2007 Jul 6
By BARB RAYNER
ST. ANDREWS All of the downtown and a major portion of the residential area of the town as well as parts of Campobello and Deer Island would be in the thermal hazard zone areas of LNG ships travelling to the proposed terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay.
It has taken three months and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-nation alliance (SPB) have successfully obtained navigation charts of Passamaquoddy Bay showing the thermal hazard zones that would accompany LNG ships should any of the proposed terminals be permitted.
The documents had been submitted by Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG to the US Coast Guard (USCG) for Coast Guard use in determining the suitability of the waterway for LNG ship traffic.
SPB submitted a FOIA request to the Coast Guard for release of the documents Feb 7. Coast Guard lawyers finally approved release of the documents three months later. They were copied by SPB June 4, and made them available on their website.
The documents consist of nautical charts of the Passamaquoddy Bay area, with transparent color overlays depicting three "zones of concern" that equate to thermal hazard zones.
Thermal hazard zones are areas adjacent to LNG ships' routes in which people, property, and environment could be destroyed or damaged in the event of an LNG release from a ship. Hazards include fire, burns, explosion, cryogenic freezing, and asphyxiation.
Thermal hazard zone 1 extends to 500 meters (1,640 feet under a third of a mile) from the ship. Within that zone all within the water surrounding the transiting ship an LNG pool fire would essentially destroy everyone and everything.
LNG vessel crewmembers, crews of vessels attending to the ship's passage, and emergency response personnel who might be within the zone would be at risk of losing life.
Zone 2 is the area between 500 meters to 1,600 meters (virtually one mile) from the ship, and includes all of downtown Eastport, as well as large areas of residences, businesses, government agencies, and services. The zone would include at least some of those same assets at Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation, Campobello and Perry.
An LNG pool fire at the ship would likely result in second degree burns to unprotected skin within 30 seconds. Fire, cryogenic freezing, explosion, and asphyxiation are also hazards within that zone.
Zone 3 extends from 1,600 metersto 3,500 meters (2.17 miles) from the ship. In the event of a catastrophic LNG release, and if there were no initial ignition of the LNG vapors, vapors could drift within this zone, presenting burn, fire, explosion, and asphyxiation hazards.
The three zones encompass virtually all of Eastport; all of Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation; and large portions of Campobello, Deer Island, Perry, Robbinston, all of downtown and a major portion of the residential area of St. Andrews.
"It's essential that the public and local governments have this information available to them, since they're the ones the LNG developers are putting at risk," stated Robert Godfrey, webmaster for SPB.
The documents can be downloaded from [www.savepassamaquoddybay.org/documents.html#foia_uscg_zones].
© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB