2007 February 27
by SHAWN GRAHAM, Premier of the Province of New Brunswick
I am dismayed by recent reports about the proposed sites of two [Liquefied] Natural Gas Terminals in the state of Maine. In particular, I am deeply disturbed by the lack of understanding expressed about this extremely sensitive issue in the media and in other quarters.
To begin, the decision to site the two U.S. LNG terminals in Maine is complex. There are a number of steps that must be taken and issues that must be addressed before a decision can be made. Certain issues and decisions are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Other reviews and decisions are through the U.S. Coast Guard proceedings. There are similar processes in Canada, for example, projects such as these come under the review of the National Energy Board.
Where vessel transit through Head Harbour Passage is concerned, this falls under the sole jurisdiction of the Canadian federal government. The Government of Canada has clearly and strongly stated it will not permit LNG tankers to pass through Head Harbour Passage.
I must emphatically state that the Government of New Brunswick fully supports our federal colleagues in this regard. New Brunswick has in fact for months urged the federal government to take such a strong position and we are extremely pleased it has done so.
In the case of the FERC process, the province has been granted intervener status.The significance of this status seems to have been lost on some. Fully participating in this process is, by far, the most appropriate action for the Province to take. There are two main reasons for this.
First, it offers the best forum in which the interests of the Province and in particular the interests of the citizens who depend on the Passamaquoddy Bay for their livelihoods and who cherish it as an unparalleled natural gem can be represented. We can ensure that our safety and security concerns, and the environmental and economic impacts of such terminals on Passamaquody Bay are taken into account and forcefully defended.
Second, in the event that FERC's decision is not in the best interest of New Brunswickers, we will have recourse through the courts. This recourse is only available to us if we participate in the FERC process as interveners.
It would be unwise to prejudge the results of the FERC process. We must participate in it diligently and we must allow it to unfold.
However, if the final result is in anyway contrary to the best interests of New Brunswickers, we will act swiftly and decisively.
© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB