2007 April 27
by Edward French
Following a March 21 referendum vote at Pleasant Point and Indian Township, which approved selling a 308-acre parcel of land in Perry owned by the Passamaquoddy Tribe to Quoddy Bay LNG, the tribe and the company, which is proposing a liquefied natural gas terminal at Split Rock, signed a contract on April 19. Tribal members voted 257 to 126 to approve the sale for $1.56 million. The land, which is located west of Quoddy Bay LNG's proposed tank site in Perry, would be used to help support the construction and early operation of the proposed LNG facility.
The parcel of land will be sold to Quoddy Bay when the Quoddy Bay LNG project actually receives approval and construction of the facility is begun. The developer did agree to pay an upfront initial deposit to the tribe.
"A project of this size always requires a great deal of construction lay-down area, and this parcel of land provides us with additional land if we need it," said Quoddy Bay Project Manager Brian Smith in a prepared release. "More importantly, we will have more space and flexibility to ensure the minimal environmental impact on wetlands during construction."
Quoddy Bay LNG doesn't expect to locate any major equipment on the land, but Smith says it expects to formally notify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of any changes if they are incorporated into the project's design.
"The overwhelming support of the community resulted in the signing of this agreement," said Smith. "This is a win-win situation for the tribe because we may not even utilize the land, and even if we do there will be no long-term impact to it. No matter what, the tribe still gets the money from the purchase, but more importantly, we will sell it back to the tribe in the same or better condition for $1 when we remove the facility."
Although the land sale was approved by a 2-1 margin, opponents are still as determined to fight the Quoddy Bay LNG project for Split Rock. Vera Francis, coordinator for Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon or We Take Care of the Land, comments, "Relying on Indian Township and Pleasant Points recent special referendums as overwhelming support for LNG at Split Rock at whatever cost is a strange argument. It's like what some of the state officials initially believed about Washington County; little-to-none resistance justifies LNG siting anywhere along our coast. What is constant is that Split Rock is a cultural and ceremonial gathering ground, which makes it indeed relevant to 'the general background' of the land -- we are as much a part of the land as we are the 'heartland' waters that have sustained us. We've not forgotten this basic life principle."
Francis adds, "Nor should others forget that to this day there's been no vote concerning siting an LNG terminal at Split Rock." The August 2004 referendum at Pleasant Point, in which voters favored proceeding with the Quoddy Bay LNG proposal by a 3-2 margin, concerned the plan for Gleason Cove, not Split Rock.
© 2007 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.