The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2008 Oct 28

LNG opponents lobby Maine environmental agency to dismiss Quoddy Bay LNG application


ST. ANDREWS — Save Passamaquoddy Bay, the three nation alliance opposed to any LNG development in the bay, have filed a request with Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) asking for an immediate affidavit from Quoddy Bay LNG addressing the question of whether their applications to the BEP should be dismissed.

Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dismissed Quoddy Bay from the federal permitting process, which means that if they plan to continue with their LNG project at Split Rock they will have to re-apply.

In their request, SPB notes that FERC has dismissed Quoddy Bay’s applications for authorization to construct and operate an LNG import facility with associated pipeline and facilities.

They also point out that FERC had already suspended its review of the company’s application in April, pending receipt of information requested last October needed for the preparation of FERC’s draft environmental impact statement, its engineering review, and details of possible project revisions.

SPB says FERC took this further step of dismissing the applications because of Quoddy Bay’s continued failure to provide them with this requisite information.

Since the company will have to file new applications to start the FERC process if it chooses to go forward with any project, SPB notes in their letter to Ernest Hilton, presiding officer of the BEP, “This dismissal is without prejudice to Quoddy Bay filing a new application in the future if Quoddy Bay is able to finalize its design and provide a complete application.”

SPB says FERC's dismissal of Quoddy Bay's applications raises several significant concerns including: the completeness of its applications pending before the BEP, title right or interest, its capacity to timely pursue the project, financial capacity, capacity to implement conditions that the board may set, and efficient use of scarce state resources.

The organization says that equally important is that a stay should not serve as an indefinite place holder as an indefinite stay would continue the pall cast over other forms of regional development, including investment in the tourism and fishing industries.

They say Passamaquoddy Bay and its communities are not static, but dynamic.

Further, LNG technology, needs, and impacts will invariably change over the next few years, say the group, and Quoddy Bay’s application will be stale, but in the meantime will also stagnate other potential development.

Quoddy Bay’s stated reason for its stay before the BEP, say SPB, was so that it may alter its design, change the project's environmental impact, and its negotiations with potential LNG suppliers.

Since Quoddy Bay president Don Smith has said they are not going to change the project when they reapply but they may have less air quality impact if they don’t have to build a power plant, SPB says that does change the application in Maine slightly. Even though this matter has been stayed, say SPB, the BEP ruling requires a showing of reasonable cause for a continuance.

“Based on these developments at FERC and Quoddy Bay's conflicting statements as to whether it is or is not altering its project design and application, we respectfully request that Quoddy Bay be required to immediately submit an affidavit detailing: (1) whether Quoddy Bay will seek dismissal of its Maine applications; (2) whether the project will or will not change, and if so, a summary of the magnitude of any changes; (3) Quoddy Bay's current financial, technical, and environmental ability to pursue the project application, including any outstanding necessary studies and mitigation; (4) whether all parties to the Pleasant Point lease are fully complying with it, including timely payment(s), diligent pursuit of all required permits, and whether Quoddy Bay's right under the lease to construct and operate its proposed LNG facility is contingent on (a) completion of an EIS by FERC (lead agency) and cooperating agencies and (b) FERC's issuance of a license for the operation of the Quoddy Bay LNG facility; and (5) Quoddy Bay's timeline and its ability to meet thetimeline.”

This information, say SPB, will inform the board and parties as to whether a continued stay is appropriate, or if Quoddy Bay's Maine applications should be dismissed.


© 2008 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB