2005 October 14
by Edward French
A group of Perry residents is seeking support for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in their town, despite residents' vote last March against an LNG terminal at Pleasant Point. Quoddy Bay LLC Project Manager Brian Smith was scheduled to meet with members of the Perry Improvement Association on Wednesday, October 12, to discuss the possible location of LNG tanks in Perry. Quoddy Bay is proposing a $210 million LNG storage facility in Robbinston and a LNG import terminal at Split Rock in Pleasant Point.
"LNG will be on both sides of us but not in Perry," says Perry Improvement Association President David Turner. "We won't let this happen without a fight."
Members of the association sent a letter to Smith on October 3, asking to meet with Smith to discuss their goals and to prepare a benefit package to present to the voters of Perry "as quickly as possible." Among the goals outlined in the letter is the identification of landowners interested in selling land for the installation of a tank farm and re-gasification equipment, to complement the Split Rock terminal. The letter states, "We recognize that the land must be relatively accessible from the Split Rock location, as a cryogenic pipeline would need to be constructed to connect the two."
Other goals outlined include negotiating a benefit package for the taxpayers of Perry; seeking the support of the county commissioners, the Sunrise County Economic Council and state representatives for the project; and obtaining sufficient signatures to ask Perry voters to request the Perry selectmen, planning board and other elected officials to assist with the granting of any required local permits for the project. Although the town has no zoning, if land is sold to Quoddy Bay LLC for a storage tank facility, the Perry Planning Board would have to approve any change of use of the land, according to board chairman Nancy Asante.
The benefit package would be aimed at supplementing multi-million dollar local property tax payments Quoddy Bay would make to the town with other community programs, which might include economic improvement funds, Perry improvement funds and local scholarships. "We look forward to working with you on this new phase of the project, which will allow the Town of Perry to expand our school, our gymnasium and educational opportunities, have a town manager and construct a town office/conference area," the letter states.
In an October 6 letter, Smith responded, "While we are likely to continue in the development of the storage facility in Robbinston, we are happy to discuss the possibility of an alternative LNG storage facility in Perry."
"As revenue demands increase, we are desperate for some form of economic development in our community," says Turner. "We have squandered away too many opportunities. I don't want to see this one pass us by. An LNG storage facility would provide jobs, a real tax base and most important C tax relief."
"We would like to sit down with the principals of Quoddy Bay to discuss the possibility of supplementing Perry's multi-million dollar local property tax," comments Turner. "And we would also like to discuss other community programs such as local scholarships and town improvement funds."
The tax rate in Perry went up this year by 1 mill, to 18.8 mills, with most of the increase caused by a hike in the county tax. The total amount raised by taxes is $813,430.
Perry Selectman Jeanne Guisinger comments, "There's already been one vote on LNG in Perry, and it would be nice if they would respect that." In March, Perry residents rejected Quoddy Bay's proposal for an LNG project at Pleasant Point by a vote of 279 to 214. Guisinger adds, "I think it was a definitive vote. Everyone understood what they were voting for or against."
In addition to seeking out economic growth opportunities, the Perry Improvement Association is looking for ways to raise funds for other town improvements, including a playground expansion at the local elementary school, restoration of the park at the 45th Parallel marker on Route 1, and new signs around town and near Gleason's Cove.
Present members of the group, along with Turner, are Betty Johnson, Darlington Ricker, Maynard Morrison, Frank Seeley, Stanley MacNichol, Doug DeWitt, Linda Newcomb, Norman Small, Scott MacNichol, Harry Grose and Charlie Curtis. The Perry Improvement Association was established 20 years ago to explore ways to improve the community.
© 2005 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.