2007 January 26
by Edward French
The Province of New Brunswick is among numerous government entities, organizations, individuals and companies that have requested intervenor status for the Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG proposals with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Intervenors are formal parties in the case and have the right to appeal FERC's decisions to the commission or through a U.S. court of appeals.
Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, says the chance to be intervenors "is a good opportunity for people with concerns to express themselves. I don't look at it in a negative light. They can express their concerns and be part of the process. I look forward to addressing their concerns."
Brian Smith, project manager for Quoddy Bay LNG, says he is pleased that so many individuals, companies and organizations are requesting to be intervenors. He expects more may apply after the deadline and they can be allowed to be intervenors on a case-by-case basis.
Linda Godfrey of Save Passamaquoddy Bay U.S. says the group is "pleasantly surprised" at the number of groups and individuals that are filing for intervenor status. "We're pleased that people have positioned themselves to follow the process closely," she says, adding, "We're trusting that the process will be true and fair."
"The Passamaquoddy Bay is a very valuable and ecologically unique area for New Brunswick," Premier Shawn Graham said in a release. "As intervenors, we will ensure that the potential impacts of these projects on New Brunswick, be they environmental, economic or safety and security, are well understood and considered throughout the review process."
Girdis says he expected the province, other LNG projects and shippers to be intervenors to ensure they would be "represented at the table." His company knows that the governments of Canada and New Brunswick have concerns and want to ensure that FERC is aware of them. However, he notes that jurisdictional issues concerning Head Harbour Passage and Passamaquoddy Bay are matters for the U.S. State Department, not FERC.
A third party consultant is beginning to prepare a draft environmental impact statement for FERC, which Girdis understands may be completed by April or May. Although the consultant is hired by FERC and works under the agency's direction, it is paid by the developer. Girdis does not believe there is any conflict of interest for his company to be paying the consultant, noting, "We're not even allowed to communicate with them. We can't direct the consultant in anything."
Among those filing for intervenor status, as of January 23, for both the Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG projects are the following governments and government agencies: the Province of New Brunswick, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine State Planning Office, Maine Public Utilities Commission, City of Eastport, Eastport Port Authority and City of Calais. Groups include: Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada, Save Passamaquoddy Bay U.S., Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtahkomikumon, Sierra Club of Canada, Union of New Brunswick Indians, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Croix Estuary Project and Passamaquoddy Lobstermen Association. Companies that have filed include: Repsol Energy North America Corporation, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, Mill River Pipeline, Mobil Natural Gas, North East Energy Development Company, Weaver's Cove Energy, Downeast LNG and KeySpan Delivery Companies. Numerous individuals have also filed.
Others filing just for Quoddy Bay, so far, are: City of Methuen, Native American Holdings, Perry Improvement Association, Portland Natural Gas Transmission System and Downeast LNG. Only filing for Downeast LNG, so far, are: Passamaquoddy Tribe, Humane Society of U.S. Wildlife Land Trust, Quoddy Bay LNG and Bear Creek Investments.
Girdis understands that Bear Creek Investments has optioned land south of Downeast LNG's proposed site in Robbinston. He believes the company is associated with the earlier proposal by Quoddy Bay LNG to run a pipeline underwater from Pleasant Point to Robbinston. "We have no connection with them or Quoddy Bay," says Girdis. Brian Smith says Bear Creek is an affiliate of Quoddy Bay's parent company, Smith Cogeneration. Although Quoddy Bay had once proposed a pipeline to Robbinston, he says that is no longer being considered.
© 2007 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.