"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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30 November 2007
Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) will hold a public hearing on January 28 to consider the best possible route, construction schedule, and methods for the Emera Brunswick Pipeline, which is expected to transport regasified LNG from the Canaport LNG terminal in St. John, New Brunswick, to the United States. (Nov 29)
Before giving Rabaska the federal approval it needs, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency wants to consult with the tiny Maliseet of Viger First Nation, which has ancestral land claims to the Rabaska site.
In a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, acting chief Ernest-Daniel Nicolas noted the band wrote to the Rabaska promoters and the federal government in 2004, informing them of the band's ancestral rights to the site.
The BC Energy Plan states coal-fired generation must have sequestration. BC, as part of the green plan, should not go down the route of opening up the province to gas-fired generation. British Columbians are to reduce emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, so it would seem foolish to sanction a policy of fossil fuel burning, thus placing greater burdens on crucial parts of the economy, where meeting targets will be more problematic and failure would cost jobs. (Nov 29)
In response to the safety concerns, WestPac will complete a risk assessment and consequence analysis that will consider the likelihood of an accidental event and examine the potential impacts that could result. These studies will consider the impact on ferries and the ability to evacuate residents from Texada Island. The results of these studies will form the development of emergency preparedness and contingency and emergency response plans for the facilities. Such plans would be developed in consultation with emergency responders and key service providers, and will focus on the protection of public health and safety. (Nov 29)
Webmaster's Comments: Who would be providing the information that emergency response organizations need to determine their training and infrastructure improvements?
In the case of Maine's Emergency Response Agency's attempt to provide coordinated information and readiness related to the Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay was a miserable two-day boondoggle, with no advice from the state, and with several local emergency responders threatening to walk out.
The LNG industry can't be trusted to look out for the safety interests of local communities when community interests may be at odds with the industry.
"If he's going to keep his mind open to all possible energy development and not categorically oppose LNG, that's not an unreasonable positions for him to take," said Huhtala. "But the agencies in the state of Oregon made it pretty damn clear that the Bradwood project has so many problems it probably couldn't and shouldn't be redeemed. He should take a stand on the Bradwood project." (Nov 28)
Now that we have in-depth analysis from the state, the shallowness of the Clatsop County Planning Commission's reversal of findings by county planning staff is exposed as a power play utterly without intellectual merit.
This LNG permitting process should not be evaluated as a race for economic development. This should be a strategic, national planning exercise. Instead, we have a horse race among developers of prospective LNG terminals. It is a process that rewards - more than anyone else - Washington, D.C.-based lawyers who specialize in regulatory law. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Nov 26)
Webmaster's Comments: Some people think that if there are no facts to discredit the opponents, resorting to name-calling (i.e., "NIMBY," "emotional," "moon bat," "tree-hugger," etc.) will somehow be convincing.
In a series of letters dated Oct. 30, Kulongoski stopped just short of chiding natural gas developers about the way they've involved the public in their planning to build natural gas infrastructure across western Oregon.
Kulongoski cited reports of meetings being insufficiently noticed, times being changed at the last minute, pipeline routes being changed before meetings without notice to newly affected landowners and company representatives trespassing on private property.
"I have heard that company representatives sometimes come across as unprepared, dismissive and inattentive during public meetings and generally are very heavy handed when working with concerned citizens," Kulongoski wrote. [Red emphasis added.] (Nov 27)
Webmaster's Comments: Governor Kulongoski's complaints ring all--to-familiar here in the Passamaquoddy Bay area, and are indicative of FERC's lack of concern about the rights of the public.
It's too bad that Maine's Governor Baldacci won't stand up for Maine citizens on the ill-sited, and economically and socially harmful Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects, like Gov. Kulongoski is doing for Oregon citizens.
Calling the federal study “incomplete and flawed,” state officials say there is no assurance the facility will meet Oregon’s safety and environmental standards. They also question the glaring absence of any independent assessment of the region’s need for a liquified natural gas facility. “For FERC to make LNG siting decisions in a vacuum without the best available information and scientific data does a huge disservice to the people of Oregon,” says a draft cover letter from the state Energy Department.
Meanwhile, Congress should move swiftly to give states a meaningful role in determining where LNG terminals are located. [Red emphasis added.] (Nov 27)
On December 12 FERC will convene an engineering design and technical conference in Coos Bay on the proposed Jordan Cove LNG regasification terminal. The conference will not be open to the public, but intervenors may attend. Advance registration an non-disclosure agreements are required. (Nov 27)
COQUILLE The Coos County Board of Commissioners postponed its final approval of a land use application Monday that would allow construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Coos Bay’s North Spit. (Nov 27)
…Tangguh's [a supplier, along with Shell, to the Baja California terminal supplying Mexico and California] LNG will be a reliable source of income for Sempra, but not even Sempra is willing to call it a reliable source of energy for California. In an exchange of e-mails over several days inviting Larson and Sempra to explain why their LNG should be considered a reliable source of energy for California, he consistently refused any direct response. (Nov 28)
Inventories are now 95 Bcf above the five-year average…. [Bold emphasis added.] (Nov 29)
Petro-Canada has some 12 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in Canada's far north, the arctic islands region thousands of miles from potential markets, ice-locked for much of the year and where winter temperatures routinely fall below minus 40 degrees.
"To me it makes a pretty ideal (liquefied natural gas [LNG]) project," Brenneman said at a company-sponsored investment conference. "We've just formed a small team to start looking at the feasibility of that." (Nov 28)
29 November 2007
Any energy proposal on one side of an international border that puts at risk environmental and economic systems on the other side … is prima facie a violation of international law. [Bold red emphasis added.] (Nov 24)
Webmaster's Comments: The above article strengthens the case against LNG developers Dean Girdis and Rob Wyatt (Downeast LNG), and Donald M. Smith and Brian Smith (Quoddy Bay LNG). Nothing can change the fact that they selected an inappropriate location for their projects.
Baucus has also asked U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to call for an investigation by the International Joint Commission, a panel of both American and Canadian experts charged with preventing and resolving international disputes between the U.S. and Canada. The panel was instrumental, at Baucus' urging, in defeating a similar mining proposal in the same area in 1988. (Mar 30)
Webmaster's Comments: Montana's Senator Baucus seems to be more concerned about cross-border environmental and economic impacts than the Maine's federal delegation, Sen. Olympia Snowe, Sen. Susan Collins, Rep. Michael Michaud, and Rep. Thomas Allen (who now wants to represent this district of Maine as Senator).
26 November 2007
At the November 14 meeting, two BEP members, Matt Scott and Nancy Ziegler, reversed their previous votes opposing the withdrawal request and voted in favor of granting Downeast's request to withdraw the application and refile at a later date. The request to withdraw the application was granted by a vote of 5 3.
"Now for the board to rush to a new decision where two members changed their votes, at a meeting that did not clearly state this specific agenda item in advance, and on a huge matter that did not provide for appropriate legal and public participation, is unfortunate, lessens public faith in the whole process and begs a host of questions." (Nov 23)
Webmaster's Comments: The BEP's reversal came after rejecting 8 attempts by DeLNG to corrupt the process. DeLNG's Pierce Atwood attorney Chip Ahrens stated that the reason for withdrawing was not due to having lost Title, Right, or Interest in their proposed pipeling route even though DeLNG and allies had used that argument in two hearings to justify withdrawal. That leaves the 6 failed pleas made by DeLNG before the BEP where they attempted to submit testimony after the close of the hearings.
But now, after two additional hearings where the BEP denied DeLNG's attempts to withdraw, two members of the BEP decided to change their votes; they say they had "made a mistake" after having steadfastly made 8 previous rejections of DeLNG's arguments. What's going on?
24 November 2007
Webmaster's Comments: FERC bills itself as a "safety agency," and has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Coast Guard to be cooperating agencies. For FERC to issue an LNG terminal permit prior to the Coast Guard issuing its final opinion regarding site location safety is non-cooperative, and illustrates FERC's actual lack of dedication to safety.
When the Coast Guard finds a site location to be unsafe, as with the Weaver's Cove LNG terminal proposal, FERC facilitates undue industry pressure on the Coast Guard, while at the same time, taking itself off the hook.
Platts LNG Daily [subscription required] reports that Suez LNG is now using U.S. mariners aboard one of its LNG carriers, the Suez Matthew, pursuant to an agreement between the company and MARAD. (Nov 21)
At a mock funeral for the proposed Weaver’s Cove Energy liquefied natural gas terminal Saturday, opponents of the project gathered outside the North Main Street site to pay their “lack of respects” to a project they believe is now dead. (Nov 18)
The Weaver's Cove vision of the Taunton River is a bleak one, as noted in their response to the National Park Service's Taunton Wild and Scenic River Study, Draft Report and Environmental Assessment. They describe the last five miles (essentially Fall River and Somerset north of the Braga Bridge) as "almost entirely built up on both banks, with power plants, an inactive oil terminal, roadways, railroads, bridges, power lines, shipyards, sewage treatment plants and large stretches of residential living." In other words, it's so ugly that their terminal can't possibly degrade it any further. Nice neighbors.
The reality is far different. (Nov 9)
"For FERC to make LNG siting decisions in a vacuum without the best available information and scientific data does a huge disservice to the people of Oregon," says a proposed cover letter drafted by the state Energy Department.
Webmaster's Comments: The proposed NorthernStar Bradwood Landing LNG terminal would require LNG ships to pass within one-quarter of a mile from Astoria (due to the height of the Astoria Megler Bridge) placing downtown Astoria in the LNG ship "Zones of Concern" #1 and #2 (the most-extreme hazard zones) and to transit an approximate 32-mile, winding, inland water transit, near people, and in conflict with other existing uses all warned against by the LNG industry's own standards, developed and published by SIGTTO.
Also, farmers are not allowed to plant anything within 25 feet of either side of the pipeline. That is ludicrous. The gas companies say the farmers will be "fairly compensated" but how do you put a value on lost land over the course of a lifetime? You can't.
Also, in order to put this pipeline through, the gas companies will have to cut down a lot of trees along the Willamette and Pudding Rivers. Those trees, however, are vital to soil stability and survival of the fish habitat. The trees provide shade, which keeps the water temperature livable for these fish.
According to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission notice, staff of the Office of Energy Projects will pay a visit to the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal site on Tuesday, Dec. 11. (Nov 22)
Webmaster's Comments: If FERC paid any attention to the LNG industry's own terminal siting standards, as developed and published by SIGTTO, the Jordan Cove terminal site proposal would have disappeared long ago.
So far, promoters like Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas and the Canadian Fort Chicago energy firm have made five proposals to build LNG receiving facilities along the picturesque Oregon coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria to the waters off the small but lovely town of Coos Bay.
If Woodside's plans were approved today, the company would alternate between two identical regasification ships in Santa Monica Bay. At a buoy 28 miles off Dockweiler Beach, one ship would regasify that load from a near-frozen, liquefied state and deliver the gas through two 24-inch-wide pipelines that would travel along the ocean bottom. (Nov 7)
23 November 2007
After finishing school in the spring she returned to Sweet Harvest Market, and her calendar project was born when she took a photograph of her roommate, who is a member of one of the featured bands, then they decided to donate the proceeds to Save Passamaquoddy Bay.
"We now will be able to come back before the board next year with a new pipeline route and additional information that addresses concerns raised by board members following the public hearings last summer. A more complete record will enable the BEP to make a more informed decision on our project," said company president Dean Girdis. (Nov 20)
Webmaster's Comments: Despite the BEP hearing, that disclosed among numerous other problems with DeLNG's testimony the need for a two-year lobster study before any permit should be considered, Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis has already announced that they'll present their permit applications to the State of Maine in 2008 one year premature!
If Downeast LNG should have learned anything from the BEP hearing, it would be "do your homework before filing your state applications" something that DeLNG previously hadn't even come close to doing, and that Girdis has arrogantly indicated he isn't going to do in the future.
Apparently, DeLNG's President Dean Girdis modus operandi (M.O.; method of operation) is to be "information challenged," working toward getting slapped down again in 2008.
Denise Reinhardt, a spokeswoman for Malaspina Communities for Public Power (MCPP), presented a resolution to New Democratic Party (NDP) MLA Nicholas Simons, who represents the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding, which calls for no LNG terminal and plant on Texada Island or "anywhere on the coast of BC."
WestPac has backed off for a year, Simpson added, only because of the work of the people in the community who oppose it. "The people in the community deserve all the credit for that," he said. "But as you know, they have backed off for now, but they have not gone away." (Nov 22)
Colin Palmer is the regional board chairman and Electoral Area C director. "It was just quite clear that local government simply cannot have a referendum on an opinion," he said. "And neither can we kind of do some end run around such a thing and spend money on it. That would be illegal as well."
TAN [Texada Action Now] is not dismissing the idea of a referendum, but it doesn't think it's as urgent as it seemed to be a month or two ago, Childress added. "I think it's clear to everyone that an overwhelming majority of people on Texada Island don't want the WestPac project to go ahead," he said. "If we think in the future that a referendum is necessary, we're willing to go ahead with it by finding an impartial third party to conduct it and TAN would be willing to pay for it." (Nov 22)
Webmaster's Comments: It's a curious democracy that doesn't allow its citizens to vote on issues that affect their lives and well-being.
WestPac LNG, an Alberta-based private company, has proposed a combined LNG import terminal and natural gas-fired electrical generation facility on the north end of Texada Island. Plans for the $2-billion project include two onshore LNG storage tanks, each with a capacity up to 165,000 cubic metres, and an interconnection with the existing Terasen natural gas pipeline from the mainland to Vancouver Island.
Stu Leson, WestPac's vice-president of business development, said the announcement shows LNG is an important part of Terasen's supply portfolio, and it is complementary to WestPac's proposal for Texada. "We were certainly aware of the Terasen proposal and the kind of peaking facility they are going to put in," he said. "There's quite a difference between the type of facility that they're putting in and the type that we're putting in."
Chuck Childress, chairman of TAN (Texada Action Now), said the Terasen facility hurts WestPac's proposal slightly. "Basically, it lets Terasen be more efficient in its delivery of natural gas to Vancouver Island," he said. "It lets them do it in a more cost-effective manner, which then makes some of the arguments WestPac has been making redundant." (Nov 22)
19 November 2007
Webmaster's Comments: In other words, Weavers Cove LNG can continue to burn up taxpayers' money, even though their project has no future. The Weavers Cove project violates SIGTTO LNG-industry terminal siting standards standards that FERC ignored and violated when they granted a permit for the project.
If FERC actually were a safety agency instead of an instrument of industry, they would take the Coast Guard's opinion into account before and in deliberation of issuing a permit, rather than issuing a permit and then asking for the Coast Guard's opinion regarding safety and security.
Why haven't our federal delegation Sen. Olympia Snowe, Sen. Susan Collins, Rep. Mike Michaud, and Rep. Tom Allen attempted to fix this obvious and wasteful cart-before-the-horse?
Floridian Natural Gas Storage LLC plans a facility in southeast Florida that would liquefy gas from pipelines and store it for later regasification and send out to users, partner Bradley Williams told a Rice University conference.
Each of the storage tanks on site would be capable of holding 190,000 cubic meters of LNG, the equivalent of 4 billion cubic feet of gas, Williams said. The facility would be much larger than the 100 onshore LNG facilities already used to meet peak gas demand across the United States, Williams said. (Nov 16)
SUGAR LAND, TX--(MARKET WIRE)--Nov 15, 2007 -- Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) -- Occidental Energy Ventures Corporation, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY - News), is in the process of securing liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply for its Ingleside Energy Center near Corpus Christi in Gregory, Texas. (Nov 15)
[P]lans that could see the construction of a West Coast LNG terminal in the next decade could play a role in ultimately short-circuiting the controversial $16.2-billion pipeline that was originally envisioned as bringing natural gas from the northern expanses of the Beaufort Sea to the gas-hungry markets of the United States.
Obviously unasked questions abound. What, for example, if anything, will LNG imports do to already depressed North American natural gas prices? North American natural gas is currently priced independent of European or Asian markets. Will a market fuelled by new LNG imports be subject to price wars? Or, more importantly, will price surges develop as competitors bid for the increasingly valuable fuel? (Nov 18)
Paul Friedman, a FERC environmental project manager who is working on the proposal, said the Natural Gas Act and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 give FERC "total authority" to site onshore LNG facilities. In most cases, FERC, he said, can override the decisions made by counties in Washington and Oregon.
"It's a voluntary thing, but we think they should do it," Friedman said of the local process. "It's one way of proving to us that you're going to reduce environmental damage by following local procedures." (Nov 18)
Webmaster's Comments: This is more evidence of the cockamamie FERC process.
At the board of commissioners' public hearing on the project Oct. 22, county staff was surprised by testimony suggesting that FERC could simply overrule any local conditions imposed on the project, in defiance of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Energy Policy Act, according to a Clatsop County press release issued late last week. (Nov 16)
It was with some amusement that we listened to the Northern Star spokesman call Dr. Jerry Havens a "hired gun" at the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee meeting on Nov. 8 in Knappa. It is an old public relations trick: If you can't dispute the message, attack the messenger.
We feel a fact check is in order. Havens, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas and a nationally respected expert on liquefied natural gas, is the scientist who wrote the U.S. Coast Guard model used by FERC to determine the vapor cloud exclusion zones. Havens has repeatedly expressed his concerns that FERC is incorrectly calculating the results of an LNG spill. (Nov 16)
Webmaster's Comments: If FERC doesn't calculate LNG vapor dispersion models properly according to the author of those models how can FERC call itself a "safety" agency?
Webmaster's Comments: Two things:
- Trinidad's natural gas supply is due to run out in 12 years; and,
- BP isn't exactly a company that exudes safety with its lack of corporate safety culture, it's record of fatalities and accidents, the criminal investigation that's currently being conducted about the company it's more like a company that should be kept as far away from our shores as possible!
16 November 2007
Reached for comment, [Save Passamaquoddy Bay attorney] Ron Shems told WQDY News, "I think what today shows is almost desperate behavior by Downeast LNG to want to start over. They rushed into this. Their application was not put together well, they didn't have the studies, there were lots of problems with what they wanted to do. That became apparent at the July hearings and so they want to start over."
"This is a blow to public participation in the permitting process because there was an enormous effort on everyone's behalf for the citizens to participate, and to simply go through this again because Downeast chose to jump the gun and not do a good job is to make everyone have to go through it again. Their feet should have been held to the fire," Shems told us. [Red emphasis added.]
"We now will be able to come back before the board next year with a new pipeline route and additional information that addresses concerns raised by board members following the public hearings last summer," [Downeast LNG's] president, Dean Girdis, said in a statement. "A more complete record will enable the BEP to make a more informed decision on our project."
After the vote, Save Passamaquoddy Bay attorney Ronald Kreisman urged the board to make sure Downeast LNG files all of the required information next time to avoid additional "dry runs" by the company. [Red and bold emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Even though the week-long BEP hearings in July brought forth the need to conduct a two-year lobster study, Downeast LNG is already saying they'll be re-submitting their applications next year a year too early to complete the study.
By withdrawing, it's clear that Downeast LNG was ill-prepared when they submitted their state applications, and after an expensive taxpayer-financed hearing and vetting by the Department of Environmental Protection that demonstrated Downeast LNG's lack of diligence, after intervenors dealt in good faith by following the rules, and after eight failed attempts by Downeast LNG to subvert the state's regulatory system by trying to submit information after the record was closed and attempting to withdraw their applications, the developer finally got permission to withdraw.
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Downeast LNG intends to continue its abuse of the regulatory process.
Canadian officials have threatened to block LNG tankers from passing through their waters en route to either Robbinston or another LNG facility proposed for nearby Pleasant Point. [Red emphasis added.]
Webmaster's Comments: Canada hasn't "threatened" to block LNG transits; it has been stated at the highest level face-to-face from Prime Minister Harper to President Bush that they will block them.
The US Department of State's false assertion that LNG tankers have a right to transit Canada's Head Harbour Passage when Canada has the same right as the US Coast Guard has to assess the Head Harbour Passage waterway, and where appropriate, to prohibit LNG transits to the proposed Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG ports is merely a red herring.
The US State Department is telling the world that the US Coast Guard doesn't have the authority it has been given by Congress!
US Senator Olympia Snowe has been aping that same aspersion.
Relying on the State Department's deceit, FERC and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection act as though the proposed LNG projects can actually receive LNG by ship, and are wasting taxpayers' money vetting projects that have no future.
It's time that US and Maine bureaucrats and politicians be taken to task on this matter, to stop this uncontrolled hemorrhaging of state and federal tax money.
This is not selfish NIMBY, it's all about Quoddy citizens protecting our lives, our businesses, our homes, and the unique environment that binds us to this place. A small number of LNG jobs in Maine and no revenues flowing into Canada is not a good business deal for us.
There are many local folks who are busy building viable businesses based on our readily available natural resources. Our sad history is packed with saviours from afar who came, exploited our resources, and left. It's time we showed some collective drive and intellect and moved forward to build our own international community based on the unbelievable resources at our doorsteps. (Nov 15)
14 November 2007
Maine Assistant Attorney General Peggy Bensinger ruled that the BEP had the right to suspend the application rather than grant a withdrawal of the application. "We have a different viewpoint," stated Girdis. (Nov 6)
Webmaster's Comments: Like too many LNG projects, the proposed terminal and tanks would be too close (1.41.75 miles) to the community. (See http://www.lngpartners.com/_db/assets/sitemap.jpg for a project map.)
Officials in New Jersey, concerned that the island [to be called Safe Harbor Energy] might jeopardize the state's 127-mile coast and the $21 billion it generates in tourism each year, last weekend won a voice on whether the Atlantic Sea Island Group's plan for the artificial island is built.
Floridian Natural Gas is seeking FERC approval to build an LNG storage facility in Florida to serve as a peakshaving plant to both complement proposed LNG import terminals by storing gas imports and compete with them during peak volume periods. (Nov 9)
U.S. officials have issued a draft environmental impact statement on SUEZ Energy' proposed LNG import terminal offshore of Florida, moving the project to the public meeting stage of the licensing process, the company said Friday.
Calypso, a fallback plan after unsuccessful efforts by SUEZ to locate a terminal in the Bahamas to serve Florida, would be a submerged buoy 10 miles off southeast Florida. Planned capacity is more than 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day, SUEZ said. (Nov 2)
Webmaster's Comments: Safely offshore, away from the public. More easily expandible. Fewer security concerns.
Cheniere Energy Partners will launch Thursday a non-binding open season to gauge shipper interest in the proposed Louisiana Natural Gas Header, the Houston-based limited partnership and parent of Sabine Pass LNG said Monday.
The project would link growing markets in the US Southeast with new incremental gas supply sourced from multiple liquefied natural gas terminals currently existing and being built in and around Louisiana, Cheniere said. (Nov 12)
Cheniere Energy Inc officials said the $1.5 billion project, one of four under construction within 120 miles (195 km) along the U.S. Gulf Coast, is within budget and on schedule to receive its first LNG in February in preparation for commercial operation in April.
The first phase of the facility will be able to receive, regasify and ship 2.6 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas. When the second phase is finished in 2009, the plant's sendout capacity will be 4.0 billion cubic feet a day, officials said. (Nov 2)
[C]ounty counsel Blair Henningsgaard, who is also an Astoria City Council member, was curious about [University of Arkansas chemical engineer and LNG vapr hazard expert Jerry Havens's] claim that current calculations for the LNG vapor cloud exclusion zone around the Bradwood Landing LNG facility were misapplied in violation of federal law.
Havens, who has studied LNG for more than three decades, said in the "feeding frenzy" to get approvals for LNG terminals, companies have incentives to "cut corners," and federal agencies may be under pressure to "grease the wheels."
He was in town Thursday to tell FERC staff that he believes the vapor cloud exclusion zone for the Bradwood Landing project has been miscalculated, and that if it were done correctly, the exclusion zone would likely be bigger.
By looking at the map, he said, it's clear to him that in the event of a tanker spill in the Columbia River shipping channel, "essentially this whole community is in harm's way." A large fire in the channel would "set the building we're in on fire," he said. [Red and bold emphasis added.] (Nov 9)
Webmaster's Comments: It's worth noting that the waterway in the article is over 3-1⁄2 miles across at the Astoria City Hall (Google Earth coordinates 46°11'18.01"N, 123°49'54.52"W) even so, Jerry Havens indicated that the City Hall would catch fire in the event of an LNG spill in the channel.
The waterway between Eastport, Maine and Deer Island, New Brunswick is just slightly over 1⁄2 mile across. The entire City of Eastport, with the exception of Shackford Head and uninhabited islands, would fall within the Federal Government-designated hazard zones ("Zones of Concern"). (See "Living in the Hazard Zones" for more about LNG hazard zones and the shipping lane in Passamaquoddy Bay.)
FERC, Havens said, uses two models, both authored by him, to set safety zones for vapor clouds at LNG terminals. In the event of a spill, he said, gas vapor must be projected to stay within the terminal's property, or the terminal cannot be approved. (Nov 10)
Webmaster's Comments: NorthernStar developers are calling Havens a "hired gun" and "professional opponent." Was he a "hired gun" and "professional proponent" when he was developing the LNG vapor hazard models for the US Government?
NorthernStar Natural Gas, the company developing the Clearwater Port LNG Deepwater Port offshore Southern California, will attempt to answer the more than 400 additional questions required by the U.S. Coast Guard on their deepwater port application. (Nov 9)
He told FERC project manager Paul Friedman, who convened the hearing, that the calculations needed to be redone. He also criticized the different LNG spill sizes used to calculate exclusion zones at proposed terminals across the country, saying the "lack of consistency ... could have the appearance of simply determining the size of the spill that the property line distance allows." (Nov 9)
Webmaster's Comments: The Oregonian editorial editor Reinhard, like some newspapers in Maine, has fallen for the LNG developer's bait. The "economic impact" of an LNG terminal, as presented by the developer, typically doesn't account for the comprehensive economic losses that would occur. In this instance, the editor has gleefully swallowed the entire hook, believing that tax incentives and infrastructure incentives things that this developer is rejecting are the area's only economic costs to such projects.
Reinhard is also mimmicking the industry "safety" hype, even though one of the world's premier LNG vapor hazard experts Jerry Havens, who developed the vapor hazard modeling used by FERC has warned FERC that the developer and FERC didn't calculate the exclusion zone distance properly, and that Astoria would be "toast" in the event of an LNG fire in the waterway.
Reinhard even uses Boston a city trying to get rid of the LNG traffic there as a safety example. Reinhard apparently doesn't know that just because an LNG facility already exists somewhere doesn't mean it is sited safely in today's geo-political climate. After all, the Boston terminal was built long before today's LNG industry siting standards were developed by SIGTTO and before 9/11. By today's LNG industry SIGTTO standards, the Everett, Massachusetts (Boston Harbor) terminal would never have been sited there.
The editor further panders to the industry in claiming that burning more natural gas will reduce pollution and greenhouse gasses. That would only be true if coal and oil-fired power plants were simply being replaced with natural gas; however, the net demand for fuel is increasing, including for new power plants. Rising demand for BTUs means greater hydrocarbon combustion a net increase in pollution and greenhouse gasses, unless there's a major effort to supply the demand with renewable and truly clean energy sources.
Griffith said he didn’t want to limit the decision to the U.S. Coast Guard because a local agency might have a better understanding of what would be needed in the event of an emergency. Rather than pay for the resources themselves, they should have a voice, he argued. (Nov 8)
Webmaster's Comments: It's unlikely that local Coos Bay responders would have any inkling of what would be needed to deal with an LNG disaster. Even the State of Maine Emergency Response Agency doesn't understand what's needed, as demonstrated by the recent state's Emergency Responders' Workshop in Calais. At that event, several responders threatened to walk out if appropriate information and process weren't forthcoming. On the second day of the workshop, after beginning like the previous day, the threat of walkout was repeated.
LNG emergencies are so different from other types of hazards that communities face that it requires specialized training to prepare for such incidents.
SACRAMENTO Just months after environmental concerns killed a proposal to locate a liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Malibu, a proposal for an even larger plant off Oxnard and one off the coast of Los Angeles are under review.
"There is a lot of misinformation out there about what this will or won't do," Borenstein said. "We really need to have a better understanding among policymakers of how energy markets work when we make decisions like this."This will neither ensure a natural gas supply nor will not doing it cause a natural gas shortage." (Nov 12)
A proposal for a liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Los Angeles International Airport has generated dozens of letters from residents, local leaders and government agencies as regulators begin an extensive environmental review.
In what may be a case of “corporate tit-for-tat,” the company asking to build one offshore liquefied natural gas terminal near Ventura has demanded that another, competing LNG terminal closer to the Malibu coast address a long list of environmental concernsconcerns originally proposed by the government for the first plant. (Nov 8)
In addition to Congresswoman Jane Harman, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and the environmental watchdog group Santa Monica Baykeeper, the City Council is now on record opposing Woodside Natural Gas’ OceanWay Secure Energy project, which would be located in federal waters, 27 miles offshore. (Nov 2)
“Today’s action narrows the scope of CEII to improve public access to all information at the Commission, while continuing to ensure that sensitive information critical to energy infrastructure security is protected.”
Specifically, the Commission is allowing landowners access to alignment sheets containing CEII for the limited portion of a project that would affect their land and the adjacent parcels on each side without going through the CEII process. In addition, the Commission is eliminating the non-internet public (NIP) category because much of the information currently designated as NIP is easily available on-line from other sources such as the U.S. Geological Survey or commercial mapping firms.
Webmaster's Comments: The new rule is 18 CFR Part 388.
Download 18 CFR Part 388 (PDF; 124 KB)
Breaking News from Nov 12
As a relatively new buyer in the world liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, the United States is like a fish out of water, with North American buyers and sellers doing business in an efficient domestic spot market while the rest of the world, with a utility mind-set, signs long-term, take-or-pay contracts (remember them?) for gas pegged to the price of crude oil. (Nov 12)
IEA [U.S. Energy Information Administration] noted that several LNG producers are experiencing difficulties maintaining full production levels while strong demand in other parts of the world has resulted in higher prices, which diverts cargoes away from the United States. (Nov 7)
LNG-linked pipelines do have some extra complications because of the potentially high variability of flows, but Yardley said that "the larger challenge over the last year or so has been gas quality," or trying to match customer specifications with the need of importers to have access to LNG from as wide a variety of sources as possible. (Nov 13)
[Representative Rick Boucher, chairman of a US House energy subcommittee,] refused to comment on rumors circulating Washington since Friday that two key provisions of the House bill -- renewable mandates for utilities and a $16 billion tax package that would roll back oil and natural gas tax incentives in favor of renewable incentives -- might be dropped from the final bill. [Red emphasis added.] (Nov 13)
8 November 2007
While New Brunswickers have howled over the tribe's involvement with bringing liquefied natural gas to the region, the casino proposition offers something the gas industry doesn't economic benefits in places like St. Stephen and St. Andrews. One of New Brunswick's most famous tourist towns, St. Andrews, offers quaint shops, fine dining, and top-rated golfing. It doesn't offer much in the way of nightlife. A casino can help fill a void and complement some of the area's natural attractions.
Webmaster's Comments: The Saint Croix Courier illustrates that it is the character of the project that deserves support or rejection not nationality, as some would have us believe.
The request to begin construction was denied because information relating to the environmental protection for area species was not addressed by Emera, said Carole Léger-Kubeczek, a communications officer with the National Energy Board.
The 145-kilometre, 76-centimetre-diameter pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Irving Oil-Repsol LNG terminal at Mispec Point to the U.S.-Canada border near St. Stephen, N.B., where it will connect with the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.
Along with Church's testimony, three letters of opposition were received in response to the bill. The letters, from local companies Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding and Fortier Boats Inc., along with the Shipbuilders Council of America, all stated that the designation would stunt the growth of business in the area and eventually cost the area revenue and jobs.
The environmental designation would also create further obstacles for Weaver's Cove Energy's plan to construct a liquefied natural gas terminal on the river. The designation would subject the river to oversight by the National Park Service, effectively ending efforts to complete the project because it would mean greater environmental regulation. (Oct 31)
Webmaster's Comments: The "wild and scenic" designation being sought is in addition to the US Coast Guard's decision that LNG transits to the FERC-permitted Weavers Cove LNG project would be unsafe.
If FERC is the federal "safety" authority for shoreside LNG terminal siting, then why doesn't FERC take the US Coast Guard's Waterway Suitability decision into account prior to making its permitting decision? The Coast Guard is a "Cooperating Agency" in FERC's permitting process. FERC's current procedure of making its permitting decision before the Coast Guard Captain of the Port issues his Letter of Recommendation abuses FERC's safety mission an abuse of FERC's responsibility to the public.
Why are Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Congressmen Tom Allen and Mike Michaud ignoring FERC accountability on this issue?
Why after 1-1⁄2 years (over 550 days) won't Snowe, Collins, Allen, and Michaud indicate their support of, or opposition to, the ill-conceived LNG proposals in Passamaquoddy Bay? Will they ever show leadership on this issue, instead of fence-sitting or will they continue to do what's "safe for their elected positions," instead of what's safe and responsible for Maine citizens?
[Note: We realize that Congressman Tom Allen doesn't currently represent this district of Maine, which may be his excuse for not responding to our questions; however, he is seeking to oust Senator Susan Collins of this district, and has been asking voters from this district for their opinions on issues and for their support. In other words, Tom Allen like Susan Collins doesn't want to answer our questions, but wants our support.]
[T]he notion of “U.S. gas market” is somewhat of an abstraction, since the market is really North American rather than national. The market ceased being national when U.S. gas production no longer sufficed to meet U.S. demand, and we relied on Canadian imports to make up the difference.
The United States has done a good job authorizing increased LNG import capacity. But increased import capacity does not mean increased imports. We are in competition with other importing regions of the world for LNG supplies. And we are not predestined to prevail in that competition.
To be clear, I do not think there is competition among the North American countries for LNG imports. I think it is more of a question of North America competing with Europe and the Asia-Pacific nations for imports. [Bold emphasis added.] (Nov 6)
4 November 2007
BOSTON - New England will need to add liquefied natural gas terminals or significantly expand its gas pipelines - and possibly do both - or the region will likely face natural gas shortages or major price hikes, a key federal official said Friday.
New England is vulnerable because of its location at the tail end of several natural gas pipelines, its dependence on natural gas for both electricity generation and heating, its limited gas storage space and lack of its own geological gas reserves, said Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Webmaster's Comments: Kelliher's remarks bring to mind his predecessor's recommendation that the entire US needed only about 7 new terminals of LNG supply. Three of those (Canaport and two offshore from Gloucester) will be supplying northern New England. Kelliher, a Presidential appointee, may simply be overreacting to the Coast Guard-defeated FERC permit for the terminal at Weavers Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts.
Webmaster's Comments: FERC claims to be a "safety" agency, and yet they place nearly 100,000 people at risk in the Fall River area, even in light of the Government Accountability Office report on LNG.
If what FERC's Mark Robinson says is true, they why would the US be shipping natural gas as LNG to Asia? (See also, "Company says Slope LNG could supply Asia," below)
Many gave up on waters around the giant structure of the Gas [LNG] Docks, once one of best chumming holes in the entire bay, until [the terminal] was rejuvenated and close-up fishing and boat traffic banned.
Webmaster's Comments: This is a real-world example of how an LNG terminal has negatively affected sport fishing.
Webmaster's Comments: This is an example of big business attempting to do what is best for them, but that isn't best for the US or an example of government being led by industry. If the US needs natural gas as badly as government and the natural gas industry claim, then why should US natural gas be sent to Asia?
Stopping the clock in what was to be an accelerated environmental review process for a proposed offshore liquefied natural gas terminal, the Coast Guard has asked the company behind the Clearwater Port plan to address more than 400 safety and environmental issues before restarting the review. (Nov 3)
In total, there are seven LNG regasification projects in Canada at various stages of development, including one in Nova Scotia, one in New Brunswick two in British Columbia, and three in Quebec. (Apr)
2 November 2007
Bugs ‘n bombs: While it shouldn't have taken 12 years after the Oklahoma City atrocity to regulate ammonium nitrate, a House bill to do just that comes “better late than never,” Newsday remarks. A proposed Bay State LNG terminal that has incited fears about explosive accidents or terror attacks was blocked last week by a Coast Guard safety ruling, The Boston Globe reports and see The Bangor Daily News on another LNG facility’s demise Down East. [Bold red emphasis added.] (Oct 29)
Asante also stated that Eaton Peabody's lawyers, Erik Stumpfel and Andrew Hamilton, "don't have the expertise we need," and both lawyers "are not land-use lawyers." Asante noted, "Erik Stumpfel is reluctant to represent us; he has stated that himself." (Oct 26)
Supporters of David Sullivan’s run for mayor are calling out his competition for what they are saying is misleading advertising released by Robert Correia regarding the efforts to stop a liquefied natural gas import terminal from locating in the city. (Nov 1)
Natural gas: Unload it offshore
The U.S. Coast Guard last week issued its final decision, awaited since May and widely hailed by officials in recent days, on a ruling against the Weaver's Cove/Hess plans to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) in giant tankers to Fall River, Mass., using Narragansett Bay.
Last Wednesday, the Coast Guard halted three years of conflict between Rhode Island legislators and a natural gas company that wanted to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on Rhode Island waterways. (Nov 1)
The Coast Guard has chimed in against a proposed liquefied-natural-gas terminal on the Fall River waterfront. We can only hope that its announcement is not based on the NIMBY political pressure on federal agencies that has slowed, for example, the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound. (Oct 31)
Webmaster's Comments: The editors of The Providence Journal clearly and remarkably haven't studied the transit route required for the Fall River Weavers Cove LNG proposal. They also can't be aware of the LNG industry's (SIGTTO) own standards warning against such long, difficult, inland waterways lined with dense populations. Otherwise, they'd never have made such a statement.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer yesterday appointed the chief Albany lobbyist for the cross-sound Broadwater [LNG] energy project as a senior adviser in his administration, raising the eyebrows of some Long Island opponents of the proposal.
DOHA, Oct 30 (Reuters) U.S. Occidental Petroleum has yet to finalise gas supply deals for a Texas liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and will not start construction without them, a senior company executive said on Tuesday. (Oct 30)
The company already has two LNG projects set to move forward. Sempra's Energia Costa Azul facility in Baja California, Mexico, is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2008 and is fully subscribed. Sempra's Cameron LNG facility, under construction in Hackberry, La., will open in late 2008. (Oct 30)
It's also important to note that BC Ferries itself is not responsible for coordinating the interaction between ferries and LNG carriers. All large vessel traffic in the Strait of Georgia, including that of BC Ferries, operates under the direction and coordination of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), operated jointly by the United States and Canadian Coast Guards.
Malaspina Communities for Public Power (MCPP) was founded in opposition to a proposal by WestPac LNG for a combined LNG import terminal and natural gas-fired power generation facility at Kiddie (Coho) Point on the north end of Texada. Close to 100 people attended a meeting on October 23, according to MCPP spokeswoman, Denise Reinhardt.
The group plans to work with Texada Action Now (TAN), and other local and provincial community and environmental organizations with concerns about the LNG plant, and broader energy policy issues, to develop a coordinated strategy.
Submitted Wednesday evening, the officer’s 20-page report advises the Coos County Board of Commissioners to approve a land use application filed by Jordan Cove Energy Project earlier this year. Hearings Officer Anne Corcoran Briggs said Jordan Cove satisfied all the requirements of the county’s zoning and land development ordinance. In her conclusion, she included several conditions, several of which underline the importance the state and federal government have in the review process.
The recommendation now will be taken up by the commissioners, who will deliberate on the matter at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Coos County Courthouse. Additional public comments will not be taken.
Comparing two proposed liquefied natural gas import terminals to blenders in the middle of the Columbia estuary, Columbia Riverkeeper Executive Director Brent Foster invited concerned residents to organize and fight the proposed compressed natural gas pipelines, which would end at liquefied gas terminals near Astoria.
The California Public Utilities Commission decided on Thursday to look into the issues surrounding liquefied natural gas purchase contracts. The commission will study not only the need for liquefied natural gas but also the rules that should govern contracts between utilities and companies that import the fuel.
Those rules are important, because the utilities may already have financial ties to the importers, raising the possibility that they might buy gas from those importers even if they could get a better price elsewhere. For example, Sempra Energy, which owns the San Diego Gas & Electric utility, is building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Baja Mexico.
U.S. Coast Guard Raises Hundreds of Safety and Environmental Issues that Must Be Addressed
A proposal for a liquefied natural gas terminal on a converted offshore oil rig off Ventura County has prompted nearly 400 questions from the U.S. Coast Guard, a “data gap” that could delay the project for months or years. (Nov 1)
In an effort to ensure adequate natural gas supplies for the California market, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced yesterday that it will institute a rulemaking proceeding to consider the implementation of an evaluation process for requests by California utilities to enter into long-term LNG supply contracts.
Facing bipartisan opposition on the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, congressional leaders have agreed to strip language from a bill that would have required the Department of Homeland Security to sign off on liquefied natural gas terminal projects.
LNG industry officials have argued that authorizing DHS to reject a gas import project would add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to the federal permitting process and that Congress, through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, intended for certificate authority to rest with FERC. (Nov 1)
Webmaster's Comments: So, the LNG industry and the House Energy and Commerce Committee…
Maine's US Representative Tom Allen is a member of that Committee; see Allen's website
…think it is better to have Presidential political appointees (FERC) rather than the nation's security experts decide whether or not there's a security risk to new LNG terminals.
Add this to the ever-growing list of reasons why the public doesn't trust the LNG permitting process or the politicians who enable that process.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Law of the Sea Treaty by a vote of 17-4. All the Democrats on the panel supported the treaty, while all of the "no" votes came from Republicans. Some Republicans say the measure, which would be enforced by the United Nations, would undermine US sovereignty.
The committee vote Wednesday is the first step in what is expected to be a contentious battle to formally ratify the treaty. In order to take effect, the measure must pass the full 100-member Senate with a two-thirds majority, or 67 votes. Republicans currently hold 49 seats in the Senate.
It was unclear Wednesday when--or even if--the Senate's Democratic leadership would bring the treaty to the chamber floor for a vote. Senate Republican leaders, led by Trent Lott of Mississippi, have threatened to filibuster the measure, saying it would undermine US sovereignty. [Red bold emphasis added.] (Oct 31)
Webmaster's Comments: Despite claims by Senator Olympia Snowe, the US Department of State, and the local LNG developers in Passamaquoddy Bay, the US currently has no rights under the UN Law of the Sea since the US is not currently a party to that treaty. However, even if the US Senate were to ratify the treaty, it doesn't create validity to the LNG vessel "innocent passage" argument related to LNG and Head Harbour Passage, since:
- US law requires that the Coast Guard determine the suitability of Head Harbour Passage and Passamaquoddy Bay for LNG transit, potentially prohibiting such passage; and,
- Canada has the same sovereign authority as does the US in determining the suitability of a Canadian waterway for LNG transit. Canada has already made its determination that the waterway is unsuitable, making the proposed LNG terminals unable to obtain the necessary LNG for their projects.
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