A proposal by Colorado-based DCP Midstream to build 14-story, 22.7-million-gallon liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility and terminal at Mack Point near Searsport, Maine, would have a detrimental effect on the community, including a nearby campground, according to testimony shared at public hearings last week, the Penobscot Bay Pilot reported.
“Searsport’s ability to attract new residents and visitors will be affected by this tank,” said Laurie Schweikert, Searsport resident and owner of the Grasshopper Shop. “Any decrease in tourism would negatively impact my business, and the businesses of many that you see sitting here tonight.”
Steve Tanguay, owner of Searsport Shores Ocean Campground, agreed.
“We based our recent business model on the Brookings Institute’s Charting Maine’s Future report and, in particular, its sections on creative economy,” he said.
Tanguay also cited materials from the Belfast Creative Coalition indicating that eco-cultural tourists spend more money and stay longer than the average tourist.
“The basis for tourism is a safe, beautiful place to visit with plenty to do and see,” he said. “The average stay at our campgrounds since we’ve moved to a creative economy business model is longer than the average stay in Maine, which is 4.2 days according to a University of Maine report.”
DCP Midstream’s proposed tank, which would be visible from a number of sites around town and on Route 1, would have a negative impact on eco-cultural tourism and his campground, Tanguay said.
During cross-examination, DCP Midstream’s attorney Jamie Kilbreth asked if tourism was a performance standard in the town’s ordinances and maintained that the risk of an accident at the LPG tank was very low, comparing it to the high risk of driving a car.
He argued that the history of Searsport has included chemical and paper industries. Kilbreth also did not think the traffic congestion would significantly increase as a result of the tank.