The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2006 November 21

Save Passamaquoddy Bay flyers distributed


ST. ANDREWS — Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada have distributed pamphlets to every home in Charlotte County explaining why they are opposed to LNG (liquefied natural gas) and asking residents to help them in their fight.

The pamphlet notes that two US companies are planning to build LNG terminals along the Maine shore of Passamaquoddy Bay — Quoddy Bay LNG has picked a site near Eastport at Split Rock on the Pleasant Point Indian reservation (Sipayik) directly across from Fairhaven, Deer Island, while Downeast LNG, based in Washington D.C., has purchased land for a terminal at Mill Cove in Robbinston, directly across from St. Andrews. As yet there are no details of a third proposal further up the river.

In order to access these sites, LNG tankers would have to pass through Head Harbour Passage, the narrow Canadian channel between Campobello and Deer Island.

These tankers average 1000 feet in length and, once at the destination terminal, the LNG would be piped off and stored on land in huge tanks. It would then be turned back into gas and transferred to a pipeline to large US markets.

SPB say they don't want LNG here for many reasons. An accident resulting in a leak of LNG from a tanker or storage tank would pose serious fire risks to surrounding communities, they say, including the possibility of severe thermal radiation burns.

Legally mandated and enforced "exclusion zones" would mean fishermen, fish farms, tour boat operators, ferries, ships going to and from the port of Bayside, and recreational boaters would have to give LNG tankers up to two kilometres clearance which, they say, could last from several hours to days, depending on the weather. If both terminals are approved, there would be over 500 tanker transits in and out of the bay every year.

US security requirements for LNG tankers include gunboat escorts en route to terminals putting US Coast Guard and possibly private armed boats in Canadian waters, they say, while local Canadian and US communities will incur huge costs to meet the safety and security requirements.

The environment and quality of life will deteriorate, says the pamphlet, and livelihoods based on fishing, aquaculture and tourism will be lost if heavy industry locates in this region.

"We take all the risks and receive no benefits. Two-thirds of the population and two-thirds of the water within the area affected by these terminals are Canadian."

All three levels of government have stated their opposition to LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay but the developers are still spending millions on studies and lawyers to get their terminals approved by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). SPB say that until Ottawa takes concrete action to assert Canadian sovereignty over Head Harbour Passage,the developers will not go away.

SPB is pressing Ottawa to pass a regulation under the Canada Shipping Act which bans LNG tankers from Head Harbour Passage. Until this happens, they are preparing to participate in the FERC approval process so that Canadian voices are heard loud and clear. They have also persuaded the province to participate as well.

This is a costly and lengthy process that requires legal representation and a thorough critique of documents that will run to thousands of pages in length. Should FERC approve one or both sites, SPB plans to appeal this decision to the US Court of Appeal.

The group are asking residents to send a personal letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to ban LNG tankers from Head Harbour Passage as soon as possible. Letters should be sent to Rt Hon Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A OA6 (no postage is necessary).

So far, SPB have raised three-quarters of their interim fund raising goal of $60,000 which will see them through the FERC review. The money has come from lots of people making both large and small donations and from fund raising events like raffles, film showings, bridge parties, and the Quoddy Jam concert organized by local young people.

They say they are very proud so many Charlotte County residents have stepped up to the plate and are asking for further contributions towards their fight.


© 2006 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB