The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2010 February 12

Canada restates opposition to LNG ships

by Edward French

The Government of Canada has reiterated its opposition to the passage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers through Head Harbour Passage to proposed terminals on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay. The latest statement is in response to the Calais LNG filing of an application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for an LNG terminal south of Devil's Head, Calais.

In a February 3 letter to the FERC Chairman John Wellinghoff, the Canadian ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, writes that Canada "remains opposed to the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage, which is located within Canadian internal waters. This area is widely recognized as a unique and highly productive marine ecosystem. Canada continues to have strong concerns about the navigational, environmental and public safety risks associated with transit through such a narrow passage."

He continues, "As was previously noted in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement issued by the FERC for Downeast LNG, the passage of LNG tankers in this region requires the collaboration of the Government of Canada. Given continuing Government of Canada opposition, you may therefore wish to advise project proponents that they should consider withdrawing their applications as those projects cannot go forward as envisioned."

The U.S. government maintains that vessels have a right of innocent passage through Head Harbour Passage, under the United Nations' Law of the Sea Treaty, and that the waters, while in Canada, are not internal Canadian waters. The U.S. Senate, though, has not yet ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty. Proponents of the LNG projects believe that if the U.S. government went to international court over the issue that Canada would lose the case.


© 2010 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.