The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2010 July 9

Two LNG plans proceed with state process

by Edward French

Two liquefied natural gas (LNG) proposals, in Calais and Robbinston, are moving forward now with the state permitting process.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) will hold a public hearing on July 19 through 23 on the applications by Calais LNG for a terminal in Red Beach and a pipeline in Calais, Baileyville, Baring and Princeton. The hearing will begin on Monday, July 19, at 8:30 a.m. at Calais High School and continue to Friday, July 23, as necessary, beginning at 8 a.m. each day. The entire hearing is open to the public. The daytime sessions will be devoted to receiving testimony from Calais LNG and the intervenors. There are also two groups that are participating as interested government agencies. The intervenors are: the City of Calais, the Conservation Law Foundation, Citizens for Clean and Secure Energy Inc., Industrial Energy Consumer Group, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Workers for a Healthier Environment Inc., Professional Mariners Group, Save Passamaquoddy Bay-U.S., and the Sierra Club. The two government agencies are the National Park Service and the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

In addition, the board will hold an evening session on Tuesday, July 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Calais High School to receive testimony from the public. A second evening session for testimony from the public will be held on Thursday, July 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Shead High School, Eastport.

The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony from the parties and the public on whether the proposed project meets the requirements of the Site Location of Development Act, the Natural Resources Protection Act, the Maine Improvement of Air Laws, the standards for Water Quality Certification and applicable regulations.

For further information or to arrange to view the Department of Environmental Protection's file at the DEP's offices in Bangor or Augusta, contact Becky Blais at (207) 446 2564.

Downeast LNG prepares to refile

While hearings are being held on the Calais LNG application, Downeast LNG is now preparing to refile for its state permits for its project site in Robbinston. Downeast LNG had previously filed for state permits in 2006 but then was allowed to withdraw its application in November 2007, after the Department of Interior had denied a proposed pipeline route through a portion of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. The BEP initially had voted to deny Downeast LNG's request to withdraw its application. However, in November two BEP members changed their votes, allowing the company to withdraw and refile the applications at a later date. Public hearings had already been held on the applications.

The state has not yet received the new applications, according to Robin Clukey, the Department of Environmental Protection project manager. Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, hopes that the applications will be filed within the next few weeks. In preparation for the refiling, Downeast LNG held a public informational meeting on July 1 at the Robbinston Grade School to inform the public about the project.

"We wanted to wait until the FERC process was near the end" before refiling, Girdis says. According to Girdis, Downeast LNG is waiting to hear the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's response to the company's plan for vapor safety modeling in case of an LNG spill. He says the U.S. Department of Transportation is using a new vapor model, as requested by the Fire Protection Research Institute. "FERC can't issue a final EIS [environmental impact statement] until they have this model aspect resolved." He hopes FERC will issue the final EIS sometime this summer.

Once Downeast LNG refiles its applications for state permits, Girdis expects the BEP again to assume jurisdiction over the proposal and again to hold public hearings on the plan.



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