AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333-0016

April 6, 2004

Joan Saxe
Co-Chair, Conservation Committee
Sierra Club, Maine Chapter
20 Arnold Road
Freeport, Maine 04032

Vivian Newman
Co-Chair, Conservation Committee
Sierra Club, Maine Chapter
P.O. Box 388
South Thomaston, Maine 04858

Dear Joan & Vivian:

Governor Baldacci asked me to respond to your letter regarding reports of a potential liquid natural gas facility development on Sears Island in Searsport. I would also like to share with you the process we intend to employ as we assess the future of Sears Island with the Community.

First, I would like to quote the Governor's-statement of March 12th entitled, "Governor Baldacci's Approach to Liquid Natural Gas Proposals".

"Searsport is somewhat unique in that it is a state-owned parcel of land that has already attracted attention by LNG developers. The land was purchased by the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) recognizing its national economic significance as deep-water access proximate to rail, highway, port, and pipeline infrastructure with an existing shipping channel. Sears Island is also a potential site for non-LNG developments, with ample additional resources for recreation; preservation, and tourism development as well. MDOT has already initiated dialog with the Town of Searsport to develop a balanced management plan for the entire island.

The recreation and conservation potential of the island must be a key component of that management plan; DOC Commissioner Pat McGowan will be part of this planning process. Working closely with DECD Commissioner Jack Cashman, MDOT Commissioner David Cole will continue to evaluate proposals from any developer that seeks to purchase or lease portions of the island for LNG or other purposes. [underlined @boldfaced:] MDOT will not enter into any formal agreement with an LNG developer over the objections of the Town of Searsport. [end underline & boldface] Any management plan for the island will succeed only with a community vision and a partnership between the state and the town. A letter of intent or an option regarding a portion of the island is only the first step in an extensive development process with subsequent opportunities for the town and the region to shape or determine development outcomes."


Joan Saxe / Vivian Newman April 6, 2004
Page 2

The Governor's statement is a clear expression of our commitment to involve the Town of Searsport in our decision making on the future of Sears Island. I and members of my team have already met with Searsport town officials to discuss our participation in their comprehensive planning process. The citizens of Searsport have adopted a comprehensive plan and are proceeding toward the implementation phase of that process. The Department will participate in that process as interested property owners not only as it relates to Sears Island but Mack Point as well. Both these properties have a significant impact on the potential for economic growth not only for Searsport, but for the entire region.

Whatever type of development ultimately occurs on Sears Island, you can be assured that the public and local officials will have ample opportunity for input. The Maine Department of Transportation considers itself as the steward of a public trust. As Commissioner, I consider this a very serious responsibility and fully support the Governor's directive. It is imperative that we develop an effective long-term plan for Sears Island so the use of this precious public asset achieves the broadest local consensus possible.

I hope this letter addresses at least some of your concerns. We will soon begin issuing e-mail updates regarding our planning activities regarding Sears Island. If you are interested in receiving those e-mail updates, please contact fred.michaud and we'll be happy to include you.


David A. Cole


cc: John E. Baldacci, Governor