"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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28 February 2007
"I think the citizens of Washington County, the citizens of Maine and the citizens of the United States should be very concerned by what the Canadian government is trying to do, which is to stop economic development in Washington County by dictating what sort of developments they want to occur on the U.S. side of the border," Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis said.
Webmaster's Comments: Girdis ignores the fact that his project would wreak economic and environmental harm on New Brunswick and Maine, as demonstrated by the Whole Bay Study. Girdis's project isn't about economic development for Washington County it's about making enormous profits for his investors and a large paycheck for himself.
The referendum question put forward by Nicholas and approved by Indian Township voters Tuesday would exempt the developer from real estate and personal property taxes. It also would allow the Pleasant Point reservation to reduce the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance tax it can impose on a construction project from 3 percent to 1 percent.
Webmaster's Comments: The Bangor Daily News article headline and story misrepresent the facts. What actually happened was the voters approved the following question, quoted in its entirety from a sample ballot:
"Do you favor Indian Township entering into an agreement to share in the revenues of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility on the Passamaquoddy Reservation at Pleasant Point?"
Residents voted only to share the revenues. Taxes aren't mentioned.
A "Community Guide" for the referendum a three-paragraph explanation states that the money would be shared "on a per capita basis" with Indian Township. Apparently, the Indian Township Government would receive no money at all for their operations, but the individual residents would share equally in the lease payments distribution.
Regarding the above "overwhelming support" quote by Brian Smith: It would be surprising if anybody, anywhere, declined an offer of a free annual $8,000 payment into their individual pockets in exchange for their vote. How much would the residents of the Pleasant Point community be receiving individually from the LNG deal? Zero. But then, Quoddy Bay LNG didn't need their votes.
Correction: Webmaster Comments previously indicated that the ground lease between the tribe and Quoddy Bay LLC would pay a maximum of $12 million to the tribe. In fact, the lease indicates that maximum payment would be $4 million per quarter, equaling $16 million per year, maximum. Since the lease also indicates that payments would be reduced by 25% if the storage tanks were located on land other than at Pleasant Point, then the maximum payment to the tribe is reduced to $12 million. The per-capita payment to tribal members would then be a maximum of roughly $8,000 per person per year, not the $6,000 previously stated.
"Following the Government of Canada's decision to deny LNG vessels permission to transit through Head Harbour Passage a position we fully support New Brunswick, as an intervener in the FERC process, has requested a suspension to further consideration of the applications in these proceedings," Graham said.
The issue is further complicated because an LNG terminal is being built in Saint John, New Brunswick. Tankers headed to that facility will pass through the Gulf of Maine, although Maine residents had little voice in this project.
Webmaster's Comments: The Bangor Daily News editorial staff would profit by discussing issues with the news department prior to issuing their opinions. If they had done that in this instance, they might have learned that:
- The Saint John, New Brunswick terminal does not entail transiting a challenging, hairpin-turning, whirlpool-infested route that passes close to ledges, people, and civilian "assets" in both the US and Canada. The Saint John route is a straight shot, in considerably less challenging waters than in Passamaquoddy Bay. (Factoid: As indicated in the 1910 treaty between the US and Britain specifying the exact international boundary in Passamaquoddy Bay, Head Harbour Passage, Western Passage, and Friar Roads and, therefore, Cobscook Bay are all within Passamaquoddy Bay.)
- The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ignores the world-class LNG-industry best practices standards (SIGTTO) that over 90% of the world's LNG industy subscribes to, and that warn industry participants against locating LNG piers in the conditions that are present in Passamaquoddy Bay. The LNG industry's standards, alone, should have short-circuited these projects before they got this far.
"In order to access the Quoddy Bay site, LNG ships would need to transit through Head Harbour Passage, which Canada has now claimed to be sovereign waters," stated Quoddy Bay LNG Project Manager Brian Smith.
Webmaster's Comments: "Earth to Brian Smith" Since the War of 1812, Head Harbour Passage has been Canadian waters, without dispute.
"Earth to Dean Girdis" Even the LNG industry itself, through the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO), in their documented, published best practices standards, indicate in around 30 places against siting an LNG terminal under the conditions in Passamaquoddy Bay.
The comments of U.S. Senator Kevin L. Raye regarding Canada's position on LNG tankers' passage through Head Harbour Passage "as a serious challenge to US sovereignty" and that "every American should be concerned about the dangerous precedent it would establish for a foreign country to control access to our ports" are typical of a dog about to find the limits of its own leash. (Feb 23)
U.S. Senator Kevin L. Raye [Raye is a Senator in the Maine legislature, not a US Senator webmaster] has denounced Ambassador Wilson's letter, saying it represents "a serious challenge to U.S. sovereignty" and advises that, "every American should be concerned about the dangerous precedent it would establish for a foreign country to control access to our ports."
Sen. Raye levelled accusations at what he called "the powerful Irving Group of Companies" which he said brought to bear considerable influence shaping public opinion in the province with its newspapers while at the same time building its very own LNG terminal in Saint John.
The senator said if Canada follows through on its threat, the U.S.government has a responsibility to ensure such actions are met with "immediate and commensurate consequences," suggesting that authorization be withheld for Canadian LNG interests to tap into gas pipelines that run through Maine and that Canadian passage through U.S. waters on the west coast could be affected. (Feb 20)
- The "US ports" to which Raye refers don't exist;
- It is US LNG developers who are challenging Canada's sovereignty, not the other way around;
- Raye's accusation that Irving is shaping public opinion is an attempt to "convict through innuendo," without supporting evidence;
- The implication that the two proposed LNG terminals could compete with Irving's Canaport terminal is unrealistic, since the Canaport terminal will have secured customers and be delivering natural gas to those customers long before Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG could be built and running.
- The LNG that will be provided by the permitted Canaport terminal and the two offshore terminals at Gloucester, Massachusetts will most likely fulfill the additional New England demand for years to come;
- Raye is related to outspoken supporters of the Quoddy Bay LNG project whom would likely benefit financially from the project;
- Raye suggests that the US should block natural gas coming through Maine from Canada advocating against US energy security.
Downeast LNG is especially disappointed that the Canadian government is trying to stop their project before it has had its proper review in accordance with US laws and regulatory practices, said Girdis.... (Feb 20)
Webmaster's Comments: And yet, Girdis wants communities and organizations to approve these same projects prior to their proper review.
A Perry special town meeting deemed legal by some and illegal by others brought a turnout of about 200 people to listen, voice their opinions and cast votes regarding a citizens' committee to represent the town in negotiations with the liquefied natural gas developer, Quoddy Bay LNG. (Feb 13)
20 February 2007
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There are three liquified natural gas import terminals planned for Atlantic Canada: two in Nova Scotia and a third in New Brunswick. But one of those projects is frozen mid-construction. The project a Bear Head Nova Scotia has enjoyed more support than similar proposals in Maine, but it's run up against an unforseen obstacle. No one wants to use it. Sara Nics reports.
Webmaster's Comments: Lack of LNG supply, lack of demand, and changes in the LNG market are hurting the chances of the proposed Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects. Anadarko's CN$110 million loss on its permitted but failed Nova Scotia LNG terminal is covered in the story, and Quoddy Bay LNG Project Manager Brian Smith's logic for the failure is incorrect, according to the interviewed US Department of Energy's spokesman for the Energy Information Agency.
The purpose of this report, "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Its Impact on the U.S. Natural Gas Supply/Demand Imbalance," is twofold. First, the report revisits the findings of a prior 2005 AGF study, "Natural Gas Outlook to 2020", in light of recent market conditions. Second, and very importantly, the report performs a "gap analysis" that compares the policy scenarios outlined in the 2005 AGF Outlook Study to the potential impacts of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This analysis measures the progress in implementing policies/regulations that could ease the natural gas supply/demand imbalance and lower energy costs for consumers. (Jan 2007)
Webmaster's Comments: Despite the organization's non-profit status, there's a definite, flagrant pro-industry bias.
12 February 2007
The Indian Township tribal government is holding two community meetings this month to explain a proposed tax agreement that the Passamaquoddy Joint Tribal Council is being asked to sign by Quoddy Bay LNG.
The first community meeting was scheduled for Friday, February 9, with the second one not yet scheduled. The meetings are being held in advance of a referendum to be held at Indian Township concerning the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Split Rock, Pleasant Point. The date of the referendum has not yet been set, but it is to be held before February 28. (Feb 9)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: We understand that the February 9 Indian Township community meeting was scrubbed as a result of no attendance by community members.
A petition to have the Canadian government declare the Passamaquoddy Bay ecosystem an emergency marine protected area (MPA) is being circulated in an effort to protect endangered right whales, marine mammals, birds, fish and other species and to prevent the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals around the bay. (Feb 9)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Sign the petition.
[Selectman Jeanne Guisinger] added, "Voters in the town of Harpswell said no to $8 million. The Passamaquoddy Tribe has supposedly been offered $12 million. Could a negotiating committee have done any better? Well, they certainly couldn't have done any worse." (Feb 9)
Anadarko had been unable to acquire adequate supplies of liquefied natural gas to put through the terminal, Canadian officials said. An effort to sell the partially completed facility also failed, officials said.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: How do Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG expect to obtain any supply of LNG?
Although Coalition for Responsible Siting of LNG president Joe Carvalho refused to comment for this story, The Herald News has learned the coalition's executive board has requested a meeting with Lambert to "clear the air." (Feb 11)
In the wake of yet another city's decision to abandon plans for a liquefied natural gas facility in the face of local opposition, "anywhere but here'' might become California's political anthem. (Feb 11)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This writer tries to convince us that "history" rather than siting and circumstance protects us. He also throws out the all too familiar pro-LNG-at-any-cost "NIMBY" categorization at all those who oppose such projects.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This capability makes offshore LNG terminals even more attractive over land-based terminals.
10 February 2007
Graham said he and Baldacci discussed the plans in Maine to locate liquified natural gas terminals on the American side of Passamaquoddy Bay over Canadian objections.
The key to the future of natural gas lies in how that gas is to be supplied to the expanding markets across the globe; the movement of natural gas, either by pipeline or as LNG, follows a pattern today in which the highly developed economies consume the greatest proportion of the gas.
“We don't do an economic analysis of the need for such facilities,” said Paul Friedman, a FERC project manager, at a recent public meeting. “The proponent company is at total financial risk. (This) order will address the need for such facilities.”
Green Coast Related
US Urged to Ramp up Geothermal Power Planet Ark, Sydney, NSW, Australia
9 February 2007
SAINT JOHN A second oil refinery in Saint John together with the proposed LNG terminal there will double the number of ships operating in the Bay of Fundy increasing the risk of oil spills, tanker accidents, possible explosions and possible collisions with large marine mammals, says the Fundy Baykeeper.
FALL RIVER Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri recently sent a strongly worded letter to Hess LNG CEO Gordon Shearer to inform the company that the Ocean State will develop an emergency response plan on its own and will not be held hostage by a private entity that he says is attempting to call the shots on how such a response plan should be formulated.
BALTIMORE Maryland's two U.S. Senators joined the governor yesterday in opposing a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near Baltimore.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Two newly licensed offshore LNG terminals in New England, near the market.
8 February 2007
Although Emery had little to say on Wednesday, he did comment on the breakup during an interview with the Bangor Daily News last month. "Although our intentions were certainly genuine and [we did] the best that we could with the original group, things got really complicated," he said.
"For example, they owe us right now ... a half a million dollars, but they won’t give it to us because we didn’t meet some of the thresholds in the contract. Well if that’s true then the contract needs to stop until those thresholds are met, but for both sides, not just one," the chief said. (Feb 7)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Only about 50 people, and few questions. Where's the interest in this "deal"?
"Mr. Turner and Mr. [Dick] Adams questioned the validity of that meeting, but they cannot ignore the enormity of the collective voice," Guisinger said. "On a stormy February night, and despite the dire Mr. Turner's dire warnings that this was an 'illegal' meeting, a record turn out for a special town meeting overwhelmingly, in a 3-1 vote, mandated citizen participation in the negotiating process. It was an unshakable show of support for community involvement in the process and a strong vote of no-confidence for the present approach." (Feb 6)
Petroleum giant Anadarko Petroleum of Houston, Tex., this week announced it has written off its investment in Bear Head LNG project in Richmond County, a wholly owned subsidiary, and will now mothball the site.
The company had planned to build a $500-million LNG terminal and have it supplying natural gas to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline in 2008. The company slowed construction after it failed to secure a long-term stranded gas supply.
