2007 Jun 22
by Marie Jones Holmes
The City of Eastport has formally announced its objections to the Quoddy Bay LNG project, in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 21, and has requested that FERC deny Quoddy Bay's pending application to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal adjacent to the city. The filing, called a protest, states that both the location and the unconventional design of the Quoddy Bay LNG project pose undue safety and security risks to the people of Eastport. The city's position also contends that Quoddy Bay's design does not meet the minimum regulatory requirements that are intended to protect those in close proximity to LNG facilities.
Eastport is connected to the mainland only by a causeway over which Route 190 runs. Quoddy Bay LNG proposes to place a pressurized, super-cooled pipeline filled with LNG underneath Route 190, the only road in or out of the city. In addition, Quoddy Bay LNG seeks to have up to two LNG tankers docked in Passamaquoddy Bay near Route 190 at any given time. The city's position contends that the proximity of these LNG facilities and vessels to Route 190 poses serious safety and security risks to those living and doing business in Eastport. In the event of an accident or terrorist attack, not only would people in Eastport be at risk for serious bodily injury or death, but Route 190 could be damaged or destroyed, thereby blocking the only evacuation route as well as emergency and first responder vehicle access into and out of the city.
Eastport City Councillor Brian Schuth said, "Although Eastport is not opposed to the development of LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay, it is simply not possible to ensure the safety of the people of Eastport when the only road to the city could be damaged or destroyed by an accidental or intentional incident. All of the emergency planning and risk management in the world cannot compensate for this overwhelming design flaw."
In addition to their safety concerns, the city is worried that Route 190 would be closed to all traffic as part of the required "exclusion zones" whenever an LNG tanker is offloading. Quoddy Bay LNG plans to bring in up to three LNG tankers per week with each being expected to take several hours or more to offload. The disruptions to daily life in Eastport from any closure of Route 190 would be severe. "The design of Quoddy Bay's project will likely require the frequent closure of State Highway 190, thereby preventing not only passenger and commercial traffic, but also emergency vehicle traffic over the causeway. This is an extreme burden that the people of Eastport cannot be expected to bear," says Kimberly Cook of Portland, a lawyer representing the City of Eastport.
The city has recently contacted the governor and the congressional delegation outlining the reasons for its opposition to the Quoddy Bay LNG project. City Council President Earl Small stated in a letter, "The City of Eastport recognizes that importing LNG helps to supply our country with a needed source of energy, and the City of Eastport does not categorically oppose the development of an LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay. However, unless clear and compelling assurances protecting the health, welfare and vitality of the community can be provided, the City of Eastport does strongly oppose the Quoddy Bay LNG project because the location and design of this project poses unacceptable risks for the people of Eastport."
Brian Smith, Quoddy Bay LNG project manager, responds, "We will certainly review the concerns that Eastport has and address them. We would be happy to sit down with Eastport officials and address any concerns or show them how they have been already addressed."
Linda Godfrey, coordinator of Save Passamaquoddy Bay, comments, "In reading the statement from Attorney Kimberly Cook, representing the City of Eastport, which includes statements directly from city council leaders, the assessments they have made about Quoddy Bay LNG's proposed project are accurate. Also, as a citizen of Eastport, the council has taken an appropriate position to ensure the safety of the people of Eastport. The council's direct approach to Governor Baldacci and our congressional delegation is a wise approach."
For more information, including a copy of the document filed with the FERC and/or associated graphics, please contact Kimberly Cook at 207-233-5785 or at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
© 2007 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.