2005 September 7
by Marie Jones Holmes
Yet another liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility is being proposed within a 25-mile area stretching from Pleasant Point to Calais. The latest LNG terminal would be located at Red Beach, within the city limits of Calais. Earlier LNG proposals include Quoddy Bay LLC to be located at Split Rock at Pleasant Point and Downeast LNG to be located at Mill Cove in Robbinston. The newest LNG company, BP Consulting LLC, will involve a partnership between the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, State Representative Ian Emery of Cutler and Passamaquoddy State Representative Fred Moore III.
The Calais City Council voted unanimously on August 25 to support the development of an LNG facility within Washington County and further resolved that the Calais City Council would welcome and support the development of a LNG terminal within the city limits of Calais. The support came in the form of a resolution passed by the city council.
Calais Mayor Vinton E. Cassidy, in a letter dated August 26, stated, "On behalf of the City of Calais, please consider this letter as a statement of intent of the City of Calais to endeavor to work in good faith and in connection with BP Consulting LLC in its efforts to negotiate a proposal for the construction of a LNG terminal in Calais. Please rest assured that such development is welcome in the City of Calais and will receive the full support of the Calais City Council."
Cassidy said, "I am really excited about this. This is the best economic development opportunity for Calais in a long time. I hope it happens here. We need some jobs."
According to Moore, BP Consulting has an option on 300 acres of land located between Devil's Head and St. Croix Island International Historic Site. The largest parcel, approximately 160 acres, is the former Fenderson property now owned by Steve Carothers and Gail Roberts. The remaining acreage is mostly small parcels. Les Cook of Calais, one of the smaller property owners, says he will not option his land. "They will have to take it by eminent domain." As an afterthought, Cook said, "Maybe with the recent Supreme Court ruling they can do it."
At the August 25 council meeting, Emery said the formation of BP Consulting goes back to a meeting in January with Moore. "It is important to point out that this is a community-based effort," commented Moore. "We are not here for the fast buck and then leave."
Moore expects the project could be permitted in a year's time. Emery said it could take up to two years. The tribe will be the applicant for the permits. Moore said the tribe has secured the ability to finance the project, but he did not disclose the source of the tribal funds. Other partners in the project also were not disclosed.
When Moore was asked about growing opposition on the part of Canadian officials, he said, "That is an issue for Canadian Prime Minister Martin and Bush to work out."
In speaking to Calais councillors, Moore said that upon completion of the LNG facility, natural gas could be made available to the Washington County Community College, the Calais Regional Hospital and perhaps the Calais High School. It was also possible that natural gas would be available for Calais homes. Moore said he was not speaking for Domtar Industries, but the possibility existed that a cogeneration facility could be built at the Domtar paper mill in Baileyville. Moore believes there would be a tremendous amount of heat waste that could be given to the mill, providing it with an additional supply of energy.
Under the plan, BP would own the land and the tribe would own the facility. Plans call for a pier to be built on the U.S. side across from the Canadian port of Bayside. The pier would be 1,500 feet from the shore in 50 feet of water. Moore estimated there would be about 50 jobs from the project.
Councillor Christopher Bernardini said, "I think it will work, and I think it will be best for the county."
Indian Township Lt. Governor Joseph Sockabasin, representing that tribal government, said, "I look forward to the tribe and the city working together to bring economic development to this area. It's sorely needed." Asked what would happen if the proposed LNG project at Pleasant Point did not materialize, Sockabasin said, "If Split Rock doesn't come to fruition for Pleasant Point, we are not going to leave them out in the cold." Sockabasin noted that Pleasant Point and Indian Township have partnered in the past on business ventures and will continue to do so.
Ship pilot Robert Peacock says he has not been contacted by Moore regarding piloting LNG tankers to Red Beach. Peacock says he has checked with other pilots in the area and nearby Canadian pilots, and no one has been contacted. Asked if he thinks there would be any problems, Peacock says he needs to know exactly where the LNG pier would be located. Moore and Emery were not available for comment.
© 2005 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.