2006 August 8
ST. ANDREWS Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada is stepping up efforts to prevent liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments in the bay, and is asking people to write to the prime minister as well as other politicians.
In an e-mail sent out recently by Larry Lack and Lee Anne Ward, of St. Andrews, they note that the U.S. is almost sure to approve both Passamaquoddy Bay sites that have formally "pre-applied" to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
They ask that opponents of LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as individual MPs, such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter MacKay, Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon and Minister of Veterans Affairs, New Brunswick Southwest MP GregThompson.
Even if people have already sent letters,they are asked to write again as the couple say effective pressure from everyone in the communities is really necessary right now.
"Too many people assume our government will protect us from these developments, but so far they have taken no concrete steps to do so. It will require concerted action from all of us to prevent the industrialization of our region that would come with LNG development."
People are also urged to contact Thompson's St. Stephen office (466-3928) to remind him that the government needs to enact a regulation banning LNG tankers from Head Harbour Passage now before FERC approves the proposed terminals at Split Rock and Robbinston.
In a sample letter, they note the economy in this part of New Brunswick depends almost entirely on the unique productivity and unspoiled beauty of the beaches, headlands, and shores.
Fishing, aquaculture, and marine related tourism employ thousands of people here, notes the letter, and all these jobs would be in danger if LNG terminals and the tanker traffic and related industry associated with them were established as proposed on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay.
"LNG tanker traffic and terminal activity so close to our communities would inevitably pollute sensitive marine habitats and disrupt the unfettered access to the water that fishing, aquaculture, whale watching, and other marine tourism depend upon."
The letter points out that even though the Canadian government has expressed its concerns and opposition to the proposed terminals to the U.S. through diplomatic channels, they are concerned about the length of time it is taking the government to implement its stated policy of prohibiting LNG traffic through the Canadian internal waters of Head Harbour Passage.
"And we are uneasy because the U.S.Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval process has been allowed to continue without protest or any expression of opposition to that process from the government of Canada."
The letters notes that more than two thirds of the people who would be affected by LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay live in Canada and more than two-thirds of the waters that would be affected are also Canadian.
"But two of the U.S. terminal developers have stated publicly that Canada has not taken definitive action to prevent them from moving LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage, and therefore they are assuming Canada does not intend to take such action.
"One developer expressed the opinion that should Canada try to prevent LNG tankers from entering Head Harbour Passage, he feels sure that this position will be negotiated and that the tankers will be allowed."
The letter says that they feel strongly that FERC should not be allowed to continue to evaluate these proposals unilaterally without strong objection from the Canadian government.
"We are asking you to enact regulations prohibiting LNG traffic in Head Harbour Passage immediately, before the ongoing FERC process adds more momentum to the developers' proposals. This would end the speculation as to the Canadian government's intent and settle the matter once and for all."
The letter concludes, "We are counting on you to protect our communities and our way of life through effective regulation that unequivocally excludes LNG tankers from Head Harbour Passage.
"We need to hear from you as to what steps our government has already taken or is currently taking to implement this needed regulation and we are asking you to reply to this letter with your personal assurance that the regulatory steps that are necessary to end the threat of LNG development in Passamaquoddy Bay will be in place by the time the U.S. developers are expected to file their full formal (as opposed to preliminary) FERC applications this fall. "
LNG opponents are also reminded there is a public forum on LNG Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Anglican church in St. Andrews at 7:30 p.m., featuring marine engineer, Cliff Goudey, of MIT.
© 2006 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB