The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 Aug 14

LNG proposal a threat to quality of life,
retired teacher says


ST. ANDREWS — The proposals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay threaten the quality of life for people living in the area as well as their safety and freedom from fear, says retired teacher Audrey Cline.

Although she now makes her home in St. Andrews, she is one of the seventh generation of her family raised on Deer Island, and she outlined her concerns about the LNG proposals at a recent public hearing by the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection.

Cline said she is descended from a family of boat builders, weir fishermen and carrier captains — and her family is still in the fishery. She said she also spoke from the point of view of a 17-year veteran of adventure tourism packaging in Passamaquoddy Bay.

"I have knowledge of Head Harbour Passage, the Western Passage, and Quoddy Roads and Passamaquoddy Bay from studying the research of these waters and from travel on them in all kinds of vessels and weather."

The waters at the mouth of Passamaquoddy Bay and Head Harbour Passage are a sacred resource for the vast array of marine life that thrives there and for those who live in the area, said Cline.

"This is also a magical, enchanting place where the great tides, currents, rips, and the awesome power of the western hemisphere's greatest whirlpool in the narrow Western Passage between Deer Island and Eastport are all marvellous God-created wonders no Disney can replicate. The ever-changing weather conditions make it a world of great variety and beauty — even with the fog."

Other things besides the Passamaquoddy ecosystem's great variety of life make this place special, said Cline. The unique geological formations and variety among the islands of the West Isles archipelago, their flora and fauna, are all precious components, she said, which visitors from around the world come to explore because it is so unique and not heavily industrialized.

"We cherish the beauty of this world where the sea and shore meet at the edge of the bay, and the great variety of life the bay supports and is home to. We cherish the freedom we have to travel on the bay waters, for work, or pleasure, or to get from one side of the bay to the other, and to the islands," she said.

"And above all, we cherish the peace, the quiet, the safety, and freedom from fear that we have enjoyed here through our lifetime. All of the above have contributed to the wonderful quality of life enjoyed in Passamaquoddy."

"The LNG proposals for Passamaquoddy Bay constitute a threat to that quality of life, in particular our safety and freedom from fear, which are the right and privilege of every person living in the region," Cline said.

Three American developers are working to build LNG import and storage terminals on the Maine shore of the bay, across from communities such as Deer Island and St. Andrews. They argue their operations will be environmentally sound, safe and clean.

Opponents disagree.

"The proposals are simply wrong for this region; some would say immoral, even, "Cline said." They are a declaration of war on our way of life, and on us. Our federal government has spoken to this matter on several occasions." Cline questioned whether President Franklin D. Roosevelt could ever have imagined his beloved island of Campobello and all of Passamaquoddy Bay being under the threat of destruction, not from bombs but from his own countrymen.

People living in the Passamaquoddy Bay area always considered they were safe, she said, but now the rich and powerful propose to take away their safe home by bringing in "potential weapons of mass destruction" — LNG tankers. Ships, which are in essence, bombs as deadly as the nuclear ones, said Cline.

"LNG does not fit in this corner of God's creation, in Passamaquoddy, or on the heritage St. Croix River. It does not belong where it can create hazardous zones and injury and death to so much of Passamaquoddy, to Campobello, Deer Island, Eastport, St. Andrews, and all points in between.

"It is the abomination of desolation that creates division, distrust and hurt to an international community, to families, friends and neighbours who have lived in peace these past 400 years. It brings a mushroom cloud of fear to every child who picks up a newspaper or hears conversations among their elders.

"We say to those who would take away our safe home — why are you making every effort to keep LNG so far from your safe home? Why are you threatening the security, safety, and peace of the nation that is your greatest ally and friend? The United States has a long and well-developed industrial Eastern seaboard. Why try to destroy ours, our livelihoods, our peace and safety? Leave us in peace."

Cline said the LNG terminal proposals for Passamaquoddy Bay are a threat to the quality of life that is the right and privilege of every person living here.

"Supertankers would constitute a threat to the marine life here, in particular to the endangered right whale population that lives and feeds in these waters.

"The proposals are a threat to the freedom to travel to the well-documented fisheries and tourism based economy of the region, to the livelihood of the populace, to the nature and built history of this place."

Conditions in Head Harbour Passage have not improved since 1976 when the Canadian government opposed the passage of oil tankers through there to the proposed Pittston refinery, Cline said. And it's the same beautiful but extremely hazardous body of water it was then.

"It is time for our Canadian government to state unequivocally to the world the same message that it gave in 1976 — that Canadian waters are not open for the passage of oil tankers and other large vessels. Head Harbour Passage is most definitely on the Canadian side of the international border in Passamaquoddy Bay."


© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB