April 2, 2012
Islesboro Islands Trust (IIT) is delighted to learn that DCP Searsport withdrew their Searsport applications to build what would have been one of the largest LPG facilities on the US east coast. The Searsport Planning Board looked hard at their land use ordinances, and found five performance standards that the proposal does not meet. In so doing, the Board responded to the overwhelming heart-felt public concern during the Searsport hearings and the chilling statement by Richard A. Clarke, when he wrote, “You do not want to look back, years from now, after a disaster and wish you had done more, wish you had put the safety and security of your citizens first… If the physics allows it to happen, then you have to act as though it will.”
We are immensely grateful to the Searsport Planning Board. They are the first agency to take a serious, unbiased look at this project and apply the law to the facts. When they voted that the site was inherently unsafe, DCP had no choice but withdraw their application.
The people of Penobscot Bay demonstrated, wrote letters, signed petitions, attended meetings, and contributed time, money, and energy. The people of Penobscot Bay proved once again that — sometimes — the will of the many is able to make a difference, even when faced with gigantic, outside interests.
From the first, IIT questioned the economic and environmental viability of building a massive LPG import facility on the small Route 1 property in Searsport. DCP’s retraction of its application and their indication that they will not pursue an import facility in Maine confirms our view that the proposal was the wrong project at the wrong time in the wrong place. DCP’s departure also underscores the economic reality that there is no import market for LPG; many such terminals around the country are now being used for export of fuels.
This is enormous news for Searsport, for the Pen Bay environment, and for the economy of the entire mid-coast region.
The legal team, led by Steve Hinchman, that included Gladstone Jones of Jones, Swanson, Huddell and Garrison, Charles Verrill of Wiley Rein, and Kim Ervin Tucker, proceeded with confidence that no permit could be approved if the law were applied appropriately and fairly. Their combined expertise shed focused legal light on often-disturbing state and federal agency review processes.
Islesboro and IIT have a long history of proactively protecting Penobscot Bay from inappropriate development proposals, such as the nuclear power plant and LNG proposals for Sears Island, while simultaneously working to maintain and expand good jobs and appropriate economic investment in the region’s fisheries, eco-tourism and other natural resource based development.
Islesboro Islands Trust is a non-profit land trust serving the community of Islesboro and the Penobscot Bay region of Maine. IIT’s mission is to enhance the quality of residents’ lives through the preservation of open space, educate all residents as to the value of the islands’ natural ecosystems, and act as an environmental advocate on behalf of Islesboro and the surrounding Penobscot Bay region.
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