The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2009 Jun 19

Canada firm in LNG opposition


ROBBINSTON, Me. – Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) was the lone voice to speak out against Downeast LNG’s plans at a public meeting here Tuesday night and pointed out that Canada has still not changed its position on allowing LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held the meeting at the Robbinston Grade School to accept comments on Downeast’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and over 100 people attended.

Carl Sapers, of St. Andrews, who spoke on behalf of SPB, said all those who spoke before him were in favour of the project because it will bring much-needed jobs to Washington County.

“There is no doubt people in Washington County want jobs. They have been promised the terminal will provide jobs and create an atmosphere in which the economy will prosper. We heard 25 people get up and say that,” he said in an interview.

Listening to those comments were representatives of FERC, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers. Sapers told them that the Canadian and New Brunswick governments have both made it clear that they are not going to allow LNG tankers into Head Harbour Passage.

“Both FERC and the Coast Guard have issued draft opinions in which they say you can go ahead with this project but you have to get cooperation from the Canadians.

“I said you cannot just say go ahead and do it if you get cooperation from the Canadians because you are not going to get cooperation with the Canadians,” Sapers said.

“We have been in constant touch with the provincial and federal governments and there is no changing their view that they won’t allow these vessels to go through Head Harbour Passage.”

Sapers said he he was told the LNG tankers will be accompanied by armed vessels.

Canada will prevail in this fight, he said, because the waters of Head Harbour Passage are internal Canadian waters. LNG proponents claim the right to innocent passage through the waters but Sapers said the armaments void any such claim.

“That is not innocent passage. Even if they got over that hurdle – and I don’t know how they will – then you have the EEZ principle”.

This, said Sapers, refers to the essential economic zone, which is what SPB says exists in Head Harbour Passage. Whether they are internal or external waters, he said, the adjacent nation may restrict travel.

“Apart from that, there is no way in which – short of a U.S. gun boat coming up – that Canada’s jurisdiction can be challenged because the U.S. is not a signatory to the UN Treaty (on the Law of the Sea that allows for innocent passage). They never voted to accept it.”

Sapers said he told FERC they had an obligation in their report to take into account Canada’s stance. He pointed out that, to their knowledge, there has been no other situation in which two nations have been involved when FERC have given a licence for an LNG terminal.

Downeast LNG is proposing to build an LNG import terminal at Mill Cove in Robbinston, which will consist of two storage tanks, a regasification plant, a pier to receive LNG carriers and a natural gas pipeline.


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

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB