The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 February 13

LNG fears realized?

Let's hope that a recently skeptical editorial on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) issue is merely a misinterpretation on our part.

We surmised that perhaps the current Liberal provincial government's intervenor status in the U.S. as companies try to bring LNG terminals into Passamaquoddy Bay was an effort to look like they're acting in the best interests of New Brunswickers, while actually not doing very much to oppose it.

And current comments made by the Premier, as he met with his Maine counterpart, Governor John Baldacci, might hint that this is exactly the case; the stance might be softening to the point where the intervention is merely to minimize the impact any LNG terminals may have.

This is a far cry from the stance the party took while in opposition. The Premier has relatives on Grand Manan, which would be greatly affected by the LNG terminals. There are three of them going full-steam ahead, and the time to stop a snowball rolling downhill is when it's at the top, not when it's an avalanche.

There needs to be strong action, but, in the meantime, some strong words would be appreciated. Clearly,it's a federal issue, but the provincial government can add influence by making a strong statement. But it needs to be now.

The Minister of Fisheries, Rick Doucet, is a local MLA, and his riding, too, and the fisheries industry, will be affected if LNG tankers are coming in and out of Head Harbour Passage on a constant basis.

Local opponents can speak loudly, and protest all they want, but if they receive no help from government, they're shouting into the wind. Clearly, opponents on the Maine side of the border aren't going to be favourably received by their own governments, who are clamouring for solutions to the energy crisis. Their arguments are all very sound, all they require is Canadian inaction and the terminals are done deals.

It's important to engage our neighbours and have a friendly and cooperative relationship. There are more issues along the border than just LNG, but in this part of the world, LNG will deal a crippling blow, of that there can be little doubt. Getting along with neighbours is one thing, but occasionally, it's necessary to rock the boat a little, and take a stance where a stance is necessary. Otherwise, the province is seen as a pushover.

The time for clouded and mixed-message opposition to these LNG projects has to end now. And we'll be looking to Premier Graham to, if not defend us, at least say he's going to do all he and his government can to stop the tankers coming through.


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

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB