That 137-Foot Propane Tank? Only Partly Visible on the Skyline

The tallest lighthouse in New England, the Boon Island Light off the coast of York, Maine, is 133-feet tall. (image: gramlighthouse.com)

In the ongoing courtship between a national energy company and a seaside town in Maine, the two have reached a common hitch for couples: Should they move in together? The energy company, DCP Midstream, certainly likes the little town — where it would establish a marine propane terminal. But Searsport, which is home to about 2,600 souls, is concerned with the changes that may come if it says “yes.”

Earlier this week, citizens gathered at a town hall meeting to discuss the proposal. And much of the talk centered on the 137-foot tall propane tank that would be installed with the project. Would they need to change the building code to accommodate? Yes. What would the tank say about the town? That’s up for debate.

Now, a DCP official named Jeff Hurteau is offering his pitch for the intermodal propane pit stop in a letter to the editor of the Bangor Daily News. His take? He says that in the company’s height simulations, “the tank can be viewed only partially above the tree horizon from both the road and from the bay.”

He adds: “We appreciate that this is an important consideration for residents.”

Hurteau goes on to tout the advantages of the “potential initiative,” referring to the boost in regional propane supplies and a safe track record for both the company and the gas.

Though the conversation will no doubt continue. Searsport leaders are scheduled to gather in March to rule on rewriting the building codes to allow for the big storage tank.

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