"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
Webmasters Note: The contents of the following letter were received by us via email on 27 October 2004
from the Honourable Greg Thompson, M.P. from New Brunswick Southwest.
October 21, 2004
The Honourable Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, P.C., M.P.
Dear Prime Minister:
I am writing to urge you to have the government act quickly to prevent danger to or disaster for a world-renowned ecosystem in eastern Canada and the thousands of people living in the area. I refer to the proposal to build a Liquid Natural Gas terminal on the United States Maine coast in Passamaquoddy Bay adjacent to the Fundy Islands in my constituency.
Prime Minister this is the latest effort of a determined group of promoters to ignore obvious environmental risks, navigational hazards and public safety by locating this facility in an area already determined to be unacceptable by any standard or measurement. A company known as Quoddy Bay LLC of Tulsa, Oklahoma proposes to sail giant tankers into the Grand Manan channel, around Campobello Island through a narrow waterway known as Head Harbour Passage with its uncertain depths, hazardous ledges and whirlpools to a spot of land controlled by a small band on a Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation. These are Canadian waters, Prime Minister and documentation of your government details the unacceptability of this proposal.
The department formally known as External Affairs released a report in December of 1976 on a similar proposal by the Pittston Company to be located at Eastport, Maine on the U-S side of Passamaquoddy Bay. Studies undertaken by External Affairs, and the departments of Fisheries and the Environment and Transport concluded that "the Passamaquoddy area in which (Head Harbour) passage is sited is the least acceptable area for tanker operations," because of the value of fisheries and aquatic bird resources and the high level of navigational risk. Other factors including the risk of pollution, tidal currents, no safe anchorages and potential danger from winds all would pose a serious threat to the ecology of the region if an accident should occur. Various reports concluded that the risk of pollution at that time was environmentally unacceptable. I submit that the risk is even greater now from explosion with the resulting thermal radiation and combustible vapour clouds which could kill or harm everyone within a wide area on the islands and the mainland. And these concerns don’t even include the possibility of a terrorist act on tankers which each have the explosive potential of a fully fueled passenger jet.
Prime Minister, the government of Canada will eventually have to address this proposal because the ships would sail through Canadian waters. While there is no formal proposal submitted yet to the regulatory agency of the United States, it appears this is just a question of time. I therefore implore you, and the relevant Ministers of the Crown to whom I have addressed copies of this letter, to not wait for an application to be filed and the process to proceed. Our government should be ready in advance and not be caught flat-footed by a risk that could be well advanced very quickly.
New Brunswicks Bay of Fundy coastline, including Passamaquoddy Bay and the islands of Grand Manan, Deer Island and Campobello has been described as one of the marine wonders of the world. Home to whales, numerous fish species, sea birds and mammals and thousands of people who make their living from the ocean. Herring weirs, lobster pounds, salmon farms, clam flats and dulse operations, all abound in this area. New Brunswicks tourism promotion describes it as one of the most scenic and striking areas of the province, a region renowned for its dark red mudflats, rocky beaches and the highest tides in the world. What it is not, Prime Minister, is an industrial site where facilities such as LNG terminals and superships really belong. While LNG may be part of the future of Canadas and North Americas energy picture, such operations clearly belong in industrial areas, for example Saint John, with its excellent docking facilities, clear shipping lanes, safe anchorages, all of the attributes of a relatively safe site which is clearly not the case in or around the Fundy Islands and Passamaquoddy Bay.
Prime Minister, please have your officials and your Ministers read the External Affairs report, entitled "Eastport," dated December 15, 1976. If it cannot be located in Ottawa, I will be glad to provide copies. I can also refer to you the many reports, news accounts, commentaries, web sites, opinions, fears and concerns of elected officials, scientists, environmentalists and just plain people who are appalled by the suggestion that such an environmental travesty could be contemplated for this sensitive and beautiful area.
Thank you for consideration of these views and I look forward to your governments action in defense of this precious area of our country.
Greg Thompson, MP,
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