2006 June 16
by Gail Menzel
The Dennys River Watershed Council heard from a representative of Quoddy Bay LNG at their meeting of June 5. Community relations director Andrea Barstow gave a power point presentation on the company's plan for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Perry and the status of their applications for approval by state and federal regulatory agencies.
Of particular interest to the council was the proposed pipeline extension of about 35 miles in length from an LNG site in Perry to Princeton, where it would connect with the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline system. As presently designed, the extension would include a section that would cross under the Dennys River near Gilman dam. Several council members voiced concerns that serious negative consequences to the protected salmon river and its watershed could result. The potential for harm to the trout fishery in the area was also noted.
Another concern raised was the route chosen for the proposed pipeline extension, passing through the more pristine areas of the county rather than paralleling roads and other built-up sections. Dean Bradshaw noted that if trees are removed on a 100-foot swath for pipeline construction, and the route is later kept clear of vegetation for monitoring purposes, ATV users would be attracted to the path into "back country."
Barstow said she was not competent to discuss "technical issues" about the pipeline but would bring questions raised at the meeting back to consultants at her company for reply. In addition, it was decided that two representatives of Quoddy Bay LNG would attend the next council meeting on Monday, July 10, to respond specifically to members' concerns about pipeline positioning. Barstow said Steve Sawyer, a pipeline engineer, and someone else from the company's environmental team will speak with the watershed council. The meeting, at the EDM Youth Center, will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a business session, and with speakers scheduled for 7 p.m.
In other business, the council heard from director Sheila Huckins that the on-again-off-again plan to "lime" the Dennys River is currently off. She said that indicators of river water quality in recent data such as pH and nitrate levels are positive, suggesting that liming is not necessary at this time. One salmon, apparently wild, was found in the weir this year, but Huckins said 100 "redds" (nesting sites) have been counted in the Dennys, presumably the work of aquaculture escapees.
Council president Bob Hinton said he has been told by fishermen they have been catching numerous pen-raised salmon that are "showing up everywhere, even in small brooks." Minutes of the council's May 1 meeting record that the escaped fish have been seen in Meddybemps Lake and past Gilman dam in the Dennys River. If they originated from Canadian farms, they may have genetic content from European strains. It was noted that current Maine regulations prohibit fishing for or keeping Atlantic salmon, and penalties to violators may include fines of $1,000, seizure of gear and possible jail sentence.
© 2006 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.