STATE OF MAINE
COUNTY OF WALDO
COURT OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Ph. (207) 338-3282
Fax (207) 33-8788
39 - 8 Spring Street
Jethro D. Pease, 342-5910
Belfast, Maine 04915
John M. Hyk, 469-2193
C. Gregory Soetsch, 763-3709
Jethro D. Pease, 342-5910
April 13, 2004
Hon. John Baldacci
1 State House Station
Augusta, lvLE 04333-Q001
Dear Governor Baldacci,
The Selectmen of Stockton Springs have sent us a letter of distress with regard to the potential development of an LNG plant on Sears Island. We are taking the liberty of forwarding a copy of that letter to you.
The Waldo County Commissioners share this concern, not only for Stackton Springs, but for all the communities in Waldo, Knox and Hancock Counties whose economy and general welfare rely on free and unimpeded commerce along Penobscot Bay.
On March 12, 2004, in commenting on the LNG vote in Harpswell you said, "I have been reminded of the need to use economic development as a tool to bring communities together, rather than to allow it create divisions between neighbors." (Source: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/Index.php?topic=Gov-News&id1853&v=article
Clearly you are in danger of creating just such a division by not taking a regional approach to this matter and involving all parties.
Your assertion that "LNG presents opportunities for jobs and a strong property tax base in a number of locations up and down the coast," ignores the serious environmental, public safety and economic risks such a facility would impose an both the host community and - more importantly - the neighboring communities which would not reap any of the benefits of a stronger tax base, but in fact could easily see their property tax base decline as the value of residential shorefront property deflates.
It is because an LNG terminal and attendant facilities in the SearsportlStockton neighborhood would bring serious impacts and risks to the entire- Penobscot Bay region that we believe ALL the inhabitants of the region should be involved in all the decision making on this proposal. A secretive economic development process which lines up the usual assortment of special interests before reducing the decision to a narrowly focused
environmental permit application is simply dwarfed by the grandeur of Penobscot Bay and the relationships that the inhabitants of our region have with the Bay and our maritime tradition.
Your administration's push for development of LNG facilities is taking place in the absence of a coherent national or state energy policy. We thus have no way of knowing whether the jabs and taxes you promise are worth the risks of placing a potential terrorist target in the midst of an area whose economy depends so heavily on tourism, pleasure boating, commercial fisheries, and other natural resources.
We know the state, which at last reports couldn't afford to pay security personnel to run metal detectors in its courthouses, would be unable to defend such a facility from terrorist attack, should some group chose to target it. We also know that in an attempt to defend it, state and federal authorities would be forced at times to severely disrupt free travel and free commerce in the Penobseot Bay region, both on the water, on the land and in the air space traveled overhead.
Please understand that the people of Stockton Springs are not afraid of risk when the cause is known and just. StoclEton Springs willingly loaded huge quantities of ammunition onto ships at great risk during World War 11; a time of national emergency consensus. But in the matter of LNG, no case has been made for the inhabitants of Stockton Springs and beyond to set aside their present relationship with Penobscot Bay in deference to some important national or state L7 al.
If you really believe that an LNG plant in Penobscot Bay is a good idea, we invite you to bring the entire region together and make your case, with open meetings, a11 cards on the table, no secret talks, honest discussions of costs and benefits, and a much broader cast of public participants.
For now, however, we must conclude that if you have a vision for LNG being a net benefit to the Penabscat Bay region, that vision, from our perspective, is obscured.
John Hyk, WaIdo County Commissioner
Board of Selectmen, Town of Stockton Springs
Board of Selectmen, Town of Searsport
County Commissioners, Knox County
County Commissioners, Hancock County
Senator Carol Weston
Republican Jeff Kaelin [sic]
Enc. Stockton Springs Letter
[END OF LETTER]