2009 Mar 13
ST. ANDREWS – Opponents of liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments in Passamaquoddy Bay are concerned that the impending closure of Domtar’s hardwood pulp mill in Baileyville may increase the push to get these projects under way in order to create much-needed employment.
The Quebec-based company announced last week that they would be closing the mill in Maine in May throwing over 300 people in Washington County out of work.
Currently there are three LNG projects proposed for the area from three proponents — Quoddy Bay LNG, Downeast LNG, and Calais LNG — and in his state of the state address this week, Governor John Baldacci said the proposed LNG terminals give economic hope to a region that needs new industry.
“LNG has an important role to play as Maine transitions from oil to renewables, and the proposed terminals in Washington County give economic hope to a region that needs new industry.”
The governor said all of these projects will create thousands of good paying, private sector jobs in Maine just when they are needed the most.
He also said it was critical that the Canadian government support Maine’s efforts to bring these new LNG terminals to Washington County.
“When it comes to energy, Maine and New Brunswick have a close and necessary relationship. We have to work together and that means making compromises for our better energy future on both sides of the border.”
Mayor John Craig, who is vehemently opposed to any LNG developments in Passamaquoddy Bay, said he understands that Washington County is hurting because of the impending loss of the jobs in Baileyville and will be looking for LNG to help them out.
“Times are tough everywhere but LNG does not bring a lot of jobs and the bottom line is it could hurt a lot more. There will be a lot of jobs in jeopardy if these LNG terminals are permitted. I understand their situation for sure. Jobs are important and I understand how they feel but it won’t change our position.”
Art MacKay, a professional biologist, writer and artist with over 40 years of experience in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine, said he has seen what is happening with Domtar occur with other companies over the years.
He said companies come into the region to use the local resources then eventually they leave and Domtar happens to be the latest, pushed by the present economic circumstances.
“I think this is an opportunity. We have the same resources that we survived with before. What has happened to the ingenuity to use these resources to support ourselves rather than give them to someone else?”
© 2009 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB