2010 March 26
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) voted unanimously on March 18 to assume jurisdiction over the four applications for state licenses from Calais LNG for a liquefied natural gas terminal south of Devil's Head in Calais. A total of 59 letters concerning the issue had been received by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with only four requesting that the board assume jurisdiction.
Supporters of the LNG project were requesting that the DEP retain jurisdiction, since they believed it would expedite evaluation of the applications. Opponents of the project favored the board taking jurisdiction, alleging that there is substantial public interest in the applications. The commissioner of the DEP has the authority to issue permits and licenses except those concerning significant applications, which are referred to the board for consideration and decision. The board is made up of 10 citizens who are appointed by the governor and represent the public.
The DEP had recommended that the board assume jurisdiction, stating that the proposed project is of substantial public interest and has the potential to affect a broad geographic area. DEP Commissioner David Littell had noted that the review by either the DEP or the board would take a similar amount of time and that either DEP or the board would hold a public hearing, depending on which had jurisdiction.
Following the March 18 meeting, the board issued a notice that it will hold a public hearing on the applications, and any individuals, government entities or organizations that would like to be intervenors to the proceedings must file a petition with the board by April 1. Intervenors are allowed to present detailed, technical information and expert witnesses regarding the proposed project and may cross-examine other witnesses. Members of the public who are not intervenors may still offer testimony at the hearing and submit written comments on the applications. A date has not yet been set for the public hearing.
© 2010 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.