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
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!
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
Kev White has sent in an
article he calls revenue generation. Link <Kevin
Kev White, Beautiful Harpswell Maine.
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
I have added a comment by Maria Sophia Tufts who
presents an unusual perspective on the LNG issue.
Read it here.
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
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!
Thank you, Burr for deleting Kev White's 4th article.
And thank you too, Kevin for realizing it wasn't in good taste.
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: email@example.com
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.
"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
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.
Thank you Peter Micciche for summing the situation up
If you would like to read the article this quote came
from, you can find it by clicking Features A year of division
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
I added a couple of more paragraphs to
Cheryl Golek's page 6
Cheryl Golek sent in a 3 page comment on ConocoPhillips
which, as she says, goes beyond the PR.
You can read it here.
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.
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
-- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Background and Issues for Congress
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
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 !
Rally: Fishing Families for Harpswell
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.
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
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!
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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".
TOOTHFAIRY ASSURANCES CONCERNING
#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.
#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.
#3 The state will not decrease disbursements to Harpswell despite the
subsidies received from Fairwinds by Harpswell.
#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.
#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.
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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
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
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”??
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….
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…--
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
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.--
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
I'm certain the folks at Fairplay were surprised and alarmed by your
comments and they will reverse their position immediately.
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.
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"
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
(Maine Center for Economic Policy)
(Good jobs first)
(Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Rules for
Maine’s Municipal and State Tax Increment Financing Rules)
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.
Kevin White has written a
significant piece about TIF.
You can read revised version here.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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:
(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.
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.
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.