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- 3
Page 2: 11/10/2003 - 1/30/04

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 comments have the most recent first.
  • 1/30

That is a great idea about the junk-mail!  The next time I receive junk-mail from FairPlay for Harpswell, I will be sure to send it back with a note. I will encourage others to do the same. Thanks for the idea!

  • 1/29

I received more junk-mail from Fairwinds today. I am returning it with a note that says I have never been and will never be interested in what they have to sell . I also have told them not send any further mailings to me . Having said that , if I do receive anything else from them I will consider it harassment..... It at least lets off some steam.

  • 1/26

Kev White has sent in an article he calls revenue generation.  Link <Kevin White 6>

  • 1/16

Kev White, Beautiful Harpswell Maine.

To the unnamed resident who thanked me for removing the article: You're warmly welcome. The article was originally meant to point out that compromise isn't an option with Fairwinds, the consequences are too extreme, so people can't just "agree to disagree". It was meant to observe the polarity over the issue and extrapolate forward in time. But due to poor allegorical phrasing, it instead had an unwanted, unintended inflammatory effect. The tone, worded to be thought provoking, was too strong. It became a banner for the wrong reasons. It was never meant to be so. It needed to be pulled.

In any case, I appreciate your comment. Thanks for noticing.

Best Regards

  • 1/12

I have added a comment by Maria Sophia Tufts who presents an unusual perspective on the LNG issue. Read it here.

  • 1/10

After watching last night's [Thursday] selectmen's meeting, it is very obvious that our three elected representatives are determined to try and get the Fairwinds project approved by the voters, and will schedule a vote, despite the many requests they have received from Harpswell residents imploring them to stop this flawed process, and abandon this massive LNG project. We are very sure that there is going to be a vote, and that it will most likely occur in early March. They are supposedly still negotiating the lease with "the venture" but we continue to believe that nothing will get in the way of the desire of the selectmen to turn Harpswell into the home of a massive, polluting LNG terminal. Clearly, these three just don't get it.

One of the selectmen expressed the sentiment that the vote needs to be held before the annual meeting. Interestingly enough, this has also been the position of Fairwinds. So, once again, the selectmen seem to be letting Fairwinds determine their course of action.

Despite the fact that the deck has been stacked against us right from the beginning, we welcome the opportunity for a vote. By winning it, we can get rid of Fairwinds. And, there will be another very important vote at the town meeting. Selectman Weil announced last night that he will be running for his seat in March. This is a great opportunity to cast out the one selectman who (rightly or wrongly) is perhaps most closely identified with the whole Fairwinds debacle. Let's sent two messages in March -- that we want Fairwinds out, and that we want selectmen who have some sense of what appropriate growth for Harpswell is!

If you have not done so already (or even if you have), now would be a great time to consider a cash donation to FairPlay, as we will need every cent we can get for the campaign ahead. You can make a donation online at out web site, or send a check to: FairPlay For Harpswell, PO Box 209, Harpswell, Maine 04079 Thanks for the absolutely tremendous support you have given us so far. And, please continue to help in the next couple of months, as we head toward this election that will determine the very future of Harpswell!

  • 1/4

Thank you, Burr for deleting Kev White's 4th article.  And thank you too, Kevin for realizing it wasn't in good taste.  

  • 12/31

I have put last week's Portland Phoenix at Morse's Store on 123 and at the Gulf of Maine Bookstore at 134 Main St, Brunswick. Have a stack at home if anyone needs some to distribute. Call me at 833-6051 or email: mfl@gwi.net

  • 12/31

We are in the process of deciding whether to keep the family's home in Harpswell. One of our concerns is, of course, LNG. To see the beauty of this special place just disappear in a flux of construction traffic, noise, huge lights is just a shame. We come from an area that did not protect its special characteristics and the awesome Blue grass horse farms are quickly disappearing into development and "the wave of the future." Our city bought this, lost the farms, the down town is still dead and now is surrounded by mediocre strip malls where the character of the town once stood. To see this happen here...where there is only just so much beauty in the world, it is finite.. is a shame. Please listen to one who has seen this happen, to lose one beautiful area of the country is shame enough, don't repeat our mistakes. Remember, your Casco Bay.. of 1000 islands. There isn't any where else like this, there really isn't. Don't sell it out, please. Don't give up your past and your future, once given up, it is gone.

  • 12/29

"Nobody comes right out in public and says what they¹re going to do. No one ever does, no one ever will, it¹s not going to happen. Period."

I have disagreed with much of what Peter Micciche has had to say during his time here in Harpswell promoting the "Fairwinds" project. But the above quote of his from the recent Portland Phoenix article I can agree with heartily, if he is referring to the Fairwinds project and process. In fact, I think the above statement should be adopted as the official Fairwinds mission statement. No truer words could ever be uttered about the Fairwinds project, because they never have come out and said what they are going to do, and they never will. Period.

Thank you Peter Micciche for summing the situation up perfectly!
If you would like to read the article this quote came from, you can find it by clicking  Features A year of division

  • 12/23

    I'm submitting for everyone's reading entertainment, a new piece that I wrote. It's a semi-fictional look back from a future writer documenting events that occurred in Harpswell and the area from the perspective of New Year's Eve...2019. I hope that everyone finds it enjoyable, it informs, and makes you think deeply and seriously about what is being proposed here.... Click here to read it

  • 12/17

I added a couple of more paragraphs to Cheryl Golek's page 6

  • 12/16

Cheryl Golek sent in a 3 page comment on ConocoPhillips which, as she says, goes beyond the PR. You can read it here.

  • 12/16

I'm told that the voters will vote on every dime spent from money that is received from this project. I have my doubts that that will hold true.

  • 12/16

Let me explain my reasoning a bit more regarding the Fairwinds/PTO issue [see 12/15]. I don't feel that it is appropriate for Fairwinds to be discussing what the town would do with the money from the lease if this ill considered project goes through. I think when they do so that are duping people in that they do not ever discuss the costs to the town if this project goes through

-- lobster mitigation, the additional infrastructure that will be required because of the project, the reduced property tax revenue that will flow to the town as a result of the depreciation of so many properties in the Harpswell Neck area, additional police, fire and road maintenance services that will be required, and more. They never discuss this side of the equation. In addition, they have no say in how the money would be spent, or in the specific decisions that would be made at the town meeting on how the money would be spent. So when they say things like we could build a senior center, a bike path, fund college scholarships, etc. with the money. I find it offensive. They are just pandering to the lowest common denominator.

While I understand that Fairwinds purpose is to sway votes, I don't think the PTO is the right place to do so. Let's keep politicking out of education.

Maybe they should shift their focus from swaying votes to a new purpose --trying not to slip anything by the town on the next version of the lease. Or, even better, making their arrangements for moving out of town.

  • 12/16

I agree with Elizabeth Davis's 11/21 comments regarding being instruments of peace, and getting along with our neighbors.  Good job, Elizabeth.  Ultimately, I think we all want what's best for Harpswell.  We just have differing views of what "best " is.

The pro Fairwinds citizen's group, Friends of Harpswell, believes the Fairwinds proposal is of great economic and social benefit to the town, and that it will preserve the character of Harpswell.

For example, it provides the opportunity for many to obtain good paying, long term jobs provided by two of the safest, most honored companies in the world, Conoco Phillips and TransCanada.  They are well known as outstanding charitable contributors to the communities in which their facilities are located.  They will provide similar beneficial contributions to Harpswell if given the chance. 

Thanks to the Selectmen who have put in long hours trying to do what's "best" for all of us.  Friends of Harpswell commends them in their efforts and we encourage the Selectmen and Fairwinds to come to an agreement on the terms of the lease and bring this issue to a vote as soon as possible in a manner that is advantageous to both the residents of the Town of Harpswell and Fairwinds. 

  • 12/15

While doing the Harpswell Islands School newsletter, I noticed Fairwinds representative will be at an upcoming PTO meeting to discuss ways to spend the money, if the proposal passes. I'll be interested to hear what they come up with."

I noticed this on the "What's New" section of the this web site. Is this really true? I feel that this is completely inappropriate. First of all, it is none of Fairwinds business what we would spend their money on. Secondly, they should not be intruding on events like this when they are not even members of the community. And, lastly, it is inappropriate that they were invited to the event. Whomever issues the invitation should retract it. And, they should have had enough sense not to attend, even if invited.

  This is clearly an attempt to sway votes. I suppose we should not be surprised. Every day, more evidence is presented about just what kind of company "Fairwinds" is. This is just one more example.

  • 12/15

I disagree with Chris Duval above. I do not see how his reasons stand up. Since they are welcomed at the PTO meeting, Fairwinds isn't intruding  nor are they minding someone else's business. I doubt Chris would say the lawyers at the public meeting and hearings were intruding even though they may have been from out town. He does not say why it is inappropriate to invite them. Finally, it is the purpose of Fairwinds right now to be "swaying votes." That's what happens in campaigns.

  • 12/15

To the Wescotts who think the town will be torn apart at the seams over 8 million dollars a year....I disagree.  I think the people of Harpswell are grown up and adult enough to be able to deal with how to spend the money. 

  • 12/12

If you think this town is divided now just watch what happens if 8 million a year in free money rolls in. that will tear this town apart at the seams.

  • 12/11

Hi,
I know things with Fairwinds are a little shaky at the moment and who knows what the future will bring for Harpswell, but I am in the process of finishing a paper and i came across a website that I found extremely helpful. You have probably already seen, as I know everyone in the town has been doing research on the project at hand but I thought I would pass it along just in case.
Good luck with everything.
lng_security_report_congress
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Infrastructure Security:
Background and Issues for Congress

  • 12/11

After reading many of the information on this board and the Anchor site concerning the risks involved of even a small accident at the Fairwinds site, I cannot believe that this is even being considered . Let's look down the road a bit...

It's 2009. Back in 2004 , you voted for the Fairwinds project in Harpswell and the project passed. You have enjoyed a discount on your taxes for several years . (Sure, they have said that the mil rate will go up this year due to the expansion of services and loss of property tax revenue from summer homes but it still is better than it would be without the Fairwinds money you think.) The roads are a little more crowded and the smokestacks are pretty ugly but you don't have to drive down the neck too often so it is okay. You still believe you voted the right way.

One day there is a small accident at the LNG plant . Two workers are killed , 15 neighboring residents are hospitalized with thermal radiation burns, an elderly resident died from a heart attack trying to evacuate . 15 homes are destroyed .

Now how do you feel?  

It's not my fault, you say! 

 Sure , you remember all the warnings from the Fairplay folks...and you remember reading something in the Wall St. journal about people within 1000 to 4000 feet being at risk for thermal radiation burns if an incident occurred. But you thought that was just scare tactics by people trying to thwart progress. Wasn't the government supposed to take of all that ? Why did they put the plant there if it was so dangerous?? Why did the selectman approve it?

 It's not my fault , you say. I was just one vote ... lots of other people voted for this as well .

Let's put it another way.

One day the Devil approaches you and offers you a deal.  He'll give you $20,000.00 and all you have to do is let him do three things in return .

1. Destroy the livelihood of just  20 fishermen and their families.

2. Take away the homes of 20 Harpswell residents.

3. Allow him to increase the risk of a deadly accident taking just a few people in Harpswell by just 50 % .

Do you take this deal ?  

VOTE NO !

  • 12/10 (posted a day late - sorry)

Rally: Fishing Families for Harpswell

To all,

Please come support Fishing Families for Harpswell this Friday at 11 AM on Basin Point next to Dolphin Marina. Fishing Families and their supporters will be gathering to show their deep concern about and opposition to the Fairwinds project. There will be a series of short (very short) speeches. We will be passing out buttons, bumper stickers and lawn signs. With any luck and any weather, the TV, radio, and newspaper media will all be covering the event. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided. Bring your families if possible. (We'll be giving our kids the morning off.) Make a sign--the most inventive is sure to wind up on the 6 o'clock news.

  • 12/9

Having lived in Alaska for several years I thought it might be interesting to compare the Nikiski area with Harpswell as we knew it! The site Nikiski, Alaska Detailed Profile - was very interesting.

An interesting point is who owns the Nikiski area? In 1971 the "Alaskan Native Claims Act" awarded control of millions of acres of Alaska to the control of Alaskan Natives in the form of Native Cooperatives. The natives were able to select the land and opted for most of the vast shoreline. Another money grab!

  • 12/7 

I think it's about time that we send "Fairwinds" along on their merry way. Trying to rush the town, the secrecy, providing incomplete information, the whole focus group misinformation, refusing to answer certain questions, now apparently they tried to pull a fast one on the lease. Not to mention the fact that a project like this clearly is completely inappropriate for Harpswell.

As if we needed more reasons to bid Fairwinds Farewell, check out this article from Friday's Wall Street Journal:

http://www.transitcommerce.com/Harpswell/doc/WallStreetJournalArticle20031205.html

Let's face it. This project is a loser. The sooner it is gone, the better off we will be.

We need to solve the problem of property taxes. We need to find an appropriate use for the Fuel Depot. But we can do much better than the bill of goods "Fairwinds" is trying to sell us.

  • 12/6

I couldn't find the two Mobile Register articles.  Here is a Mobile Register article your site might not have - New (FERC) policy keeps records from public (10/28/03).

I didn't get permission from the Mobile Register.
The file Chris refers to is about how energy companies are beginning to be allowed to withhold records that might be helpful to terrorists. Of course that makes it easy to withhold information that might be helpful to the public seeking information. You can read the article by clicking here

  • 12/6

I have never really known how to refer to this ugly, incongruous thing that ConocoPhillips wants to stick in the middle of our beautiful little village, here in the very heart of Paradise.

They call it Fairwinds, our selectmen refer to it as the Venture, others have called it the Partnership, and others say the Proposal. After much deliberation, and after watching other similar events unfold throughout the state of Maine, I have finally figured out what it really is. This monstrosity is the Gasino, and it’s not unlike other recent flimflams foisted on us in the forms of a Casino and a Racino.

Why do people from outside this state think they can hoodwink us into believing that they are our benefactors as they attempt to exploit us, heaping money upon us in the same way the Dutch settlers dazzled trinkets before the Native Americans living on Manhattan Island?

The voters in Maine had the good sense to reject the Casino initiative, but the Racino proponents pulled the wool over enough eyes to establish a beachhead in Bangor. Now, after the horses are out of that barn, the seamy truth is emerging about the slot machine interests. Taking back that vote is like putting toothpaste back in the tube...it’s too late.

It’s not too late for us here in Harpswell, though. While the Racino people didn’t really reveal their true nature before the vote, the Gasino team’s recent activities have provided us with a glimpse of their character, and the type of relationship they foster. Along with missing the deadline for delivering the Lease to the town, they slipped changes into the document that were totally outside the negotiations. Every strong relationship must be founded on trust, and for one that could last for as long as fifty years, these arrogant gestures from the Gasino team have eroded that trust irreparably. Remember that ConocoPhillips had $90 billion in revenues last year; guess how they talk about Harpswell down there in Houston. Guess how much they care about us or the spectacular beauty of our surroundings.

When you look at the word ‘Gasino’ something hopeful stands out. Like the revealed nature of the Gasino team, it contains the elements of its own destruction. Two wonderful letters stand out...N and O. Look at it: GasiNO. Whenever the vote is rescheduled, I know how I will vote.

  • 12/5

WHO SETS THERMAL RADIATION ZONES ON TANKERS?

Fairwinds had a presentation on FERC regulations, and their permitting process and a call in to answer question on HTV-14.  I don’t remember the date but I called in with a question and I thought I would just share the conversation. Click here to read the conversation

  • 12/5

In yesterday's Anchor someone wrote a letter listing all the humanitarian things ConocoPhillips has done for Kenai, Alaska. Before we exalt Peter Micciche and his bosses for their saintly acts, lets remember that it's not unusual for multi million dollar corporations to try to make up for their destructive and inhumane profit making ways.For example, Phillip Morris gave a million to Red Cross after 9/11, meanwhile they stay committed to spreading lung cancer around the world.

It's like saying...."If you let me chop off your legs , I'll buy you the best state of the art wheelchair." If P. Micciche represented a company that is humane as some would like us to believe, then he'd get on the phone to his boss right now and say..."Listen boss, we gave it a good shot, but we are just going to be hurting too many people. We're outta here".

  • 1/4

TOOTHFAIRY  ASSURANCES   CONCERNING    FAIRWINDS

==Toothfairy Assurance #1  There will be a  net increase in jobs available in the area, despite the fact that the loss of jobs related to the fishing, lobstering and  tourist industry is likely to be far greater than the modest projected job gain from the LNG terminal.

==Toothfairy Assurance #2  The taxes in Harpswell will decrease for all residents, despite the likelihood that residential real estate values and therefore the tax base will decline in the area as a result of the presence of the large industrial installation. Nor will insurance rates go up in recognition of the added risks associated with an LNG terminal.

==Toothfairy Assurance #3  The state will not decrease disbursements to Harpswell despite the subsidies received from Fairwinds by Harpswell.

==Toothfairy Assurance #4  The emissions from the Fairwinds plants, when added to the pollution already being received from plants in the Midwest, will not result in unhealthy levels of air pollution.

==Toothfairy Assurance #5  The equipment and workers during the 3-year construction of the power  and desalinization plants will not be transported  over Rte. 123, but will arrive and depart via (or live aboard) barges involved in the construction process.  Therefore it will not be necessary for the town/state to pay for the rebuilding of Rte. 123 in order to avoid constant traffic jams.

==Toothfairy Assurance#6  The constant arrival and departure of the tankers and their accompanying vessels every day will not adversely affect directly or by pollution the lobstermen and  fishermen in the eastern parts of Harpswell waters as it is expected to do in Middle Bay.  This will be true even after the anticipated doubling of the Fairwinds processing capacity.

==Toothfairy Assurance #7  The constant  (24/7) light and noise from the LNG installation will not be a constant intrusive presence for Chebeague, South Freeport, and Merepoint residents in addition to those on Harpswell Neck.

==Toothfairy Assurance #8  The extensive area needed to assure security   for  the LNG tankers both  afloat and at the dock will not inhibit waterborne activities near Chebeague, South Freeport, and Merepoint as well as Harpswell Neck.

==Toothfairy Assurance #9  When there is a (temporary) interruption of the operation of the desalinization plant, the LNG installation will not tap into the groundwater as an emergency measure in order to keep the power plant and other processing facilities from experiencing a dangerous backup.

Those who still believe in the toothfairy expect that if the LNG terminal is approved , all will be hunky dory.

Those who have outgrown  the toothfairy know better.

 

  • 11/29

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust, as reported in the Portland Press Herald (11/28) has an ad in the works to promote support for another round of funding for the Land For Maine’s Future.  This is to promote support for another bond issue for 2004 asking somewhere between 100 and 150 million dollars for land conservation.

 As part of a broader education campaign the ad will hold Whaleboat Island up as an example of why this funding is important.

 The trust will try to encourage more public use of Whaleboat Island.  According to the PPH article Whaleboat Island was acquired by the trust in 2002 for $770,000.00 and has become popular for recreational boaters, kayakers, hiking, picnicking and overnight camping.

 Richard Knox a spokesman for Maine Coast Heritage Trust was quoted, “From our perspective Whaleboat has become a wonderful, quiet retreat for Maine people.

 The 2003 summer caretaker for Whaleboat Island, Jessica Hunter was quoted “It has got everything. Its just a gorgeous place.”

 Any thoughts on how LNG ships might make the use of the island less desirable or accessible?? Or how a 100 million dollar bond issue could add to your property tax bill?  Will the Maine Coast Heritage Trust speak up and try to protect the “wonderful, quiet retreat for Maine people”??   

  • 11/25

I have a thought that I would like to share. It seems to me that a public debate between Friends of Fairwinds and Fairplay is needed both sides should pick a panel of five it should run for at least 2 hrs because there is a lot  about this project to cover  and each person should have a limited time to speak and respond and a mediator someone like maybe Dave Chipman of  Harpswell Community Television

Just a thought let me know what you think.

  • 11/25 (posted 11/30)

To:  Cheryl Golek,  great idea about the debate!  Thanks for your comment

To: Kevin White.  I appreciate your humor and sarcasm.  Humor calms the nerves!  We are all entitled to our opinion.  I do not deny your right.  Go for it!

To:  Cliff Gowley,  Abutters, fisherman and all concerns are are's as well.  Some good or former good friends of mine are abutters.  Some support the program.   Some close neighbors, very successful lobster men are in support of the project. Again, I repeat,  everyone gains in some manner if approved.  Very few gain if the project is not approve.   Do not deny the Fairwinds supporters of expressing their thoughts.  We recognize your views.  The vote will tell the story!!!!!

  • 11/24

I read Denis Gagnon's comment to Chris Duval, and I couldn't help myself. It was so silly that I had to reply with the same silliness.

The following reply is meant to be funny and light hearted, while pointing out some of the irony in what Mr. Gagnon is saying:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh, you tricky “Friends of Whomever”. Chris Duval and Fairplay played right into your grand scheme, didn’t they? While warning folks about….

-Safety: The government warned Friday of an increased risk of terrorist attacks …on… infrastructure such as bridges or dams as well as targeting LIQUID NATURAL GAS, chemical and other hazardous materials facilities. November 21, 2003 The Associated Press Filed at 7:36pm ET.” -- It’s comforting to know we can ignore these warnings in the future as simply silly scare tactics by the government. I’ll pay them no further heed. -- 

-Immediate economic offsets: The loss to fishing families and the economic domino/ripple effect throughout the community. -- Your good friends, the fishing families of Harpswell, wish to sincerely thank you for your concern. They appreciate that their fears are groundless. What were they thinking? With friends like you…--

-Future socioeconomic ramifications: Population growth and industrial development. -- Years of study of sprawl by government planning agencies can be thrown right out the window. All that effort wasted. Who knows what actually causes sprawl? Personally, I’ve always suspected cows. --

-Pollution and environmental concerns: Just another groundless fear tactic. -- Historically, it has never been a concern. Large scale industrial complexes are known to never pollute and have little to no effect on the surrounding area. In fact, one of the most blatant omissions in Fairwinds’ artist rendering of the site was the failure to include Bambi and his mother prancing happily through the field at the fuel depot.--

-Tourism decline: Another baseless concern. Nobody comes to Harpswell for the scenery. -- People love industrial blight. So much so, that The Disney Corporation is thinking of building theme parks along these lines. The feature attraction will be simulated terrorist attacks…explosions and everything. Maybe we can interest them in Harpswell?--

…they were actually PROMOTING Fairwinds. That is sooo clever! You folks are really smart. Of course the citizens of Harpswell (who are far from just "common") can see right through false claims and propaganda tactics. That’s why nobody in their right mind believes that this will be beneficial to the town in the long run.

Harpswellians have a long term and balanced perspective. They can see beyond the false lure of the lease money. They are not greedy. They are a caring people who are deeply concerned about their neighbors and the harm this will bring to them. They can comprehend that one town industry (and THE major town job provider) will tremendously suffer to benefit another. They understand that the lowered tax effect is cursory and temporary. They understand that allowing this facility will ultimately raise taxes as a result of increased municipal spending due to population growth and development pressures triggered by the combination of industrial growth and artificially lowered taxes. They want a safe, unfettered and quiet community where they can go to work and raise their children...all the things that Fairwinds will disrupt. They truly want to live in harmony with their fellow townspeople and are willing to wait for an alternative that is acceptable to the whole town, not just a particular segment. They know life will go on just fine after LNG is gone.

I'm certain the folks at Fairplay were surprised and alarmed by your comments and they will reverse their position immediately.

  • 11/23

To Denis Gagnon,

In my opinion, you need to clarify the position of Friends of  Harpswell. What are you advocating; the proposal made by ConocoPhillips, the siting of a LNG regassification plant in general, or industrialization of Harpswell? Has your group searched out the the information the voters are seeking or are you merely parroting back the company's sales pitch? Do you plan to undertake any independent analysis of the alleged benefits to the town? If  Foulwinds were to become a reality, how would abutters, Middle Bay fishermen, and folks dependent on tourism fare. You and your group are not helping anyone if your only role is to criticize the activities and motives of FairPlay.

Thanks,

  • 11/23

To Elizabeth Davis's comment,  thank you and I agree regardless of the side of the fence we are on. Your comment is appreciated.

To Chris Duval:  Your comment on the impacts represents more of the fear tactics.  You are the Friend's best friend because the common folks see right through your statements.  Good luck in your endeavors to promote the "YES Vote"

  • 11/23

Dear Governor Baldacci,

I know that you are considering permitting LNG facilities into your fine state because your residents have contacted me here in California, and because I closely follow LNG related stories.

As you may already know, I host a comprehensive website on the Risks and Danger of LNG recognized by the energy industry, Federal and State agencies, universities and journalists the world over.
Read the rest of this letter here.

  • 11/22

Much has been said by LNG proponents regarding the exceptional safety of their product.  They have explained its exceptional safety based, in part, on its limited flammability ratio (5 to 15 % air mixture) and that is it lighter than air.  They have suggested that because of these properties, a leak of LNG would most likely diffuse harmlessly up into the atmosphere.  Is there a scientific basis for this claim?  Let’s look.
For the rest of this article please click here.

  • 11/21

One theme I have heard repeated from the group "Friends of Harpswell" is that if the "Fairwinds" LNG project proposal is defeated, only a few will benefit and many more will lost. I disagree with that remark, as do many others. If the multi national energy companies get their way and this project is built, here are just a few of the people and groups will lose:

Abutters, who will see their properties rendered virtually unlivable, and their property values drastically reduced. The harm that this group would experience in almost incalculable. To most of these people, their property in Harpswell is not just a home. It is a treasured part of their lives, of who they are. Is it fair to rip this from them to save money on taxes?

The fishermen who work the affected waters, not just in Harpswell, but in Freeport, Brunswick and other towns in the area --those who work for, or supply these fishermen -- and the families of these fishermen. These people are the soul of Harpswell. I believe that there are lobster boats on the town seal -- not 120 foot tall LNG tanks. Again, is it really OK to harm these people for money?

Tourist related businesses, especially those in the Harpswell Neck area. Does anyone really think that tourism won't decrease once Harpswell becomes known as the home of a massive LNG facility?

Anyone who lives in any part of town that will be subjected to the views of 1,000 foot tankers or of the very large industrial complex, lit at night, patrolled by armed guards, spewing pollution and noise into the environment

All of those residents who will have to assume the safety risks imposed on them by a major LNG plant, built so two major multi national energy companies can increase their profits

Those Harpswell residents who will have to suffer through 2 years of the noise and clamor of construction, which, I would imagine, is just about anyone living on Harpswell neck

People who enjoy boating or kayaking in Middle Bay. Their ability to enjoy these pursuits will be severely diminished

The town itself. If we let this massive industrial project in, it will without doubt be followed by others. More big industry is sure to follow, and eventually Harpswell, Maine becomes an industrialized, blighted dot on the map.

This project is completely inappropriate for Harpswell. There are just a few of the groups and people who will be harmed by this project. The only good aspect of this is that we can stop it by voting no on January 27th (or whenever the election actually occurs).

  • 11/21

I am increasingly concerned about the nature of the discourse surrounding the Fairwinds debate in our town. Too many unkind, insulting words have been said and written by people on both sides of this issue ( I refer not so much to this website as I do to the Anchor Community Bulletin Board and public comments at televised meetings). We need to make a concerted effort to increase our level of civility, or we risk losing something that should be precious to all of us, our integrity. Personal attacks have no place in this debate.

We disagree. Some of us disagree with our neighbors and people we¹ve worked closely with for years. Some of us even disagree with our good friends. That¹s okay. Some of us will change our minds; some of us won¹t. But what would happen if we tried to understand the feelings of those around us who think differently? What would it mean if we didn¹t ascribe underhanded motives to their beliefs? We¹d have to think of our neighbors as people worthy of respect just like us. No matter how the vote turns out, on January 21st, there will be relationships that need healing, and each one of us has a part to play in that process. May we be instruments of peace in the coming days, even as we struggle with the discomfort of disagreement.

  • 11/20

I respect the opposition's concerns.  The entire town will benefit if the proposal passes.  Only a few will benefit if it is defeated.  I have Fairwinds signs and Friends of Harpswell signs if anyone is interested.  Call me at 725-2865 or Email me at Denisg39@aol.com and I will deliver and install them for you.  Thanks for your support.

  • 11/19

I strongly suggest to "Friends of Harpswell" that a more appropriate name be chosen for the group.  Surely all residents are friends of Harpswell, whether pro or con the Fairwinds proposal.  Why further polarize the townspeople.

  • 11/18

Thank you, George, very much for your clarification on the TIF district. My writings on the subject were culled from reading the State of Maine Economic and Community Development’s source document: “Tax Increment Financing Rules” (link below) and reviewing a representative application to the state for the approval of the district. In it, not only do the rules seem to indicate that the establishment of the district must by approved by town voters as one step of the process, it indicates that the application for the district will be approved if the designated money is earmarked for certain uses. The application then lists, on a separate page, the many categories that define such usage. The definition of a TIF district was obtained from the same site.

I’m not a lawyer though, so any additional information provided by the attorney would really be most helpful.

Bear in mind I’m not an expert at this either, but research gave me the impression that the approval of the TIF by town’s people was only one step in a several step process and that the community had to qualify for the TIF. You couldn’t just say “We want a TIF to get out of paying an unequal share for the schools” and the state would just say, “Okay”. The town had to have a solid business reason for the state to allow the exception.

Everything that I’d read about the TIF indicated that it was a tax incentive program meant to attract and keep business and a tool for redeveloping blighted areas in a town (maybe a future tool for Harpswell if the LNG project is allowed?) versus an “avoid school funding inequities” maneuver…though I can easily see how it can (and in some cases, needs to…”everyone else is doing it”) be used as such. Such maneuvering has some unusual results as towns try to “work the system” in this fashion.

Further input and illumination from the attorneys would be very helpful. Thanks for your comments.

Meanwhile: Here are a few more TIF links for folks to get better educated:

http://www.mecep.org/pdfs/rep97TIFS.pdf (Maine Center for Economic Policy)

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/research/ch6tif.pdf (Good jobs first)

ftp://ftp.state.me.us/pub/sos/cec/rcn/apa/19/100/100c001.doc (Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Rules for Maine’s Municipal and State Tax Increment Financing Rules)

  • 11/17

I’m not well versed in TIF districts enough to give a good explanation, but I believe Kevin White hasn’t “missed a step” but has added a few the Town won’t be doing. Everything he is stating is something the municipality “may” do not something it “shall” do. This makes a big difference. The Town will not be giving any financial incentives or building any infrastructure for Fairwinds. The only thing the town will be doing is creating a TIF district, which removes that real property from State valuation of the Town. This will keep the property from causing an increase in State Valuation which would result in the Town paying more in county and school taxes. It would be good if the Town’s financial attorney from Jensen, Baird could write up an explanation of this that could be on your site and the Town’s site because it can be confusing and easily misinterpreted.

  • 11/16

Kevin White has written a significant piece about TIF. You can read revised version here.

  • 11/16

Dennis Gagnon' has every right to call FairPlay¹s Freedom of Information Act suit ridiculous. He is entitled to his opinion, and to express that opinion here and elsewhere. But he does have one thing wrong. As we have been over before, the 450 members of FairPlay are suing for information, not money. Our suit asks that if the town does lose the suit, that the town pick up "costs". Costs, in this case would be incidentals like filing fees -- estimated to be at most $200-$400. As I said to selectman Weil at a recent town meeting, if we do win our suit, FairPlay will waive this and we will pay for these costs. We do not want the town to have to pay

When Mr. Gagnon calls me a recent citizen, we all know that is code for "from away." Not that it's any of Mr. Gagnon's business, but I have been in Maine since 1977. I watched the tape of the roughly 20 people at the "Friends of Fairwinds" meeting the other night, and there was at least one reference to members of FairPlay being new to Harpswell. Well, some of us are new to the beautiful town we call home -- maybe that is one reason we can see everything the town could lose by going ahead with this project. Sometimes, when something is new, it¹s easier to see just how beautiful and unique it is. Many other members of FairPlay, like Walter Norton and Connie Tassineri, have had the privilege of living here for all, or most of their lives.

Friends of Fairwinds have every right to organize, enthusiastically endorse the ³Fairwinds ³ project and do whatever else they want. A few of the people at their meeting made intelligent, thoughtful comments on why this project would be good for Harps well. There is a lot of money involved, and without doubt, that money could be put to good use.

However, there were many incorrect comments made at the meeting. I can't address them all, but one sticks out. It was charged that FairPlay paid for The Fishing Families Count Too signs, bumper stickers and buttons. I am proud to say that we did produce these signs. I'm sure that everyone has seen them, as there are hundreds posted all over town, with many more going up everyday. However, the lobstermen paid for the printing of those signs. Rather that criticizing fishing families and others who choose to put up these signs, I might suggest that the Friends of² Fairwinds² join me and many others who are choosing to help our fishing families. They have hired a lawyer to help them through this difficult period, and it is costing them a lot of money. Please help by sending a check to:

The Fisherman's Defense Fund,
c/o Paul Hickey,
PO Box 386,
Harpswell, Maine 04079.

Please donate to this fund today.

  • 11/15

Deb Levensailor and Denis Gagnon,

In regards to the name change of your group from "Friends of Fairwinds" to" Friends of Harpswell "".....let's get real. I'm a Harpswellian and you are not my friend. A friend is someone you can count on for understanding and compassion. Do you have compassion for the folks who live in Birchmere and Edgewater? Can you empathize with my 86 year old aunt whose owned a camp there since 1960? Her place is literally a stone's throw away from the proposed site. She likes to sit on her screened in porch and read and listen to the wind in the trees. Or how about those of us that love to swim in those waters? Our ages range from 2 to 75. My father, who passed away last year, left to his kids a one room cabin in Birchmere. He had no money to leave behind, so this was his legacy and to me, it is priceless. Do you have compassion for the lobstermen who fish those waters? Can you put yourself in their shoes as they now have to fight to keep their livelihoods intact? As if it isn't tough enough for them already. Keep your original name. With friends like you, who needs enemies.

  • 11/14

I called the Fairwinds call in last night. To ask who in the Federal Government, oversees tanker regulation zones? I was told first that FERC did then, it was said the Coast Guard and then it was said the Department of  Transportation.

So who sets the regulations? Read this article from the Mobile Register.

http://www.al.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news/106716357361900.xml

  • 11/14

We will have our second meeting Mon., 11/17 at the Grange Hall.  Poster signs will be available next week promoting LNG.  If anyone is interested in a sign on their property, please contact me at 725-2865.  Thanks!

  • 11/13

I would like to comment on Kevin White's  comment about Fairwinds reneging an open ended attorney's fees, etc.  I can't think of any corporation having a responsibility to their stock holders and board of directors giving attorneys a blank check.  Their, Fairwinds, over of $100,000 is reasonable to get the project through voting day.  There is also a provision for additional dollars to be approved if supported by a change of scope.  A blank check would indeed provide for a Merry Xmas for some attorneys!

FairPlay's suit against the town is reason to challenge legal fees.  We the tax payers have to pay for town actions.  We will have to pay for the ridiculous suit by FairPlay unless Mr. Duval, as a recent citizen, volunteers to pick up the tab.

The following two comments relate to Peter Micciche announcement about not answering any more questions from this website. See 11/12/03 in What's New

  • 11/12

  • It sounds to me like Peter is getting surly because his polling isn't telling him what he wants to hear....

    I'm surprised that the selectmen were surprised that Fairwinds tried to renege on the originally open ended attorney's fees/development charges and put a cap on the amount...

    It sounds to me like Fairwinds is not quite as sure as they used to be that this will go through and they are moving to control costs...not wanting to throw good money after bad....

    If Harpswell can't trust this company's word to fork over chump change for attorney costs, what makes them think that this company can be trusted to not to try and twist around the lease agreement in another attempt to control costs? Everything's good when things are good...but if markets sour...even a little....

    Might Harpswell NOT see all the money as promised?

    Hmmmm......

    • 11/12

    I find it interesting Fairwinds believes all the pertinent questions have been answered. I have sent Mr. Micciche several emails asking for answers to some pretty specific questions, but he's failed to answer them. He hasn't even had the courtesy to acknowledge that I sent the questions! Perhaps a public forum will force him to answer two simple questions:

    1) Will the Fairwinds human resources department include language in their hiring guidelines that gives preference to prospective employees who live in Harpswell? We seem to think that one of the best parts of the proposal is the opportunity for jobs for Harpswellians; will Fairwinds commit to seeing that Harpswell residents are hired over non-Harpswell residents?

    2) I would like to see their thermal exclusion zone maps. Surely such basic information was explored during the initial site review. After all, why would they pursue such a proposal if they weren't certain that the homes that abut the property were outside the TEZ? Given the lack of scale on the original Fairwinds 'artwork', I'd like to know that their TEZ measurements are, in fact, accurate.

    And how about two more:

    3) What is the status of the correct artwork that was promised nearly two months ago?

    4) And back to employment issues. Presumable ConocoPhillips and TransCanada are in the LNG operation business, but not the LNG terminal construction business. Let's say they contract the building of the terminal out to an established LNG builder, say Chicago Bridge and Iron. Will one of the stipulations of the contract award be that CBI train and hire from Harpswell population? Will CBI be required to train under water welders, pipe fitters, deconstruction and construction specialists? Would they consider a 10% or 20% local hire stipulation in the contract before it goes out to bid?

    Fairwinds has said they are open to answering all questions. I, personally, have found them to be woefully lacking in details, but we should not be surprised. This project has not been planned with any degree of detail. Even the Times Record reported that all specifications submitted are non binding. If none of the promises Fairwinds is making are binding, why should we take their word for anything?

    Sounds like a deal with the devil to me.

  • 11/12

  • On the www.HarpswellAnchor.com/community site, there was a discussion about the report commissioned by FairPlay for Harpswell. Someone mistakenly thought it was an environmental study. It is not.

    Such a study is called a "Social Impact Assessment" (also Development Impact Assessment) and it is paramount for any community that is undertaking a giant step such as this. I am pleased that FairPlay has initiated the study. It is the responsible and prudent thing to do. Many Harpswell families, because of the large numbers being thrown at them, and the lure of property tax mitigation, mis-believe that they will be better off after accepting this project. This study will tell the whole story, the complete picture...the long view. The results may surprise both sides of this issue.
    It will help focus and define what is Harpswell's "most likely" future of this chosen development path.
    Remember what I've been saying all along the "real" question is: "What do you want your town to be when it grows up?" These studies assist in helping define what the future ramifications of such a project are. They portray what your town will look like.
    To learn about these studies, follow these links:
    http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/social_impact_guide.htm
    http://www.lic.wisc.edu/shapingdane/facilitation/all_resources/impacts/analysis_intro.htm
    (The Wisconsin 2nd one) site is easier to read and understand...it's written in friendlier "lay terms".)

    These types of studies are elementary when a town faces such a huge decision. They are a matter "of course"! From the moment the meetings began with the town selectmen, a Social Impact Assessment should have been commissioned for the town. It would have been done by the time the announcement eventually came...giving valuable information with which to make an informed decision regarding the town's direction.

    Once the FairPlay report is issued, I hope that everyone will pay heed to the information contained therein. It's important that Harpswellians understand what possible future this decision could bring for them.

  • 11/12

  • I thought the most telling statement made at Saturday's meeting in Cundy,s Harbor was the comment attributed to the Everett Mass Fire Chief.  He was asked by Wells, Maine residents how well prepared he thought Everett was in terms of LNG firefighting.  His response was very reassuring (paraphrased) - We have 26 large municipal fire departments in the area; they will be here in force in the event of a problem.  Continuing, the Wells folks asked how he would feel if he had a volunteer department and no municipal water supply.  His response was OH MY GOD....and the rest unprintable.

     

     

     

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