2006 June 23
The ad hoc Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada group has announced its legal incorporation as a non-governmental organization under the laws of New Brunswick. The group's mandate is threefold: to ensure Canadians are well-informed about proposals to establish liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Passamaquoddy Bay/St. Croix region; to provide a voice for Canadians who oppose such development; and to ensure this voice is properly represented to the U.S. and Canadian governments and the public.
Dr. Lesley Pinder and Janice Harvey, Fundy Baykeeper Program director for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, are co-chairs of the group. Other board members are: Jan Meiners (Campobello representative), Susan Lambert (Deer Island representative), David Welch (municipal representative), Carl Sapers (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission intervention chair), Margot Sackett and Mary Kane (fundraising co-chairs), Gerald McEachern (communications chair), Larry Lack and Lee Ann Ward (mobilization co-chairs), Hugh Akagi (science chair and Passamaquoddy First Nations liaison) and Maria Recchia (fisheries chair).
The group's immediate priority is to ensure the Canadian government regulates quickly to prohibit LNG tankers from transiting Head Harbour Passage, as Prime Minister Harper has promised. The group retained the Sierra Club of Canada to work on their behalf in Ottawa and simultaneously is preparing to intervene in the U.S. decision-making process under the auspices of FERC.
"Should the FERC review of the two proposals at Split Rock (Quoddy Bay LNG) and Robbinston (Downeast LNG) begin before Canada passes the necessary regulations to prohibit tanker passage through Canadian waters, we will need to be formal intervenors in that U.S. process," explains Harvey. "We are urging Canada to move quickly through the regulatory process, which may pre-empt the FERC review. However, we must also be prepared, as a citizens' group opposing the U.S. projects, to be active intervenors in the U.S. process in case federal action in Canada is delayed."
SPB/Canada is working closely with their U.S. and Passamaquoddy counterparts to coordinate their FERC intervention. However, Harvey stresses the need for the Canadian group to intervene separately from their partners in Save Passamaquoddy Bay: A Three Nation Alliance. "Canada sits in a very unique position in this issue," says Harvey. "While many of the issues are the same on both sides of the border, the remedies and recourses are very different. Thus it is important that our group be prepared to participate independently in the U.S. process. A priority for us now must be to raise the funds needed to support that intervention."
While a precise timetable for the FERC review of the formal applications is not known, Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada is preparing for a fall deadline. "We will work very hard over the summer to get ready for this review process. We cannot assume the projects will disappear anytime soon. Being fully prepared for whatever comes at us is our group's priority now," says Harvey.
© 2006 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.