The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2008 Apr 11

Calais LNG partners meet with city officials to discuss project

by Marie Jones Holmes

The Calais liquefied natural gas (LNG) project first announced at a Calais City Council meeting in August of 2005 is in the news again. The Calais City Council and the Calais Planning Board conducted a workshop on April 8 at the Washington County Community College and heard members of the group proposing the project discuss their plans. Calais Mayor Vinton Cassidy said, "This meeting is to see what they are going to do. Obviously, if this continues, down the road there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss this."

Rep. Ian Emery of Cutler, a founder of the proposed project, said he will not be seeking re-election to the legislature. "I will be working on this project. We are very excited about it." In describing the Calais LNG project, Emery said the project has brought together a diverse group of industry and regional experts with extensive expertise, knowledge and skills relating to the LNG industry.

Art Gelber, president of Gelber Corp. and a natural gas industry expert, is a partner with Emery. Gelber provided a PowerPoint presentation of the proposed project. "This is the best site I have seen on the East Coast. It is a gem," stated Gelber. He listed several reasons: no federally designated wetlands or known endangered species habitats on project site; limited commercial fishing and lobster operations in immediate proximity; and site topography limits visual impacts from Route 1.

The proposed LNG site is located on a 300-acre parcel on the U.S. side of the St. Croix River between Devil's Head and St. Croix Island. The largest portion of the parcel is the former Fenderson property. The Fenderson property is across the river from the Bayside port operation. Gelber says Calais LNG holding tanks would be on both sides of Route 1. The project would have 128 shoreline acres and 2,800 feet of waterfront.

The project would have two tanks to store LNG for peak usage. There is no dredging anticipated, and plans call for a 1,000- to 1,500-foot pier.

Gelber listed several advantages to the project, including less impact on the environment, as opposed to fossil fuels, and fewer impacts on climate, air quality and water quality. The project, which will be located seven miles from downtown Calais, would, according to Gelber, offer 250 construction jobs and 40 to 60 permanent operations and maintenance jobs.

Gelber also cited the proximity to Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. There is a possibility that Calais could be provided with natural gas if an energy company was interested in tapping into the line. He admitted this is often subject to the size of the population.

Goldman Sachs LLC would be the key investor in the project.

According to Gelber, project field studies are to begin this month. Other plans call for a Bureau of Environmental Protection hearing during the winter of 2009 and a draft Federal Energy Regulatory Commission environmental impact statement in 2009.


© 2008 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.