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.
"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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
For more information, call FairPlay for Harpswell at 807
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.
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
Kevin White has sent a second letter detailing how Fairwinds will hurt
Harpswell and raise taxes. Click here
to read it.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.
put up a new poll on the website to see how the vote looks so far.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Our rock and our roots are in Harpswell.
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
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" ?
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:
Then send it along to anyone else who might be interested or concerned.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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!
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
Regarding Laurel Davis'
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
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
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
Therefore I agree with Chris Duval about who received info
and who didn't.
Answers in red are the
responses of Peter Micciche of Fairwinds that he made to Ned Simmons. Ned
sent them to me.
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
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
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
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
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
Publication of ongoing
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
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.
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
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
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
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)
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]
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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
This project is a major industrial facility and it has no
place in Harpswell.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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
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!
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...
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:
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
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
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.
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
Thanks for the site - a great idea.
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"!
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
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
Sounds great. A clean energy industry which could reduce our taxes and
fund some necessary town infrastructure and service improvements. Lets
go for it!!