2006 November 24
ST. STEPHEN The developers of a multi-million dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Maine told those attending a public meeting earlier this week that they planned to file several permits with the state department of environmental protection "on or about Dec.1."
According to a report aired by Calais radio station WQDY/WALZ, Rob Wyatt, Downeast LNG's vice-president, said the permits to be filed were for "the purpose of constructing and operating a liquefied natural gas import terminal and associated natural gas pipeline" on the south side of Mill Cove at Robbinston.
Wyatt stated that the permitting process could last a year or longer, but estimated a construction start date for the facility in 2008, with a completion date and beginning of operations in 2011.
In the WQDY radio report, Wyatt is heard telling the meeting that a 31-mile-long, 30-inch diameter pipeline will be constructed to deliver gas from the LNG terminal to Baileyville, Me. to the existing pressure station of the Maritimes Northeast Pipeline. He said the natural gas pipeline will run through the Maine communities of Robbinston, Calais, Baring Plantation, Baileyville, and the town of [Princeton] and described pipeline construction as "very fast."
The proposed 80-acre site for the LNG terminal is on land that is directly across Passamaquoddy Bay, about three miles in distance, from the Canadian resort community of St. Andrews in Charlotte County.
In its initial public presentations, Downeast LNG said it would build a pier approximately 3,000 feet in length out into the bay at which the tankers could dock and unload. This construction would be done so it would be unnecessary to dredge the area closer to shore.
According to the WQDY radio report filed by news director Tom McLaughlin, one person at the information meeting this week suggested the final 1,000 feet of that proposed pier be used by the sea urchin fishery to raise sea urchin seeds in "nursery bags" hung from wire. The man said he felt that length of pier could accommodate 2,000 bags of sea urchin seeds and would employ two people and support six to 10 divers.
In a press release earlier this month, Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG and a former international energy consultant, said that his team is moving forward with its application to U.S. and state regulatory authorities, and called for continued cooperation between Canada and the United States.
"Americans and Canadians have cooperated on energy issues for years," said Girdis.
In the press release, Girdis said his company is asking for nothing more than a "fair hearing on both sides of the border."
"We hope that our Canadian neighbours appreciate that the permitting process in the U.S. is comprehensive and rigorous, and that the various U.S. agencies involved are working closely with their Canadian counterparts," saidGirdis.
Girdis cited a new report from Canada's Fraser Institute (www.fraserinstitute.ca), "Achieving Energy Security through Integrated Canadian-American Markets," that notes "Canada and the United States enjoy the world's most integrated and efficient energy border."
The report goes on to state: "Canadian federal and provincial authorities should work together with their American counterparts to develop streamlined best practices and expertise in approving new LNG facilities and in regulating LNG imports."
Girdis said that while many in Canada recognize the importance of the U.S.- Canadian energy relationship, it was regrettable some Canadian politicians are arbitrarily threatening to block the transit of LNG carriers to any terminal on the U.S. side of Passamaquoddy Bay.
"There is absolutely no legal, safety, or environmental justification for keeping LNG carriers out of Passamaquoddy Bay," said Girdis.
"It is difficult to understand why the bay would be closed to LNG ships when each year approximately 75 ships, some carrying hazardous cargoes such as ammonium nitrate, travel the same route to and from the Port of Bayside, New Brunswick."
The Bayside Port is less than a mile across the St.Croix River from Calais.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada will not allow LNG tankers through Passamaquoddy Bay, but no official legislation has been introduced or passed.
© 2006 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB