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Alliance to Protect the Quoddy Region
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"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
                                           — US Senator Susan Collins, 2012 Jun 21



 

Latest News


2013 October 20

Passamaquoddy Bay

Godfrey honored for LNG fight — The Working Waterfront, The Island Institute, Rockland, ME

Natural Resoures Council of Maine gives Bob Godrey its People's Choice award

EASTPORT — Tenacity and dedication. Those were the qualities cited in recommending environmental activist and Eastport resident Bob Godfrey for recognition by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM).

Godfrey was given NRCM's People’s Choice Award in October for his work as researcher, news aggregator and webmaster for the Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3 Nation Alliance. The organization formed to protect the region from proposals to develop liquefied natural gas importation facilities.

Kathy Berry and Sarah Strickland of Robbinston nominated Godfrey.

"For ten years, Bob has showed tenacity and dedication to do thorough research and keep us informed," they wrote.

Webmaster's comment: The article contains a factual error. Downeast LNG has not received a FERC permit to import LNG.

New Brunswick

Canaport LNG faces charges for bird kill — CBC News

Environment Canada accuses company of violating laws that protect sensitive and threatened species

Canaport LNG faces three charges after an estimated 7,500 songbirds flew in to a gas flare at the Saint John plant last September, CBC News has learned.

The charges include two alleged violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and one from the Species at Risk Act. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $1,000,000 for an indictable offence.

The gas flare, which killed the birds, was shut down Sept. 30, 2013, after a $45-million upgrade at Canaport LNG.

According to Environment Canada, a first court appearance in this matter is set for Jan. 21. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Maine

Summit faces $150K fine for damaged sewer lines (Oct 15) — Mainebiz

The Bangor Daily News reported that sewer lines in Augusta, Gardiner, Yarmouth and Cumberland were damaged by Summit when it was installing natural gas pipeline using it trenchless, horizontal drilling technology. The damage was discovered between early August and late September by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The PUC said the most serious damage was done in Gardiner, where a plumber was trying to diagnose a home's sewer blockage and unknowingly chipped away some of an inactive natural gas pipeline with a mechanical snake.

"Had the gas main been active and there had been more aggressive attempts to clear the sewer lateral, the results may have been disastrous," the report said. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is proposed by Downeast LNG for sections of its pipeline. While HDD produces fewer environmental consequences, this article demonstrates how things could go horribly wrong.

New England

The ISO’s big mistake: Not counting renewable energy (Oct 15) — Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, MA

All the New England states have incentive programs of one type or another to encourage the growth of renewable energy. As a result there has been phenomenal growth of renewable energy in New England for several years. ISO has itself worked hard to forecast the anticipated growth of renewable DG over the next decade, and CLF has been an active member of ISO’s DG Forecast Working Group.

Nevertheless, when ISO calculated the ICR (amount of electricity capacity to buy) in the upcoming Forward Capacity Auction, ISO completely ignored its own forecast of how much renewable DG was getting built. As a direct result of this failure, NEPOOL voted overwhelmingly to reject ISO’s forecast.

Environmentalists promote renewable energy, in part, by citing the cost savings that can accrue from having renewables on the electricity grid. Everyone knows that renewable energy costs money, but there can also be cost savings to ratepayers from having renewable energy on the electricity grid. However, ratepayers reap those saving if – and only if! – ISO accounts for that renewable energy in calculating its ICR.

By not accounting for the renewable DG that is actually on the electricity grid, ISO is forcing ratepayers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for electricity that they don’t actually need.

…[I]t is only a matter of time until one or more NEPOOL participants brings a legal challenge before FERC of the ISO’s big mistake. The Federal Power Act – that governs the ISO, FERC, and all U.S. electricity markets – requires that all electricity rates be “just and reasonable.” Overcharging ratepayers by hundreds of millions of dollars by ignoring the benefits of renewable energy is not just and reasonable. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Northeast

Environmentalists seek to halt construction at Cove Point LNG export plant (Oct 16) — StateImpact Pennsylvania, PA

Environmental groups have filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to stop the current construction of Dominion’s liquefied natural gas export facility in Cove Point, MD. The groups also want FERC to reverse their recent decision approving the plant.

“In neglecting to prepare a thorough review of the environmental impacts of Dominion’s controversial project, FERC is prioritizing the desires of a powerful company over the health and safety of the people of Calvert County, Marylanders, and communities throughout the Marcellus shale region,” wrote [Earthjustice attorney Jocelyn D’Ambrosio] in a release.

D’Ambrosio says the group will file a challenge in federal court if their motions are denied.

Dominion began construction on the plant this week.

Ohio

70 years after the East Ohio Gas explosion when fire rained down and 130 died: Brent Larkin [Opinion] (Oct 17) — Cleveland.com, OH

The clocks inside St. Vitus School on Glass Avenue read 2:40 p.m. The deadliest explosion in Cleveland history, which eventually claimed 130 lives, had just rocked one of Cleveland’s oldest and proudest neighborhoods.

And that fireball, caused by the explosion of a gigantic East Ohio Gas. Co. tank less than three blocks to the north, was barreling south down East 61st Street, seemingly right for Willie Pevec’s seventh-grade classroom.

It was Oct. 20, 1944. For those who were there that day, what happened 70 years ago Monday might as well have happened yesterday.

The explosion was triggered by a leak in a tank containing 90 million cubic feet of liquid natural gas (a second tank blew 20 minutes later). The flames engulfed more than one square mile of the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

In all, the fire raced across 20 city blocks, inexplicably missing many homes and stores in its deadly path.

Webmaster's comment: The LNG storage tanks were made of, what became clear, insufficient quality.The metal cracked and the tanks failed. Tanks are now made of proper material. Additionally, there were no proper accommodations for containing released LNG. That is not the case, now. Even so, the tragic incident points out that black swan events happen. FERC and USDOT are setting up such a black swan potential in the use of vapor fences along the proposed Downeast LNG pier trestle, since an event on the trestle that would release LNG could also render the vapor fences ineffective — returning Downeast LNG terminal conditions to those in their first attempt at modeling an LNG release THAT FAILED USDOT EXCLUSION ZONE REGULATIONS.

Gulf of Mexico

Port Dolphin Energy requests additional time to construct onshore pipeline for deepwater port — LNG Law Blog

Port Dolphin Energy LLC (PDE) filed a request with FERC to extend to December 31, 2018 the deadline by which PDE must complete construction and place into service the onshore portion of a pipeline to interconnect with PDE’s proposed Deepwater Port (DWP) terminal offshore of Tampa, Fla. PDE states that although its DWP was initially planned to receive LNG imports, its project is still commercially viable and it is undertaking business arrangements for the DWP to receive U.S.-produced LNG for regasification and subsequent delivery into the Florida market.

Venture Global LNG granted export permission by DOE — LNG World News

Venture Global LNG has secured an approval from the U.S. DOE to export about 244 Bcf/year of LNG over a 25-year period to nations having an FTA with the United States.

The project will be located on an approximately 109-acre site at the entrance of the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. It is also located near various major interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines which would allow Venture Global customers to be sourced from multiple sources, according to the company.

British Columbia

Russian container ship towed away from Canadian coast (Oct 18) — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME

PRINCE RUPERT, British Columbia — A Canadian Coast Guard vessel continued to slowly tow a disabled Russian container ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel away from British Columbia’s pristine northern coast on Saturday. The move significantly lessened the threat of the ship running aground, hitting the rocks and causing a spill.

The Canadian Forces’ joint rescue coordination center said the Russian carrier Simushir lost power off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it made its way from Everett in Washington state to Russia.

The president of the Council of the Haida Nation had warned Friday that a storm coming into the area was expected to push the ship onto the rocky shore, but later President Pete Lantin said their worst fears have subsided.

The vessel is not a tanker but rather a container ship. In comparison, the tanker Exxon Valdez, spilled out 35,000 metric tons of oil.

The Haida Nation said it had set up an emergency command center in Old Massett, located on the northern tip of Haida Gwaii, in case the vessel runs aground. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This is not an oil tanker or LNG tanker, but presents an environmental hazard, nonetheless.

[Update] Russian Cargo Ship Adrift Again off Canada (Oct 18) — Maritime Executive

After being towed about 20 miles from shore, the Russian cargo ship foundering off British Columbia, Canada, was again set adrift over the weekend after tow lines parted, but latest reports say the vessel is under tow now and the heavy seas have subsided.

The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria, British Columbia, says the ocean-going tug Barbara Foss now has a secure line attached to the ship. The vessel's owners are having it towed to Prince Rupert.

The Simushir left the Port of Everett last Saturday with a cargo of mining equipment and is carrying around 400 tons of bunker and 50 tons of diesel. The cargo includes chemicals that could pose an environmental concern if a spill occurred.

According to marine casualty expert, Ken Potter, managing director of Veritas Marine, the ship’s position raises an interesting question about its voyage plan. “Such a route would not normally take it close to Haida Gwai where it was in danger of running aground. While there are few details available, I suspect that it ran into trouble further offshore and drifted while the crew attempted repairs. It is not uncommon for vessels to break down at sea, and I suspect, and I emphasize suspect, that they did not report their situation until they had actually drifted closer to land.

United States

U.S. oil exports would worsen global warming, government auditors say — InsideClimate News

Allowing United States oil producers to export crude would not only sway markets at home and abroad, it would also worsen global warming and present other environmental risks, the Government Accountability Office said in a new survey of experts.

The increased drilling, meanwhile, comes with its own greenhouse gas penalty, from the flaring of natural gas in the oilfields and other leakage of pollutants. And shunting domestically produced light oil off to refineries abroad discourages U.S. refineries from switching to refining cleaner, lighter homegrown crude, from importing Canadian tar sands and other dirtier foreign crude. That, again, worsens the carbon footprint of the U.S. refinery sector.

And the GAO did not discuss another implication of lifting the export ban. While different studies vary widely over how much extra oil would be produced—NERA says there would be an additional 3.3 million barrels a day for the next 20 years—there seems to be no question that production would go up, without any limit. So even if the United States made astonishing strides in cutting its consumption of petroleum, the oil industry could go on producing and exporting crude and refined oil to its heart's content. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

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