A 2006 report by Synapse Energy Economics found that existing land-based LNG terminals (including Bear Head in Nova Scotia and Canaport in New Brunswick, now under construction in eastern Canada and expected to begin deliveries in 2008) can meet present and future demand for imported gas in the northeastern United States. The authors argue that gas demand may actually decline through better management of existing resources, including storage facilities to help meet peak winter demand, as well as increased use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind.
The conflict is an important test of where the United States' energy future is headed. [Bold emphasis added.] (Feb 4)
In filings in Washington in the past 10 days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation contend that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's conclusion is based on flawed data or methodology relating to local weather patterns, marine life such as lobsters and clams, fishing and other small vessel traffic near the proposed site, and other specific environmental concerns. (Feb 1)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The US Environmental Protection Agency is questioning FERC's judgement.
...Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr., a former judge, said yesterday that the new law will stand up in court. "We believe the critical area zone prohibition of LNG trumps a FERC decision. ... There are few things that trump FERC, but we believe this is one of them."
The nearest houses are 1.2 miles from the site. (Bold emphasis added.)
Two pipeline workers were injured and 30 families evacuated for three hours today after a 25-foot plume of pressurized natural gas spewed from an Energy Transfer Partners' pipeline that ruptured just north of Interstate 10 in Chambers County. (Jan 29)
Seventeen [LNG import terminals] have been approved by FERC. Another three have been approved by the Coast Guard, which oversees offshore facilities in federal waters. The Canadian Government has approved three. Mexico has approved an additional three.
In addition, eleven have been proposed to FERC and another eight have been proposed to the Coast Guard. [Bold emphasis added.] (Feb 3)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Summary:
There are 5 existing (4 onshore, 1 offshore) LNG import terminals now operate in the US
(Note: 1 LNG export terminal operates in Alaska);
- 17 onshore LNG import terminals have been approved by FERC;
- 3 offshore LNG import terminals have been approved by the US Coast Guard.
- 3 onshore LNG import terminals have been approved by Canada;
- 3 onshore LNG import terminals have been approved by Mexico.
That totals 26 approved import terminals; however, industry experts have indicated only about 7 new terminals are actually needed to supply the entire US into the future.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also comes under fire:
- Advance Copy of Pro-LNG Column Leads to Challenge of Environmental Credentials
[Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] said he and Waiya are on record as supporting the concept of LNG imports to replace coal and other power sources that they say are dirtier. “I have supported LNG facilities near my house, if they can be built to comply with environmental laws,” Kennedy said. “But I have not endorsed this particular project, and in fact, the Cabrillo Port project has all kinds of problems that I think may be fatal to it.”
The Kennedy column was re portedly drafted nearly two months ago, and environmentalists charge that its release was timed by BHP Billiton’s law and public relations firm to coincide with upcoming public hearings. The firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, has a million-dollar lobbying contract for BHPB’s Malibu project.
The alleged source of the document before its publication, Manatt attorney David Huard, was asked by The News if the firm manipulated the timing of the release of the Kennedy report, and he replied with a terse, “I have no comment.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s commentary, "LNG a vital ‘bridge' fuel," makes several good points, including that extracting and burning coal and oil is toxic, and causes harm to people and the environment. Although it is carefully worded to avoid an endorsement of the proposed BHP Billiton Cabrillo Port floating liquefied natural gas terminal, it leaves the reader with the misguided impression that this particular project could be the solution to many of these problems. (Feb 4)
Three of the eight projects have already been approved by a joint federal-provincial regulatory panel. The Maritime projects are poised to become major LNG gateways into the northeastern U.S. market, with Quebec eager to also play a major role. (Feb 5)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Story content is somewhat outdated, but still informative. It lists the following Canadian projects:
- Saint John, NB Canaport (Irving Oil and Repsol)
- Bear Head, NS Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (permitted project has been mothballed for lack of LNG supply)
- Goldboro, NS Keltic Petrochemicals and Maple LNG
- Bish Cove near the port of Kitimat, BC Kitimat LNG Inc.
- Prince Rupert, BC WestPac LNG Corp.
- Gros-Cacouna, QP (near Rivière-du-Loup) Petro-Canada and TransCanada
- Lévis, QP Rabaska (Gaz Métro, Enbridge Inc., and Gaz de France)
- Grande-Anse, QP (on the Saguenay River) Énergie Grande-Anse Inc.
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