The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2009 Apr 7

Jobs key to Downeast LNG’s pitch

ROBBINSTON, ME. – Downeast LNG’s proposed liquefied natural gas project in Robbinston is continuing to move through the federal regulatory process and the company president says that given the current state of the economy, the jobs that will be created are more important than ever.

“Our project continues to move forward through the federal approval process,” said Dean Girdis, Downeast LNG founder and president, in a press release.

Canadians in communities like St. Andrews and as high up as the Prime Minister’s Office have spoken out against the proposal, saying Passamaquoddy Bay is not suitable for such industrial development.

“This is a long process, but we now have significant momentum behind us in terms of obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals,” Girdis said.

“Given the state of the economy, the Downeast LNG project is more important than ever because it will provide Maine with an important new source of natural gas and bring good paying, much needed jobs to Washington County.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced its schedule for issuing a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the company’s proposed LNG import terminal in Robbinston.

FERC, the lead federal agency in the approval process, said that according to its planned schedule, a notice of availability of the final EIS would be issued September 18 and the 90-day federal authorization decision deadline would be Dec. 17.

“Receiving the FERC scheduling order is another significant milestone for us,” Girdis said.

Girdis said that now that the scheduling order has been issued, he expects a draft EIS to be issued in the next month. The public will be invited to comment on the draft EIS and a public meeting on the report will be held in the local area.

In January the US Coast Guard issued a favourable Waterway Suitability Report (WSR) for the Downeast LNG project, which will be included in the draft EIS.

In a letter to FERC, the captain of the port for the US Coast Guard’s Sector Northern New England said that he had determined that the Passamaquoddy Bay waterway was suitable for the type and frequency of marine traffic associated with this proposed project provided that all of the recommended risk mitigation measures are fully implemented by the applicant.

Girdis said that the issuance of draft EIS will be an important step in the process because it will offer a review of how the federal government views the engineering, environmental and socio-economic details of the Downeast LNG project and will identify any issues that need to be addressed before final approval can be given.

Girdis said that he also was very pleased that Maine Governor John Baldacci expressed support for LNG terminals in Washington County in his recent State of the State address, in which the Governor said LNG had an important role to play as Maine transitions from oil to renewables, and the proposed terminals in Washington County gave economic hope to a region that needs new industry.

Downeast LNG is proposing to build an LNG import terminal at Mill Cove in Robbinston on an 80-acre site on Passamaquoddy Bay. The proposed facility will consist of two storage tanks, a re-gasification plant, and a pier to receive LNG carriers.

The project also includes a natural gas send-out pipeline that will connect the facility to the existing Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline that runs from Nova Scotia, Canada, through Maine to southern New England.

The terminal will have a storage capacity of 320,000 cubic meters, with an output capacity of 500 million standard cubic feet per day and peaking capacity of 625.

The Robbinston site was selected by Downeast LNG after evaluating more than 27 different sites in New England. In January of 2006, the people of Robbinston voted 227 to 83 in support of the project in a special town election and the company subsequently received approval of its land use permit applications from the Robbinston Planning Board.


© 2009 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB