the money. I hear those who would like to lower their property tax burden, but we already have one of the lowest mil rates on the coast. Property valuation is our problem and that's being driven by demand, investment and the churning of the real estate for profit. When I hear someone say they're glad that property values will rise I see where their motives are. Our children won't be living here if property values continue the precipitous rise. Not because of the taxes, but because they can't afford to buy. Lowering the property taxes will increase the desirability of Harpswell and exacerbate the problem, increasing the real estate turn-over, disrupting the stability of our neighborhoods and tearing us apart as a community. Property taxes must be addressed on the state level. Should we be building industrial infrastructure in Harpswell over property tax issues?

    What if we use the money to build municipal infrastructure? How about an indoor swimming pool for Harpswell? It would be nice to have manicured, green playing fields with a hired staff to take care of them. How about a municipal marina or, something close to my heart, a world class community television station? Infrastructure requires long term financing and maintenance. Are we strapping our grandchildren with doubled property taxes when the LNG plant leaves town? How much of the money can we legally escrow against this eventuality?

    There are more questions than answers at this point. Harpswell is a socially and environmentally precarious place. What is likely to happen to us with a sudden infusion of money? How much control will we have over it? Harpswell Community Television will attempt to answer these questions and others, as voting time nears, with witnesses from other places and professionals in the field of state and municipal finances and planning. We will also visit other locations with our cameras bringing you to such places as the Everett Mass. LNG site. Stay tuned. 

    Take a deep breath Harpswell. We can get through this.

    • 10/5

    For a town to make a decision of the magnitude we are being asked to make, December 16 doesn't give us a lot of time to gather and understand the information we should have to consider.

    I don't know who set the deadline - and it isn't particularly comforting to have conflicting answers on such a simple question - but if it was set by our selectmen, I say shame on them. If if was set by the Fairwinds team as a make or break condition of the deal, and they stand firm on it, it should give us a good idea of what subsequent negotiations will be like when they drop their public relations team and bring in the corporate legal team. If they can force us to play by their rules on something so uncomplicated as as a three month extension to consider the implications of a non-binding memorandum, God help the town when they draw up the real contracts

    • 10/5: 

    Note: This may be the first note from someone from out of Harpswell.  I welcome comments from anyone who feels that they have something constructive to add to the discussion. [bwt]

    I am not a resident of Harpswell, but I do have family living within 5 or 6 miles of the proposed Fairwinds LNG site.  This gives me concerns about this project.  From reading the various comments and reports on this dedicated website, I can only wonder at how closely Fairwinds' explanation of benefits this project will bring to Harpswell and surrounding towns, mirrors the hoopla being expounded by 'Think About It' for the construction of a casino in Sanford.  All this may be sparkle and glitter that may blind one's eyes to the long term effects of such endeavors.

    Although the primary site is proposed for Harpswell and a town vote is required to move forward, what about the towns through which the pipeline will eventual pass, either over/under ground or under water? Do these towns have a vote on this question?  I am sure any off-site pipeline leak or explosion could have severe repercussions along its route.  Do these questions have any answers yet?

    • 10/5

        Regarding Denis Gagnon's comment of 10/14, I wonder if he thinks the construction of a major LNG industrial site will increase the property values of our friends and neighbors who happen to live next to the proposed facility? If so, I have the names of a few people he might want to contact. I am sure that some of them would be happy to sell, and Denis will have made a great investment!
        Also, does Mr. Gagnon (or anyone else) really believe that having Harpswell be known as the home of a major LNG terminal will help anyone's property values?
        Lastly, exactly what "infrastructure" do we need to build in Harpswell? A six lane suspension structure to replace the Cribstone bridge?
        This project is a major industrial facility and it has no place in Harpswell.

    • 10/4

    I would like Denis Gagnon to PROVE to us BEFORE the December 16th vote on the Fairwinds project that our property taxes will go down and by how much. This project may increase his property values (waterfront, far away from the depot) but what will it do for the folks who live near the fuel depot?  These people are part of this so-called community too and so are the fishermen that fish that bay.

    In dollars and cents how much will the SAD 75 portion of taxpayers property taxes go down if a TIF is created for Fairwinds?  The selectmen didn't even have realistic (any) suggestions what to do with the (drool, drool) $8 million...the answer to that was like most other questions (so far) "we don't know". 

    Infrastructure improvements...just what would they be?  I have a few ideas on that but it would be interesting to know just what Denis thinks about our infrastructure needs...specifically.

    Wiscasset was left a bit in the lurch when their cash cow left town eleven years early.  Why not address the negatives now...before we stick our foot in the meadow muffins.

