- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

NEWINGTON, N.H. (AP) - A Newington company can expand its propane distribution operation after reaching a deal with residents and municipalities who opposed the plan and regulators who wanted a lengthy review of the details.

Sea-3, Inc., wants to build five more rail unloading berths and three, 90,000-gallon storage tanks to hold domestically produced propane. The expansion also includes other equipment and buildings needed to transport the gas.

On Friday, the state’s Site Evaluation Committee granted the company an exemption from a yearlong review.

Portsmouth residents fought the plan for two years, worried about accidents and explosions. The deal reached Thursday calls for increased training for firefighters.

Sea-3 must create a fire safety analysis of the facility that must be approved by the town of Newington and the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The deal also means:

- Sea-3 will provide a copy of its contingency plan to the town of Newington, which will make it available to local fire departments on request.

- The company will offer a “virtual facility tour” using visuals and maps of the Newington complex to orient and train firefighters from Portsmouth and Dover.

- Free, hands-on railcar and tanker truck training for fire departments from all communities along the Pan Am rail line between Rockingham Junction and Newington.

- Sea-3 will unload no more than 16 propane railcars per day.

- The town of Newington will conduct a tabletop mutual aid exercise that simulates a propane leak and will seek a grant to develop an area emergency response plan covering evacuation procedures and emergency notification. Costs not covered by the grant will be paid by Sea-3.

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