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Frequently, and not so frequently, asked questions (FAQ)

Please ask questions here that should have an answer.  Maybe someone will answer them, maybe not. If I think I can find an answer, I will try to do so, which may include asking Fairwinds or the Selectmen. If many questions come in one email, I will include them as one question Where known, and unless otherwise requested I will be included the submitters name and location. [bwt]  Submit a question.

I put new questions at the top of the list. I have started putting a large date ({10/5}: ) before an answer to help you find new answers.

I send some of these questions on to the Selectmen or to Fairwinds. I do not send questions that I consider rhetorical or baiting. I will send questions that appear to be seeking information.

Fairwinds now has a FAQ which appears to be very comprehensive with 84 questions. It looks like a good place for answers. You can get there here

Also, The Anchor is planning to post the insert with all their questions.

Below are questions that Martica Sawin asked Fairwinds on her own. Since some are new, I am including them all here.

54-1. I have heard that the tankers supplying Fairwinds do not belong to the company. Is this correct? If so under what country are they registered? What guarantees are there that they are adequately insured? What security checks are the members of the crew passed through?

In relation to its global LNG business, ConocoPhillips is considering commissioning the construction of several new LNG tankers. ConocoPhillips' Marine Department will exert a very high degree of control over vessels and crew arriving in Harpswell, either through direct ownership of vessels or long-term charter agreements. In today's LNG trade, either the buyer or the seller of LNG typically owns the vessel. However decisions on the ownership of LNG vessels for the Fairwinds project have not been made at this time.

Based on standard industry practices, ConocoPhillips anticipates that ships chartered to deliver LNG to the Fairwinds terminal are likely to be registered in foreign countries. Every vessel that delivers LNG to the Fairwinds terminal will be thoroughly vetted by ConocoPhillips' Marine Department to ensure full compliance with national and international maritime regulations and standards. The crew will be highly trained and capable of performing to our high standards. All crews must clear rigorous checks by the Coast Guard, as well as Customs and Immigration, before ships are allowed to enter U.S. ports.

Within U.S. waters, LNG carriers are subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, which are focused on safety. The U.S. Coast Guard has authority over the design, construction, staffing, and operation of LNG ships, as well as the duties of the ship's officers and crew. The U.S.

Coast Guard conducts inspections to ensure that ships have adequate environmental protection and safety equipment, and that operators are conforming to all other maritime standards.

54-2. How much of the constructions and operational costs of Fairwinds will be paid for by the Federal government if the amount for LNG in the Energy Bill stands when it again comes up for passage?

All of the costs for construction and operation of the Fairwinds facilities will be paid for by the venture partners, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada.

54-3. At the meeting it was said that the Coast Guard would send a warning when the tankers were approaching. How will we receive that warning. We use our small boat for fishing all the time; my son in law takes contributors to his organization fishing, people who come here specifically for that purpose. Suppose they arrive and are forbidden to go out or that they are over fishing in the Basin and start for home on the other side of Basin Point not knowing that a tanker is en route?

Although the exact amount of advanced notification that the USCG will allow Fairwinds to provide fishermen and other water users in Casco Bay is not yet known, we have met with the Commander of the USCG in Portland to discuss how notification could occur. First, there is a Port Safety Forum that meets quarterly to determine the most effective means of communication between users of a port facility. Second, we will be permitted to notify all affected wharfs at least a couple of days in advance so they can notify fishermen. Typically, the Coast Guard broadcasts a notice to mariners about 24 hours before a ship's arrival.

The Coast Guard establishes safety zones for LNG ships that are specific to conditions in a given channel or port and apply while the ship is in motion and when it is berthed. No waterborne traffic is allowed to intrude into this safety zone without permission. The Coast Guard has not yet determined the size of the safety zone for this project. However, in an October 6, 2003 article in the Portland Press Herald, Lt. Dean Jones of the USCG suggests that the Harpswell security zone would more closely reflect that in Cove Point MD, which requires a 500-yard security zone while transiting the Chesapeake Bay and while berthed at the Cove Point LNG terminal, instead of the larger security zone required in Boston which is a heavily populated and industrialized area. The Coast Guard will determine the size of the safety zone specific to the Fairwinds LNG operations during the permit application phase of the project.

These safety zones are not permanent restrictions. They apply only in the vicinity of the ship as it navigates Casco Bay or is berthed at the terminal's dock. There potentially could be some temporary restrictions on access to water-based activities such as boating or kayaking in the channel during ship transit, docking and berthing if those activities were to occur inside the Coast Guard established safety zone. Based on preliminary information from the pilots on vessel speeds through Broad Sound and the Whaleboat Island channel, we anticipate that access for water users at any given point would be no more than 30 minutes as the ship passes. Although not guaranteed, the Coast Guard has indicated that there is a probability that traditional users in a location could receive a permit to carry on activities inside the security zone.

54-4. We swim off our dock opposite the north end of Whaleboat Island daily in the summer months. Will we be in danger or forbidden to swim?

Please see the comment above. Also, we will be working with the Coast Guard to identify a specific channel that ships will use as they approach the terminal. Which side of Whaleboat Island the carriers will use to access the terminal is still to be determined . If your dock is located across from the northern end of Whaleboat (I believe you are on Crows Nest Way), it is unlikely that swimming would be prohibited in the vicinity of your dock or that swimmers would be in any danger from a passing ship, at least significantly less danger than they might be from pleasure or fishing boats that could operate in close proximity to your dock.

54-5. We frequently eat the mussels gathered on our shorefront when there is no red tide. What will the effect of the various discharges from ship and shore have on the edibility of mussels or the population itself?

Vessels serving the Fairwinds terminal during construction and operations will comply with regulations for grey or black water discharge. No vessel will discharge ballast and no refueling of the vessels will be done at the LNG terminal.

54-6. I am told that Fairwinds will make no restitution to Harpswell Neck residents whose property becomes valueless. Is this correct?

The Fairwinds project will bring significant economic benefits to the community of Harpswell. Any comments related to property values are highly speculative.

54-6A -2 (Chris Duval) The "economic benefits" to Harpswell that the ConocoPhillips/TransCanada people continually refer to are highly speculative. The damage to abutters property values if this project is built are also, of course, speculative, as the project does not yet exist.

53Q: Is it true that Fairwinds has hired Dennis Bailey who directed the Casino No campaign to produce a win for Conoco?
Has Fairwinds ceased to answer reasonable questions? 

53A

52B Where are the environmentalist on Fairwinds.....just because the depot is less than pristine?

52A: I have written Audubon and NRCM to see if they have an opinion.

51Q I have a request for information that I have heard very little about, but I believe to be one of the most important issues in the Fairwinds proposal. I would like to see a map of the area the ships will travel through, with a rectangle drawn on it representing the area taken up by the ship and by the so-called safety zone around it. I'd like to see just how much water will be unavailable to normal human beings while the ship is in motion.
If so, is it true that the "safety" of that zone will be enforced by escort boats with machine guns?
Chris Hall

51A

50Q: I am not sure how questions are being answered at this point, but I  would like to pose this one, just for clarification: Will there be a smell associated with this plant or related pipeline?

50A

49Q-1: What will be the impact of the arrival and departure of "tankers" on other than fishing craft in the bay? Will pleasure craft have restrictions? Will the safety of the LNG bombs require that boaters stay away from normal activities?

49Q-2: If pleasure boating is hampered, What will the impact be on the tourist industry in Harpswell, Brunswick, Freeport, etc.? How many "small" businesses will be impacted? Marinas, Restaurants, B&B's, cottage rentals? etc.

49Q-3: What will be the impact of terrorist precautions on the normal lives of Harpswell residents and guests?

49Q-4: Will we be hampered from our normal recreation?

49A [Peter Micciche answered 11/11; posted 12/14] Response for all 49Q

The US Coast Guard establishes safety zones for LNG ships that are specific to conditions in a given channel or port and apply while the ship is in motion and when it is berthed. No waterborne traffic is allowed to intrude into this safety zone without permission. The Coast Guard has not yet determined the size of the safety zone for this project. However, in an October 6, 2003 article in the Portland Press Herald, Lt. Dean Jones of the USCG suggests that the Harpswell security zone would more closely reflect that in Cove Point MD, which requires a 500-yard security zone while transiting the Chesapeake Bay and while berthed at the Cove Point LNG terminal, instead of the larger security zone required in Boston which is a heavily populated and industrialized area. The Coast Guard will determine the size of the safety zone specific to the Fairwinds LNG operations during the permit application phase of the project.

These safety zones are not permanent restrictions. They apply only in the vicinity of the ship as it navigates Casco Bay or is berthed at the terminal’s dock. There potentially could be some temporary restrictions on access to water-based activities such as boating or kayaking in the channel during ship transit, docking and berthing if that activity were to occur inside the Coast Guard established safety zone. Although not guaranteed, the Coast Guard has indicated that there is a probability that traditional users in a location could receive a permit to carry on activities inside the security zone.

When commenting on issues important to our national well-being it is important that we don’t capitulate to perceived threats and scare tactics that do not reflect history or reality, and don’t unwittingly support the agenda of terrorist organizations who seek to undermine our quality of life.

48Q: How about this? Have fairwinds arrange to have a "dry run". Have an  LNG tanker with ballast ONLY be met at the 200 mile escort limit by the U.S. Coast guard, then accompanying tugs as will be needed and come into port (on the ONLY approved route)? If there is more than one then enter on all of them and dock. Have the coast guard place into effect ALL restrictions and precautions for operations and safety. Then we will know the impact of arrival and departure of the tankers.

48A:

47Q: I have been told that, according to a Conoco representative, the tankers transporting LNG to Harpswell will not belong to the company. If this is correct, is it possible for the company to tell us under what country's flag these vessels will operate? whether it is a country conforming to international seafaring regulations? what type of insurance coverage the company operating the tankers will be required to carry? and what kind of security will govern the hiring of crew members? [M.R.Sawin, Basin Point]

47A: [Peter Micciche (He answered this on 11/11/03, but I missed posting it.] In relation to its global LNG business, ConocoPhillips is considering commissioning the construction of several new LNG tankers. ConocoPhillips’ Marine Department will exert a very high degree of control over vessels and crew arriving in Harpswell, either through direct ownership of vessels or long-term charter agreements. In today’s LNG trade, either the buyer or the seller of LNG typically owns the vessel. However decisions on the ownership of LNG vessels for the Fairwinds project have not been made at this time.

Ships chartered to deliver LNG to the Fairwinds terminal are likely to be registered in foreign countries in keeping with standard industry practices. Every vessel that delivers LNG to the Fairwinds terminal will be thoroughly vetted by ConocoPhillips’ Marine Department to ensure full compliance with national and international maritime regulations and standards. The crew will be highly trained and capable of performing to our high standards. All crews must clear rigorous checks by the Coast Guard, as well as Customs and Immigration, before ships are allowed to enter U.S. ports.

Within U.S. waters, LNG carriers are subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, which are focused on safety. The U.S. Coast Guard has authority over the design, construction, staffing, and operation of LNG ships, as well as the duties of the ship’s officers and crew. The U.S. Coast Guard conducts inspections to ensure that ships have adequate environmental protection and safety equipment, and that operators are conforming to all other maritime standards.

46Q: If the pipeline construction meets with HARD rock bottom, how will the construction company guarantee that silt and other by- products will not negatively impact the lobster fishery? This includes above sea bottom 4 foot diameter pipes which impede lobster migration.

46A

45Q: Why don't the proponents of the Terminal do ALL the studies necessary to determine the route of the pipeline And its construction, And the effects on fishing of that construction (during & after) for years to come?

45Q:

44Q: Why is a LNG terminal in HARPSWELL favorable to one on the offshore islands of Casco Bay near Portland since the pipeline will assuredly go to the ports of  the west?

44A

43Q: What is the "offset" of jobs gained vs. jobs lost? Construction is temporary, Permanent jobs ca. 8 vs. 50-60 fishermen?

43A:

42Q: I have been told that "Fairwinds" should have on file a chart called a Thermal Exclusion Zone (TEZ). This chart would show what number of deaths and what types of injuries can be expected within certain distances from that proposed tanks in the unlikely event of a major disaster. I have seen the TEZ chart for the Wells, Maine project that was defeated, and it shows exactly what homes and buildings are in the different zones, and what type of casualties and damage would be expected in a worst case scenario. Does "Fairwinds" have such a chart, and will they release it to the public?

42A

41Q: Why was there no public hearings on the Tradewinds project before the announcement was made in mid September? 

41Q: [bwt] The correct name is Fairwinds. It is my understanding that the Selectmen first heard of the project in August. The time up until the announcement on September 18 was used for negotiation. Public hearings began after it was announced.

We are summer residents and taxpayers. If we hadn't returned later on Columbus Day weekend, we would still be in the dark about Tradewinds.  Why was the announcement made after most of the summer residents left?

41Q: [bwt] It is my understanding that the announcement was made as soon as the Selectman were satisfied they had made the best deal possible.

Why is a selectman with ties to the energy industry in a decision making capacity? 

41A [bwt] I assume because he was elected as Selectman by the people of Harpswell.

Why is a vote being taken before an environmental study conducted?

41A [bwt] There is not time to complete one prior to January 20, when the vote will take place. Also, Fairwinds does not want to begin the expensive process until it has assurance that the town will agree to the project

If you could shed some light on these issues for us, we would be very appreciative. [Jane Perkins, George Perkins, 3 Matthews Way

41A:

40Q What kind of impact will the freezing of the bays during the winter have on the unloading process of the gas. will the ships be able to move in and out during these ice ups, are moving ice sheets a threat to these ships while they are docked. ice is common in those bays despite the fact that we have been relatively ice free for a number of years not including last winter when the bays did in fact ice up heavily. [John Powers]

40A

39Q: We have been told that there would be little effect on the movements of recreational and commercial boats in the area, partly because these boats could get permits that would allow them to move about with relative freedom. What would happen with visiting boats? 
We have also been told that a terrorist attack is a remote possibility in Harpswell. However, what would happen if there were a terrorist attack on Boston or any where else in the U.S.? How quickly and for how long would the freedom of movement of commercial and recreational boats in Harpswell be severely curtailed?

39A

38Q: I have heard a couple of people say, in effect, "if the fisherman can deal with the tankers in Portland Harbor, they can learn to deal with LNG tankers in Harpswell."  Can anyone explain why that is either a fair or an unfair statement? In other words, is comparing Harpswell with Portland helpful? Joe Payne's list (see Friends of Casco Bay on Links page) suggests that it is not fair in some respects. [bwt]

38A:

37Q: Harpswell's 1993 Comprehensive Plan needs to be amended according to Selectman Weil because "we didn't know in 1993" that the town would have the fuel depot.  The proposed amendments will accommodate the Fairwinds project or other future industrial type projects.  Then shouldn't we also be amending the entire Section VII, Public Access?  Under Background.. "The greatest obstacle to the public's enjoyment of the waterfront is the limited public access.  The Town's landings become congested with vehicles and trailers on sunny weekends, frustrating local residents and fishermen who have traditionally used the landings......"  Under Goals and Policies for Public Access the following stands out the most to me.  c. Identify potential points of public access to the shoreline, and where appropriate, secure title to them  d. Identify existing and potential points of public access to the shoreline such as the Naval Fuel Depot as part of a long-term open space/recreation/public access plan.

The new Comprehensive plan that was supposed to be voted on in 2003 was delayed until 2004 and now the selectmen have delayed it yet another year.  The draft of the new Comprehensive Plan under Public Access included under Goals & Policies the following. "Support use of the fuel depot property, in part, for public access to the ocean

37Q:

36Q: I have read and reread the memorandum of offer from ConocoPhillips and nowhere can I find a binding provision for financing the eventual clean-up and demolition of construction on the site after thirty or fifty years.  At the October 7 hearing with the Selectmen, one of the selectmen stated that the cost of demolition of the existing and now evidently unsafe pier was estimated at $2,000,000.  What might the cost be fifty years hence of removing the large amount of very solid construction proposed by ConocoPhillips, with inflation factored in?  Who takes care of it if the market for or supply of liquid natural gas collapses and the company goes out of business?  Wouldn't Harpswell taxpayers want protection against this possibility in the form of a bond posted at the start of the lease? 

36A{10/21} [From the MOO:]

13.           Obligation to Remediate in the Event of Termination.  In the event of termination of the Lease for whatever reason, Lessee is obligated (i) to restore the Site to its immediately pre-lease condition, and (ii) to remove improvements, provided, however, the Town can waive these obligations in whole or in part except that the Town may not waive the obligation to remove improvements should maintaining said structure on the site cause the Lessee any continuing liability.  Lessee shall provide security for these obligations satisfactory to Lessor.

36Q-2 In reading the paragraphs preceding the ones you cite it would seem that "termination" implies before the lease expires and the wording should be adjusted to read termination or expiration.  In addition there is no specific amount or vehicle given as assurance in the event of the company's inability to pay these expenses.  My point was that the Selectmen should be right now requiring the posting of a bond for at least $100,000,000 to be used for demolition and clean up in the event of a failure in the LNG business, as when we all turn to wind power or when the lease expires in 30 years.  If the estimate for removing the current pier is $2,000,000 as the Selectmen stated on October 7, imagine with inflation what it might cost to remove those 12 story tanks, the longer pier, the pipes and all that does not show in Conoco's imaginary picture of the site.

36-2A

35Q: Peter Micciche frequently mentions that fishermen and recreational boaters can obtain a permit from the US Coast Guard allowing them to operate near the terminal while taking on product and in the vicinity of ships transiting to and from the pier.  Has the Coast Guard already agreed to this?
[Keith Jensen, Birchmere Lane
]

35A: {10/19}[bwt]: As I understand it, the Coast Guard cannot provide answers until the project is ready to go. His answer is based on experience in other areas, particularly Alaska.
Also, see question #22 just answered on 10/21.

34Q: What is  the total value of Harpswells lobster industry in town ..not just pounds landed but total monies derived from the industry from wholesale ,retail, restaurants, etc.. [j powers]

33Q: Is it customary for town officials, selectmen, to receive monetary contributions from the company involved whether in the form of stock options or cash after a deal of this magnitude is completed? [bwt]

33A:{10/22}[Fairwinds]:  There will be no payments made to officials at any level by Fairwinds, ConocoPhillips or TransCanada. To do so would violate corporate governance and code of business ethics standards for both of the proponent companies. Both companies are committed to the highest ethical standards. All parties are negotiating the deal in good faith on behalf of their constituents.

32Q: Are the minutes of the Fuel Depot Committee for the last couple of years available? [bwt]

32A{10/19}[Dee Williamson] Do not know if the Fuel Depot Committee has filed minutes, but the committee guidelines state that committees are to have minutes of each meeting and that they are to be filed with the town office within five days of committee approval.  I have found information to be lacking when requesting (several different) committee minutes. 

32A {10/22}[Town] Committee minutes are available at the Town Office. Please contact Linda Strickland.

31Q: The July issue of the Anchor had an article about the Fuel Depot. It said, "Fuel depot committee chairwoman, Roberta Weil, says her panel is finalizing a new report that outlines the pros, cons, feasibility and obstacles of various proposed uses for the property commonly known as the former Fuel Depot, . . ." What has happened to that  report? Will it be issued? I think it is more important now than it was in July. [bwt]

31A {10/19}[Dee Williamson]  If the committee submits a report to the town it is public info.  Copies probably will not be "issued" as in mailed to taxpayers but you may request a copy...probably for a fee.

31A: {10/22}[Town]There is no report at this time, but it is my understanding the Committee may submit one by year-end.

30Q: I just spoke with a friend of mine who says she received a call from Fairwinds asking if she would like to reduce her taxes by 50 %. After speaking with friends, she believe Fairwinds is contacting everyone on a fixed income in Harpswell and suggesting that should they vote in favor of the LNG facility that their taxes will be reduced by 50%.
Can anyone else out there confirm they got a similar phone call?

30A: {10/15}: I have twice asked why this person thought it was Fairwinds calling. I am waiting for an answer. [bwt]

30A: {10/18}:Peter Micciche has told me that Fairwinds has made and will make telephone surveys. But not this one. [bwt]

29A: One report in the Times Record reported "desalinization" as an activity of "Unfairwinds" with NO explanation of the reason for the need, nor of the impact of the process and its byproducts on the Harpswell environment (that includes Air, Water, and Land) degradation. Also, What about noise and light impact on the site?
How many other ancillary activities will negatively impact and degrade the beauty, economy, and "Life as it should be" in our most lovely town?
Note: Some of these have been discussed. For example, Fairwinds provided a noise sample at their open houses. (50db)

29A:

28Q: How come Fairwinds does not seem to be posting any of their meetings on their website as they said they would be doing?

28A {10/22}[Fairwinds]: There have been no recent meetings. New information sessions are planned prior to the December 1 public hearing on the lease. The schedule for these meetings will be published on the Fairwinds web page.

I keep checking their website and since the open houses, they have posted nothing. For example, they did not post their (open to public meeting) with the Utilities & Energy Committee of the Maine State Legislature, or the meeting with the lobstermen this past week. And they have not posted to the public box lunch meeting they are speaking at this Wednesday at the Elijah Kellogg Church.

28A: {10/12}:The Kellogg Church meeting is the Men's Brownbag lunch, which is Tuesday, Oct. 14th at noon. Bring a lunch, coffee provided

27Q: How will the money we get from Fairwinds if it passes be managed, and who will manage it?  [bwt]

27A: {10/22}[Town]: Forwarded to Selectmen for response.

27A: {10/31}[Town]:This question was answered in the Anchor as follows:
The money paid to the Town will be used as directed by the Town Meeting and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan to be adopted in 2005.  Suggestions include: graduated property tax relief with more relief going to lower value properties (as in the Homestead Exemption); capital projects such as a recreational facility and the acquisition of additional open space for Town use; a reserve fund to insure that property tax relief continues after the project is removed.

In short, to be determined by the Town. Significant revenues would not begin until year 3 at the earliest.  It is likely that the first two years' revenues will go for property tax reduction. 

26Q: Did the town ever get a written estimate for how much it would cost to remove the pier at the fuel depot?  There was a wide margin of numbers thrown around and comments by a couple of members of past Fuel Depot Committees (also AD-HOC committee) over the years.  (Example) I talked to so and so at ABC company and he told me it would cost ex number of dollars. 

26A {10/22}[Town]: A rough order magnitude (ROM) estimate was provided by Reed & Reed, Inc. of Woolwich, Me dated September 25, 1998 as follows:
Total cost to repair dock at $2,062,500
Total cost to repair pier at $200,000
Total cost to remove dock at $1,003,200

25Q: Why have the Selectmen decided to put up for a town vote changes to the terms of Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Tax Collector with no discussion that I have heard and without waiting until March Town Meeting? Is this related to Fairwinds in some way? [Burr Taylor]

25A: {10/9}:Other towns have terms longer than one year for Town Clerk, Tax Collector etc.  Having longer terms for these positions have been mentioned before and because they are not what you could call highly contested positions...why not.  I doubt that there is any connection to the Fairwinds proposal.  See Selectmen's minutes for August 21, 2003 for more info. [Dee Williamson}

25A: {10/12}:Other towns in Maine do have longer terms for Town Clerk, Tax Collector & Road Commissioner, but there is usually a recall ordinance or a Town Charter that addresses recall, along with these 3 year terms. I hope that if the Selectmen put the 3 year term on the upcoming ballot, they include a recall ordinance with it. If there is no provision for recall, I hope the citizens vote this down. [Donna Frisoli]

25A: {10/12}Donna has a very good point there should be a recall mechanism included. [Dee Williamson]

25A: {10/15}:[Town] The matter is not related to the proposed LNG terminal. It has been discussed at selectmen's meetings and there will be a public hearing on October 27.  In order for the change to be effective at any town meeting, it must be voted more than 90 days before that time. By voting in November, it will be possible to make the change effective with the 2004 Annual Town Meeting rather than waiting a full year.

 24Q: I would very much like to know why some people support the LNG proposal.
   Specifically, I would like to know what substantiated, concrete reasons are leading them to believe this is good. It can't be because taxes will go down, because property values will go up or because we may get a full-time fire department; those are not genuine, take-to-the-bank facts but suppositions of what may happen if the proposal goes through.
   What is it that is so appealing about this proposal? [Phyllis Gamache Jensen]
I would like to set up a separate page for this question, if more than a couple of people answer it. [bwt}

24A: {10/19}:[B. Ring] job opportunity for 50 + 400 people, and over 1000 during construction. opportunity for some to learn new skills and have jobs that help them “reduce their commute time” compared to other options for the property of an industrial nature this is the most attractive from all the possibilities. It is quieter, cleaner, less of an eyesore. If you are not with me on this.  I ask what offer TYCO had before the town on the property. TYCO is one that has been in the news for investigation of Corruption.  They are a large producer of Plastics,  and medical disposables, As well as other things.  Might want to consider almost any utilization by a commercial or industrial user will utilize the dock and bring in ships.  These ships are cleaner and quieter than others that may use the site.  
I edited Bob's answers. [bwt]

23Q There have been many questions raised about the accuracy of the artists renderings that Fairwinds is using to represent what the facility would look like. Many feel that these are totally unrealistic, and paint an unrealistic picture of what this major industrial facility would be. Even Selectman Weil has said that he wants to see more accurate drawings. But Fairwinds continues to show these drawings in their brochures, on their web site, and at various hearings with state officials. Why won't they stop using them? Chris Duval

23A

22Q: Will cottage owners in Birchmere and Edgewater be able to enjoy there cottages the same as they do now without any restrictions and how far from the pier towards Edgewater will the safety zone be.
R Judd

22A:  {10/21}:[Peter Micciche] The US Coast Guard establishes safety zones for LNG ships that are specific to conditions in a given channel or port and apply while the ship is in motion and when it is berthed. No waterborne traffic is allowed to intrude into this safety zone without permission. The Coast Guard has not yet determined the size of the safety zone for this project. However, in an October 6, 2003 article in the Portland Press Herald, Lt. Dean Jones of the USCG suggests that the Harpswell security zone would more closely reflect that in Cove Point MD, which requires a 500-yard security zone while transiting the Chesapeake Bay and while berthed at the Cove Point LNG terminal, instead of the larger security zone required in Boston which is a heavily populated and industrialized area. The Coast Guard will determine the size of the safety zone specific to the Fairwinds LNG operations during the permit application phase of the project. These safety zones are not permanent restrictions. They apply only in the vicinity of the ship as it navigates Casco Bay or is berthed at the terminal’s dock.

The cottage owners and residents of Birchmere and Edgewater will be able to continue to enjoy their properties. However, there potentially could be some temporary restrictions on their access to water-based activities such as boating or kayaking in the channel during ship transit, docking and berthing if that activity were to occur inside the U.S. Coast Guard established safety zone.

21Q. If arrivals and departures are 6 to 9 days apart will it ever be propitious to haul and replace the livelihood of Harpswell's number 1 industry? Is it reasonable to tax shore resident fishermen & women out of there property, and then take away the the source of that livelihood (the fishing grounds) For gentrified half million dollar, second houses and multinational corporate profits?

21A

20Q: Did anyone else in Harpswell receive a phone call several months ago from someone conducting a survey "with people in a fishing community"?  I received one and all of the questions involved assorted energy company names including questions about natural gas.  I thought it odd at the time...but now I know why.

20A: Burr Taylor had a similar experience.

20A {10/5} [Chris Duval] The energy companies ("Fairwinds") have also been calling Harpswell residents to participate in focus groups so they can determine the most effective messages to use in selling us on this project. There is nothing wrong with this -- but it does point out once again the huge amounts of money they are willing to spend to get their way.

19Q: Fairwinds has been asked by various residents at the recent meetings to produce some specific items. Some of these are:
    facility drawings that are more to scale and realistic than those they have displayed so far
    specific examples of how brightly the site will be lit
    specific information on noise levels, both at the facility once complete, and during the construction process
    In response to each of these requests, Fairwinds personnel have promised these would be forthcoming. Yet, we have seen none of these items.
    When might the folks at Fairwinds fulfill their promise to produce this information?

19Q

18Q: What is the scope of the tanker (width,  path, & draught) with Tugs, Security boats etc. when entering, and leaving port? How many lobster traps will have to be removed? Nets? Moored craft? & for how long? considering "off load" then disembarking. How long an impact between arrivals?

18A: {10/21}:[Peter Micciche] Today’s typical LNG tanker holds about 140,000 cubic meters of LNG and measures 900 feet in length, 140 feet in width and 38 feet in water draft. These LNG ships are slightly smaller than the newest world-class vessels currently entering Portland Harbor, the Mattea and the Kometik. It is anticipated that LNG tanker designs will be larger in the future with plans to build a new generation ship that may hold some 200,000 cubic meters of LNG. Dimensions for this new class of LNG tankers would be on the order of 1000 feet long, 150 feet wide and have about a 38 to 42 foot draft.

Detailed studies must be undertaken to verify channel depths and currents, and collect other navigational data, before the precise shipping route (path) can be determined. Previously, ships arriving at the U.S. Navy fuel depot used a route between Whaleboat and Little Whaleboat Islands.

LNG vessels must comply with U.S. Coast Guard requirements related to tug escort and piloting. We anticipate that the LNG ships will be escorted by 2 tugs from the entrance to the Whaleboat Island channel to the turning basin in Middle Bay. Tugboats will probably be needed to push the ship through its turn and final approach to the berth. We don’t expect that this will increase the “footprint” of the ships beyond the safety zones that the Coast Guard will establish. For more information on the safety zones see the response to 22Q.

The size of the safety zone will determine how long fishermen, lobstermen and pleasure boaters are unable to access an area around the ship. Based on preliminary information, we anticipate that fishing areas would be off-limits for no more than 30 minutes as the ship passes. It will be the fisherman’s choice whether or not they remove the traps prior to the passage of a ship. The “moving safety zone” would be in effect twice every 4 to 9 days as LNG ships arrive at and depart from the terminal. We expect the ship to be berthed for off-loading LNG for less than 24 hours and the safety zone would remain in effect at the marine terminal. It may be possible for fishermen who normally use waters in the vicinity of the terminal to request waivers from the US Coast Guard in Portland to operate within the safety zone as is done at the ConocoPhillips LNG export terminal in Kenai, Alaska.

We will work closely with affected fishermen to establish effective procedures that will minimize the impacts on their activities. Communication systems that allow fishermen to time their activities to maximize their access to the channel and avoid engagement with the ships when they enter Casco Bay and Middle Bay are a very high priority. There have also been discussions about the ability to establish an identified shipping channel for the LNG ships to provide additional certainty to fishermen of the path of the ships.

17Q: What has happened to tax rates in communities where there are other LNG ports?

17A{10/15}:[Town] We do not have this information, but in no other case did the municipality lease its own property.  In general, where natural gas facilities have been installed, tax rates have either declined or local expenditures increased to absorb the new tax revenues.

16Q: Where is all the data collected by the companies on the operation of other LNG terminals? Including pollution, safety, effect on local industries, employment, etc., etc., etc.

16A {10/21}:[Peter Micciche] Much of this information is in the public domain. People may be able to access some of this information through government agencies and their websites such as www.ferc.gov which maintain copies of studies and reports prepared for specific facilities and applications. As well you may wish to direct readers to websites for the various companies that operate LNG facilities. A few of the many sites are listed below:

http://www.atlanticlng.com/thecompany.php3

http://www.phillips66.com/lng/#

http://www.dom.com/about/gas-transmission/covepoint/index.jsp

http://www.marathon.com/Our_Business/Marathon_Oil_Company/Integrated_Natural_Gas/Elba_Island/

http://www.shell-usgp.com/lngmain.asp

15Q. Does anyone have information about the possibility (probability) of off-shore drilling for oil/gas due to the proximity of a terminal in Harpswell?

15A: [Dee Williamson] The guess for the closest off shore wells is prime fishing and spawning grounds: Georges Banks.
[added by Dee Williamson, 10/7] There are also wells being drilled on the Scotian Shelf.  A proposed 1,100 mile long pipeline to the New York/New Jersey area may also be a consideration in the Fairwinds proposal.

15A: {10/19}[B.Ring] there have been lots of wells drilled on the Canadian side of the line out off Georges bank and Grand bank. Most have turned up oil/or gas. The likely hood of there being wells drilled on the US side is greater with each passing year.  The tie in to the proposed facility is obvious. It  provides an import point in the US from these wells.

15A:  {10/21} [Peter Micciche] The proximity of the LNG terminal in Harpsell will not impact the possibility or probability of off-shore drilling. LNG receiving terminals are not typically constructed close to gas fields. They are built to receive gas from countries whose domestic gas reserves exceed their own demand. Neither ConocoPhillips nor TransCanada have present intentions for offshore drilling in the vicinity of Harpswell. Assuming there is even gas to be found in the offshore area, there would be more effective ways of bringing it to market than through an LNG terminal such as a direct pipeline connection. The construction of a receiving terminal at Harpswell is not related to offshore drilling.

14Q. I think I remember Selectmen Weil saying it was Fairwinds who wanted a speedy vote, even more speedy than December 16.
     According to the Anchor, it was the Selectmen who were in a hurry to have a vote to keep the "public on a tight string." Selectman Knight said he wanted to have the vote before organizations like Audubon could come in.

{10/5}: 14A[Burr Taylor] I asked Fairwinds on Friday who wanted the early date. They said the Anchor was wrong. and that it was the company who wanted a vote early. I went to the Anchor. They stood by their story including the quote above.

13Q: I expect that property values will be significantly reduced for properties in the vicinity of Fairwinds, such as Birchmere and Edgewater Colony.
     1.  How has the value of properties, similar to properties in Birchmere and Edgewater Colony, which are in the vicinity of facilities such as Fairwinds (just outside the security zone) been affected?
For an article on Realtors discuss LNG, see links page (Effect on Harpswell)
     2.  What are the liability of the Town of Harpswell for loss of use and reduced property value as a result of signing a lease for Fairwinds?

13A

12Q: Given the various parties named in the MOO, who exactly would the Town be entering into an agreement with if the project is approved by the voters of Harpswell?
    Is "Fairwinds" a legal entity?
    What safeguards would the town have for enforcing provisions negotiated in a contract if the two owner companies dissolved the partnership, especially in the face of pending liability or litigation?
    Who will be entitled to vote on December 16? Registered Harpswell voters only? All Harpswell property tax payers?
    Have the selectmen answered what they foresee for long-term budget impacts on the Town if this is approved (other than the fat check)? Do they anticipate the need for professional, full-time public safety personnel, e.g., fire and police, for example? Might Harpswell secede from SAD 75?
    Has anyone observed that about half the elementary school children in our town will spend most of their day in a building less than a mile away from the proposed facility?
    At the September 29 Open House, Fairwinds representatives wouldn't disclose the location of the landbased pipeline alternative(s), should they be denied the underwater access they prefer...shouldn't the Town disclose whose property would be affected by the land alternative(s)? Presumably, laws of eminent domain would be invoked?
    What is the experience in acquiring homeowners insurance for residents of other towns that harbor LNG facilities ?
    Are their polices rated according to distance from the site?
    How do their rates compare to neighboring towns?
    When the selectmen visit other LNG sites such as the one proposed for Harpswell, could they videotape the entire facility in daytime operation so that we can get a real sense of a working plant and not vote based upon an artist's rendering?
    Could they also videotape the same facility operating at 10:00PM so we can get a sense of the lighting required for the plant, and the ambient light effects?

12A [from Donna Frisoli, HCTV] In response to the Q. about videotaping. Dave Chipman has gotten permission for HCTV to visit Districgas to videotape their facility. We will be going down to Ma. and taping many aspects of this ASAP.

11Q: Did Fairwinds target the Islands any differently than Harpswell Neck, for example by sending different mailings to each area?

{10/6}: 11A: [Peter Micciche] No, we did not target the islands differently. The same information material was sent to each member of the entire Harpswell community. However, most Harpswell Neck residents received the mailings but several hundred Orr's and Bailey residents did not. We are working to ensure our mailing lists are up to date and accurate.

{10/7}: 11A-2 [Chris Duval] I dispute Mr. Micciche's answer, as I know of several people who live near the site who have received no communication from Fairwinds. In addition, I know that some residents of Cundy's Harbor have received multiple mailings that people on the neck have not received.

10Q: The MOO says the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, the Basic Land Use Ordinance and the Tower Ordinance will need to be changed. I couldn't find the "Tower" Ordinance anywhere. I did see the building height section in the Basic Land Use Ordinance, but the MOO implies that there are three ordinance changes.

{10/6}:10A: [Noel Musson, town planner] Changes to the Basic, Shoreland, and Tower Ordinances are being considered at this time.  In addition, changes to the Shoreland Zoning Map and some amendments to the 1993 Comprehensive Plan are also being considered.  As you know, the Selectmen have schedule several public hearings to discuss issues related to the LNG terminal.  The next meeting is October 7 (tomorrow night) at 7:00 PM.  Any proposed changes to the Land Use Ordinances will definitely be discussed at a hearing on October 27.  Any amendments to the 1993 Comprehensive Plan will be discussed at a public hearing on November 10.  As usual the draft changes will be on file at the town office to give people a chance to read them over.

9Q: What will happen with the sewage created during construction and during operation?

{10/5}: [Fairwinds (Peter Micciche)] Sewage treatment and removal are governed under the federal National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination permit system (NPDES).  NPDES is regulated by the State who has been given authority from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This means that all plans to treat and dispose of sewage must be approved by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

Sewage needs to be managed to prevent adverse effects to nearby waters as well as to groundwater.  During construction, sewage would be collected on site and removed by an approved carrier to a proper disposal site.

For operations, our plans right now are that the facility would be self-contained and include a dedicated wastewater treatment facility.

Discharge would be regulated by the DEP and the permit would establish the requirements for monitoring and reporting on effluent quality and include a discharge volume limitation.

Sanitary wastewater is to use a sanitary disposal unit (SDU).  This type of system typically consists of a central lift station for collecting and pumping sewage, a small skid-mounted treatment module to provide biological treatment of the sewage and a sand filtration unit and chlorination unit to treat the effluent.  The small amount of sludge generated during the treatment process will be collected periodically from the unit for disposal in a municipal landfill.  The wastewater treatment unit must effectively treat wastewater to meet strict DEP discharge limits.  All effluent must be monitored according to NPDES permit requirements. 

Another option is to collect all sanitary sewage generated at the site and have the sewage removed by an approved carrier to a proper disposal site.      

All other refuse generated from site activities will be temporarily stored at the site (dumpster) and removed from site by approved carriers to approved waste disposal sites.


9A: [Dee Williamson] No one has addressed the construction phase sewage question to Fairwinds in public (on camera).  Fairwinds stated one time that the construction crews would be brought in by ferry.  Then at a later meeting it was stated they would be bringing in workers by ferry and barge.  My guess is that they were referring to accommodation barges that people actually live on.  These are like floating motels with quarters, bathrooms even recreation type areas.  They hold their own potable water and sewage tanks, some have sewage treatment plants...just what kind of treatment plant and just where it all goes after it is treated (the untreated also) would have to be asked and answered by Fairwinds and monitored closely if this project takes place. 
Note: I have forwarded Q9 & Q7 to Fairwinds for their answer. [bwt]

8Q: Everyone is assuming that if we approve the Fairwinds Project, our taxes will go down. But isn't it true that the state will provide less money to Harpswell because of this windfall, and that the benefit might not be as large as some are promising?

8A: [bwt] The Selectman said they are expecting the Town will have a T.I.F. which in some way means that the Project will not be included in our total evaluation as far as school funding and Cumberland County is concerned. However, nobody knows how the money will be spent: how much for taxes, how much for infrastructure, how much for ???. I think are many different ideas of the pie.

7Q: What are the environmental impacts if an underwater pipeline carrying natural gas is ruptured?

{10/5}:  7A: [Fairwinds (Peter Micciche)] 10/5: State-of-the-art design, materials, and installation provide for safe and efficient underwater pipeline operations for an indefinite period of time.  With proper monitoring and maintenance programs natural gas pipelines have operated safely for decades in marine environments around the world.

In the unlikely event of an underwater pipeline rupture, the event will be detected by the gas control center and automatic or remote control shut off valves located on shore will be actuated isolating the affected pipeline section. The LNG Terminal vaporization and send-out operations would be shut down.

The escaping gas would bubble to the surface expanding as it rises through the water. Upon reaching the surface the gas, being comprised mostly of methane and lighter than air, would continue to rise in the air and would quickly dissipate.

Fish in the vicinity of the rupture would evacuate the area. Some marine organisms and sediments would be expected to be trapped in the pipeline as sea water rushes in to replace the displaced natural gas.

At the rupture site there could be local disturbance of the seabed, possibly causing sediments to be placed into suspension. The sediment transport distance would depend on the grain size, quantity, and magnitude of the tidal currents at the time.

During repair of the pipeline there would be short term impacts associated with disturbance of the seabed necessary to clean up the area, and remove the damaged pipe and replace it with new pipe. This could create further sedimentation as the pipeline is "day-lighted" to expose it for handling and repair. Sea water and debris would need to be removed from the pipeline by successive cleaning pig runs. Disposal would be subject to approved procedures. After the pipeline is cleaned it would be pressure tested with water and dried out using procedures similar to those employed during construction.

7Q-2: The last sentence in the Fairwinds answer is "After the pipeline is cleaned it would be pressure tested with water and dried out using procedures similar to those employed during construction."  What exactly are the components of drying out a pipeline?

7A-2 {10/22}[Fairwinds]: Prior to testing of the pipeline, a slug of seawater is used to clean and flush the pipeline of any large debris. Debris is removed from the water before discharging. After the pipeline has been tested with seawater, the pipeline is dewatered by driving several dewatering pigs through the line to remove all the free water. A pig is a cylindrical device with rubber/elastomer cups around it which is inserted into a pipeline and fits tightly against the wall of the pipe. The test water does not contain any chemicals and is discharged through a dissipater to avoid erosion and scouring. Filter bags are commonly used before discharging back to the sea. A slug of clean water would be sent through the pipeline between the first two pigs to clean any salt deposits off the pipeline wall if required. Vacuum or desiccant drying would then be used to remove residual moisture from the pipeline to ensure gas delivered from the pipeline is dry and meets market specifications. Vacuum drying basically involves removing excess moisture from the pipeline by reducing pressure in the pipeline until residual moisture is evaporated and extracted. Desiccant drying would involve pushing warm, dry air through the pipeline to absorb the moisture. In both types of drying, the moisture laden air is exhausted to atmosphere.

6Q: The election seems to be scheduled for a time when a lot of people are away, and Harpswell's many summer residents will not have a chance to voice their opinion. I wonder if it this was done intentionally?

6A: {10/15}:[Town] The LNG proposal vote was scheduled to meet the request made by Conoco/Phillips and TransCanada. Voting by a certain date was a requirement of the offer. 

5Q: It seems like this whole process is being rushed. Why can't it be addressed at Harpswell's annual town meeting next March, when it can be properly presented and discussed in a manner that has served as the heart of democracy in New England for centuries? That way we would have more time to learn all of the facts.

5A: {10/15}:[Town] See the answer to 6Q above. In addition, it is unlikely that the selectmen would hold a vote on a matter as important as this on the floor rather than by secret ballot, which allows for absentee voting.

4Q: Is it true that the energy companies are paying for the town's lawyer? That sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

4A: {10/15}:[Town] The companies are paying the bills submitted by the Town's attorneys and consultants.  This is normal practice when making an unsolicited offer. It is in accordance with bar rules, which have been consulted.  The lawyers and consultants were selected by the Town and report only to the Town.

3Q: I am interested in a question raised by my neighbor the other day.  He said that the selectmen have been talking to the LNG companies for over a year now even though a proposal was only recently submitted.  If our town government knew this was a possible future development, why wasn’t this disclosed prior to the town meeting where we voted to return the pipeline easement land to adjacent property owners.   This really smells of something political.  Does anyone know why this wasn’t done?

3A: [George Swallow] I was chairman of the board of selectmen until Town Meeting March 2003 and I knew nothing about this project. If any selectmen was dealing with anyone proposing an LNG facility it was on their own and of no knowledge of the rest of the board.

2Q: Is there a written proposal from Fairwinds to the town, if so, where can a copy be obtained?

2A: [bwt] The written proposal, called the Memorandum of Offer can be found on the Town of Harpswell website under Selectmen or  (No longer there)

1Q. How do Harpswell's property taxes compare to other coastal communities' taxes?

1A: {10/05}: [Burr Taylor] See the Coastal Enterprises Study: Preserving Commercial Fishing Access: A Study of Working Waterfronts in 25 Maine Communities. It includes a comparisons of taxes paid in the town. You can find it here. Maine Coastal Program - Online Resources - Download Center

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Last edited on 01/07/2010