    • 10/4

    Nice web site and a great way to hear the pro and con views.  I, Denis Gagnon, am in favor of the project.  Not only will it reduce our property taxes, it will also increase our property values.  If Wiscasset would have Maine Yankee to do all over again, they would welcome LNG.  It helped build there infrastructure as it will help build ours.  Employment of several local folks would be a plus.  The Navy depot employed several local folks.   I believe the positives for Harpswell far exceed the negatives and over time the negatives will be addressed in everyone's favor.

    • 10/3

        I am writing to offer a sincere and humble apology to the good people of Harpswell, and the many others I offended with my letter to the Editor in this week’s Harpswell Anchor.  In the heat of my emotional reaction to the news of the Fairwinds project, I seem to have forgotten everything I ever learned about respect and manners and being a good human being.  To top it off, I stupidly insulted the very people who stand to lose the most in this situation, and are probably working the hardest to do the right things.  In the stark light of day when I saw my own words published in the Anchor, I immediately realized what I had done, that words I had used intending to convey one message, came across in a completely different way.  I take full ownership for my actions, and blame only myself for poor judgment and speaking without thinking.  I apologize to the fishermen and their families, and to the retirees in the community for what I said.  I don’t excuse my behavior but I wish more than anything I could take my words back.
        I humbly request that you not let any feelings you have for me and my actions color or bias your feelings towards others who have expressed opposition to the Fairwinds project.    

    • 10/2

    I was chairman of the board of selectmen until Town Meeting March 2003 and I knew nothing about this project. If any selectmen was dealing with anyone proposing an LNG facility it was on their own and of no knowledge of the rest of the board.

    • 10/1

         My wife and I own a cottage in Edgewater Colony, South Harpswell and are opposed to Fairwinds.  Edgewater Colony is within ~1500 of the proposed LNG Storage Site and LNG Transport ships and just north of Birchmere. Our cottage was gifted by my wife's parents to pass on to future generations.
         I understand that our cottage, which is approximately 8 cottages north of the LNG Storage Site, is within the "Blast Zone" for the worst credible event.  In fact I understand that most, if not all, of the cottages in Edgewater Colony and Birchmere are within the "Blast Zone."
         My wife and are opposed the Fairwinds since LNG Storage and Shipping would:
              - Create a substantial safety hazard which, for the worst credible event, would result in death to anyone in the "Blast Zone" including our family and friends.
              - Be a potential target of terrorists. Recent terrorist attacks highlight the vulnerability of modern structures and transportation to attacks by airplanes and boats.
              - Create a nuisance that would limit use of the bay within the security zone which is in close proximity to the beach in front of our cottage. Included would be mooring, swimming, fishing, scuba diving, lobstering and boating.
              - Create light pollution and have a significant negative impact on the appearance of Middle Bay.
              - Substantially devalue property values within Edgewater Colony and Birchmere and other properties in the vicinity.
              - Create a liability to the Town of Harpswell.  Property owners such as us will pursue legal action to recover loss of use and property values directly related to the lease of the Fuel Depot to Fairwinds.  These liabilities could substantially reduce the benefit from the lease.
             - Create a hazard to the property that Fairwinds has an option to buy as an alternate recreation area (former Bibber Farm) since it also is in close proximity to Fairwinds.
    We do acknowledge that the former Naval Fuel Depot was a industrial site.  However, the hazards associated with jet fuel storage are insignificant compared to the substantial safety hazard of LNG Storage and Transport.
         Finally, we question whether alternate locations, such Cousins Island or one of the unoccupied islands in Casco Bay, would be a better site and why the rush to judgment for the Former Naval Fuel Depot.

    • 10/1

      I am interested in a question raised by my neighbor the other day.  He said that the selectmen have been talking to the LNG companies for over a year now even though a proposal was only recently submitted.  If our town government knew this was a possible future development, why wasn’t this disclosed prior to the town meeting where we voted to return the pipeline easement land to adjacent property owners.  Does anyone know why this wasn’t done?

    Bob, it is my understanding that the companies did not show serious interest  until this summer, perhaps June, and did not make an offer until August. Does anyone have a different idea?

    • 9/30

      The link on this site for Bracewell & Patterson has a press release dated 9/15/2003, entitled "Six Attorneys Join Bracewell & Patterson in Washington to Expand Practice, Fuel Firm Growth". 
      The release states that the firm "continues to strengthen its expanding presence in the nation's capitol, adding six attorneys - all with extensive energy experience in North America - to its Washington office".  Amazing how before the people of Harpswell knew about the Fairwinds proposal (9/18) it was announced by the selectmen that Greg (George) Williams one of the six new attorneys at Bracewell & Patterson was in the process of opening a new office in Portland Maine...talk about ESP! 
      Mr. Williams has also previously served as an attorney for FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).  The very FERC that will oversee the Fairwinds and TransCanada pipeline project. 
      Sounds a little too cozy to me!

    • 9/28

    Re: Christopher Duval's comments (9/28)
    Nancy Grape's column in today's (9/28) Maine Sunday Telegram mentions Bracewell Patterson.  The Bush administration's weakening of the Clean Air Act had EPA officials that helped to weaken pollution controls and now have jobs with power companies that benefited from the weakened controls.  The Bracewell Patterson firm coordinated lobbying for several utilities on easing the power-plant pollution rule. The EPA is one of the permitting entities that will be part of the  ConocoPhillips/TransCanada project.   Even if Bracewell Patterson is "working for the Town of Harpswell" and the EPA is part of the permitting process... if it walks like a duck...

    • 9/28:

       Thanks for providing this opportunity to post our opinions, and view those of others. I was the person who specifically challenged the town using the Bracewell Patterson law firm, and pointed out that this firms' bills are actually being paid by Conoco Phillips and Trans Canada. I, and many others, feel that this is an unacceptable conflict of interest. Selectman Knight confirmed that this is indeed the case, that lawyers supposedly representing the town's interests are being paid by energy companies who, of course, have a specific agenda. One other question I would like answered is whether Bracewell Patterson has ongoing relationships with either Trans Canada or Cococo Phillips, which would make this even more of an unacceptable conflict.
    You can learn more about Bracewell Patterson here:
    http://www.bracepatt.com/practices/practice_detail.asp?PracticeID=000000328002  
    See Link page under local "Bracewell &Patterson       

       The fact that Selectman Weil is willing to travel to Kenai Alaska at his own expense is another cause of concern. The major problem with this process is that there have been secret contacts between the selectmen and these two energy companies dating back to mid 2002. A trip to Kenai will mean Mr. Weil will be spending more time in the company of Conoco Phillips, more time being sold the energy company position, more time negotiating in private, when all of this should be done in public. I would submit that a town resident who is opposed to the process or the project be allowed to accompany Mr. Weil on any such trip, also at his or her own expense. I would volunteer to be that person, as I am sure would many others.
      Also, it should be pointed out that Harpswell may be deciding whether or not this facility is built, but if it is built it will have a huge impact on Brunswick and other surrounding towns. People who live near the coast in Brunswick will be much more impacted than I will, as I live in Harpswell, but several miles away -- on the other side of Harpswell sound. Those living in these areas in Brunswick will be subjected to the noise of construction, increased air pollution, major safety risks, the visual blight of 1000 foot LNG tankers, light pollution, and all of the other problems and disruptions associated with this project. With none of the financial benefit.
      The question I and many, many others have is "What's the Rush?". Clearly, Conoco Phillips and Trans Canada have been organizing themselves for months-- and now any opposition has only about twelve weeks to respond. The energy companies have established an office in town, they have at least one full time person in the town presenting their case daily, they have retained local and out of state pr/advertising/political consultants, have blanketed the town with a direct mail campaign, and launched a web site presenting their view of the issue. They are very organized, and being large multi national companies, they have a very large budget -- and they have a huge head start over any opposition to the project.
      This is a bad deal for Harpswell, and an even worse deal for Brunswick. It needs to be defeated.

    • 9/27:

    I hope the town secures the services of an attorney with direct experience in this type of transaction.  The debate among the residents is likely to be largely "pro" vs. "con", but even the "pros" should have a clear idea of what the bargain will actually be, and how it can be made into the best possible deal for the town.  Large companies can be flexible and they will negotiate any and all points (within reason) to get an agreement with the town that the residents will support.
    Thanks for the site - a great idea.

    • 9/27:

    Thanks so much for setting up this site.....it will hopefully provide the forum needed for the upcoming Fairwinds proposal and allow both sides to present their views.  I personally have been uncomfortable with the speed with which the citizens of Harpswell are expected to react to so much information...i.e., by the Dec. 16 Town Meeting.  As a person who is traveling  I will be missing some very important meetings and hope to look to this page for updates from all parts of the town.  My biggest fear is that divisions may develop over this project that will widen a split that already exists due to the geography of Harpswell.  I hope that people better informed than I will be able to organize and present the "whole" picture before we have to vote.  I will be "listening"!

    • 9/27: 

    My concern is the communications tower and the water tower. Are they planning to tear down the water tower and replace it with a 200 foot communications tower? How tall is the water tower?
    I like the water tower. It is the last remnants of the Navy project there. It is part of Harpswell's history.
    A communications tower at the fuel depot will not help the Harpswell Islands School's cell communication problem nor the emergency facilities

    • 9/21:

    Sounds great. A clean energy industry which could reduce our taxes and fund some necessary town infrastructure and service improvements. Lets go for it!!

     

     

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    Last edited on 01/07/2010