Propane Tank Sparks Town Protests

Protesters at Searsport Maine demonstrate against a proposed $40 million liquid propane tank that an energy company plans to build near the waterfront. (image: bangordailynews.com)

Plans for a giant $40 million liquid propane tank in Maine have sparked protests by concerned residents, bangordailynews.com reports.

DCP Midstream wants to the build the 138-foot-tall propane terminal at Searsport. The project was signed off by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection earlier this year.

Though Maine is a big heating oil user, the company argues the state is also dependent on propane for its energy needs and the proposed supply terminal at Mack Point is necessary to service local demand.

However locals are fighting the plans. Opponents argue the tank is too big and will ruin the area’s scenic amenity. They say it will dwarf other tanks in the area, pose a safety risk and generate an influx of trucks

“The beauty of the harbor will be ruined,” said 70-year-old protestor Judy Kaiser. “It will be so huge and so tall you will be able to see it from Acadia National Park. It will ruin our coastline.”

Kaiser was among 100 demonstrators who turned out on Saturday clutching “No Tank” placards to protest DCP Midstream’s tank plans.

Astrig Tanguay, 45, said the protestors had signed a petition asking town authorities to declare a moratorium on new tanks till an impact assessment study was carried out.

The local business owner feared the tank would negatively affect tourism.

David Berg, 66, questioned the safety of building a large propane tank in the town.

“I moved here from New York because of the natural beauty. This will ruin it.”

In a full-page ad on Saturday, DCP Midstream president Bill Waldheim sought to ease protestors’ concerns. He said the tank would add 50 truck trips a day in the town but would be surrounded by tree buffers to ease the visual effect.

Federal and local regulations would ensure the tank was safe and not emitting too much noise, light or odor, Waldheim said.

The state-issued permit says up to six propane tankers a year would offload liquid propane at an existing cargo pier. It would be pumped through a new, mile-long pipeline to the bulk storage tank. DCP would later offload the propane to trucks and rail cars for distribution throughout Maine and northern New England.

Protesters plan to present their petition next month.