2007 Mar 16
I am a resident of St. Andrews, N.B., and I would like to give my perspective regarding the proposed Downeast LNG terminal at Mill Cove in Robbinston, Maine by Dean Girdis and company. Aside from the fact that, to me, the transit through Head Harbour Passage by these monster tankers is a "showstopper," there are other local issues concerning St. Andrews that are significant "fatal flaws" in this project.
First of all, the boundary between Canada and the U.S. should have no bearing on decision making on this project. Ninety per cent of Passamaquoddy Bay is in Canada and St. Andrews is located closer to Mill Cove than most of Robbinston itself. In other words, we share this bay. This project would have more of a visual impact on St. Andrews than any other community in its path. I have researched how Mr. Girdis arrived at choosing Mill Cove and I would like to use his own words to show how much of a hypocrite he is in selecting this site. If one studies his website (www.downeastlng.com), this becomes very apparent. I quote from their website: "A candidate site might have been technically superior to all others, if the host and neighboring communities were overwhelmingly opposed to its development, then the site's overall ranking would be severely lowered." I ask Mr. Girdis: Where is St. Andrews in this decision?
Secondly, Mr. Girdis commissioned a Regional Site Selection Study when selecting Mill Cove. This study is also available on their website. On page 7, it states, "The project should not be located at or near areas of special interest." On page 15, I quote, "Certain well established areas of environmental uniqueness or character were simply eliminated from consideration. This was true for several coastal areas that, while not officially protected by governmental entities, were considered in the opinion of the RSS Study Team to be, in practice, 'untouchable' for industrial development purposes." Again, on page 15, "Downeast LNG believes that all designated special interest areas be avoided in the siting of this project." I ask, what is St. Andrews?
Perhaps Mr. Girdis doesn't know, but our blockhouse, built in 1812, is a designated National Historic Site. One of the treasures enjoyed by locals and tourists is to walk down the beach in front of the blockhouse at low tide. If this project is allowed to proceed, this terminal would be located within a mile of this beautiful walk and one would be literally looking up at a ship docked at this proposed terminal. Also, the Algonquin Golf Course is a jewel of Canada's east coast enjoyed by thousands of golfers each summer. Can you imagine if Mr. Girdis wanted to build this monstrosity next to the Pebble Beach Golf Links in beautiful Carmel Bay in California? I ask, how far would he get?
On this note, there have been many important decisions made on a golf course. Maybe the solution to all of this would be for Stephen Harper to invite George Bush to St. Andrews for a game of golf. On the 13th hole, they would only be a good drive and a 3 iron from Mill Cove and they could see for themselves what a terrible mistake it would be to allow this project to proceed. It would destroy this unique and pristine area forever.
There hasn't been a U.S. president in St. Andrews since the 1960s, when Lester Pearson hosted Lyndon Johnson, so now would be a good time. To round out the foursome, perhaps Governor Baldacci and Chairman Kelliher from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would be available.
Thirdly, on page 19 of the RSS Study, there is a table listing all of the sites that Mr. Girdis looked at prior to selecting Mill Cove. He gives significant weight to community assessment. He states that the position of adjacent communities is 'generally supportive.' Again, I ask, does he remember his reception at last year's meeting in St.Andrews?
In closing, I would encourage Mr. Girdis to listen to his wife. At the same meeting last year, he publicly stated he and his wife were at Mill Cove on a beautiful day the summer before. As his wife looked out on Mill Cove and our treasured bay, she said to him, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
Mr.Girdis, listen to your wife!
© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB