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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 August 18

Nova Scotia

Bear Head LNG plant permit transferred (Aug 15) — CBC News

Mayflower LNG PTY Ltd. is taking over from Anadarko Global Holdings Company. The permit allowed the company to pour concrete for the storage tank foundations.

Mayflower is a subsidiary of Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., which announced last month that it was buying the Bear Head site for $11 million. That deal is expected to close by Aug. 31.

Maine

Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014: Indian claims act, immigration complexities, campaign money [Letters to the editor] (Aug 15) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

Penobscot Nation

The Aug. 6 BDN OpEd “Role reversal: How the Penobscot Nation is suing Maine – and has the upper hand” is reminiscent of the fear mongering that took place throughout the Indian land claims era (1970-1980) when the message was, “The Indians are going to steal your homes!”

The author, who happens to be the attorney representing the intervening towns and polluting industries in Penobscot Nation v. Mills, falls short in capturing the depth and complexity of this 194-year old history between the Penobscot Indians and the state government. Through the Maine Indian Land Claims, the tribes were seeking justice and restitution for territory that had been illegally taken from them as well as assurance that it would not happen again.

The “agreement” has been broken since 1980. Perhaps this is why the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act has been nicknamed the 1980 Attorney’s Employment Act. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: It is instructive to note that "the author" attorney mentioned in the above letter (Matthew Manahan of Pierce Atwood LLP) also represents Downeast LNG in claiming that the Passamaquoddy Tribe has no rights in the marine waterway; and thus, Downeast LNG will make no attempt to obtain a letter of agreement from the Passamaquoddy Tribe regarding use of the waterway — in spite of the US Coast Guard requirement to do so.

Downeast LNG is thumbing its nose specifically at the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the US Coast Guard, and at Environmental Justice in general.

LePage to Mass governor: Blocking regional natural gas expansion is ‘colossal mistake’ (Aug 15) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

[This article also appears under the New England heading, below.]

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage is pressuring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to show greater support for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in New England, a project which all the other New England governors have supported.

Webmaster's comment: Or, New England could invest in renewable energy. Switching from one hydrocarbon fuel to another is not a solution to pollution or to climate change.

New England

Problems with natural gas pipelines (Aug 13) — Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Boston, MA

Jumping from the frying pan and into the fire is not helpful when it comes to meeting our region’s energy needs. In transitioning away from coal and oil, jumping head first into decades-long commitments to natural gas is proving to be both expensive and dangerous. The exuberance for natural gas is showing some telling tarnish.

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently penned a strongly worded opinion piece in the Berkshire Eagle, opposing a new pipeline planned to run through Western Massachusetts. She concluded:

"Before we sink more money in gas infrastructure, we have an obligation wherever possible to focus our investments on the clean technologies of the future — not the dirty fuels of the past — and to minimize the environmental impact of all our energy infrastructure projects. We can do better — and we should."

Our region has been leading in showing the nation how we can rely on cleaner and lower cost energy solutions from energy efficiency and renewable power. Billion dollar investments in new natural gas pipelines tie us to yesterday’s technology and growing pollution. We can and must do better. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

LePage to Mass governor: Blocking regional natural gas expansion is ‘colossal mistake’ (Aug 15) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

[This article also appears under the Maine heading, above.]

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage is pressuring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to show greater support for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in New England, a project which all the other New England governors have supported.

Webmaster's comment: Or, New England could invest in renewable energy. Switching from one hydrocarbon fuel to another is not a solution to pollution or to climate change.

Northeast

Report faults EPA for failing to regulate fracking with diesel (Aug 13) — StateImpact Pennsylvania, NPR

A new report out today reveals natural gas drillers could be using diesel to frack wells without the mandated federal permits. Unlike other chemicals used in gas drilling, Congress requires extensive oversight if diesel is present.

The so-called Halliburton Loophole in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing from federal oversight. But diesel is an exception. That’s because it moves quickly through water, and even small amounts of the neurotoxins within the liquid fuel cause liver and kidney damage. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Gulf of Mexico

Moss Point public meeting set for tonight on proposed $8 billion Gulf LNG liquefaction project — GulfLive.com, MS

MOSS POINT, Mississippi -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is planning a public scoping meeting tonight for the proposed Gulf LNG Liquefaction Co. project in Pascagoula.

The meeting is being held to identify and address the environmental impacts that could result from the construction and operation of an $8 billion project to add on to the existing liquefied natural gas storage terminal in Pascagoula.

The company has already begun its FERC pre-filing review process, which is meant to address any major issues before the application is filed.

Sierra Club continues fight against LNG exports: Files protest against Golden Pass LNG Export Project (Aug 12) — LNG Law Blog

Sierra Club continued to its voice opposition to exports of LNG by filing a protest with FERC against the proposed Golden Pass LNG export terminal near Sabine Pass, Texas. As in several previous protests against LNG export terminal projects which FERC found unpersuasive, Sierra Club argued, among other things, that the project is contrary to the public interest due to (1) the project’s negative impacts on air and water pollution and endangered species, and (2) the increased shale gas production and increased domestic gas prices that would be induced by LNG exports. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

West Van to revisit LNG vote (Aug 13) — The Squamish Chief, Squamish, BC

West Vancouver council was overly eager and at least a little confused in unanimously calling for a ban on liquefied natural gas tankers July 21, according to Mayor Michael Smith.

“We ultimately didn’t follow due process,” Cameron said, discussing the charged atmosphere in chambers that evening.

Council is slated to revisit the issue Sept. 8 or 15, following a presentation from Woodfibre LNG – the company seeking to liquefy and export 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year by 2017.

Oregon

Veresen denies financial advisory company has stake in Jordan Cove — The World, Coos Bay, OR

COOS BAY — Veresen Inc., Jordan Cove's parent company, has been thrown into a legal scuffle with another company that says it has the right to a stake — up to 20 percent — in the liquefied natural gas export terminal.

EFG [Energy Fundamentals Group Inc.] says that in a June 27, 2005, letter agreement between itself and Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP (Veresen's predecessor), EFG was given the option to acquire up to 20 percent of Veresen's equity interest in the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal and its related assets.

DeFazio likely to get earful on LNG in Coos Bay (Aug 13) — The Oregonian, Portland, OR

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is slated to make a trip to Coos Bay Wednesday for his annual town hall meeting, where his website says he'll take questions on jobs and transportation legislation, the federal budget, Social Security, Medicare, port dredging and other issues.

But if a recent visit by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is any indication, DeFazio will want to prepare his talking points on liquefied natural gas, and the proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project.

Wyden told a skeptical crowd last month that the federal regulatory process for Jordan Cove was being done right, and that "I am going to insist that the community be given answers to all legitimate questions."

DeFazio has been less visible on the LNG issue of late, though he tried to pass legislation in 2012 that would have eliminated the use of eminent domain for gas export projects to condemn private land for their pipelines.

At the time, DeFazio questioned how it was in the public interest to export gas and drive up prices, and said no one could credibly make that argument. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: If FERC has handled the Jordan Cove LNG permitting as they have handled Downeast LNG, Wyden could not be more wrong. As the record clearly shows, FERC wants to permit every LNG project, regarless of merits and flaws.

United States

DOE releases addendum to environmental review documents for LNG exports — LNG Law Blog

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a final Addendum updating its May 2014 “Draft Addendum To Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports Of Natural Gas From The United States.” The Addendum provides additional information on the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling activities gas production and exploration activities. DOE states that the Addendum is not required by the National Environmental Policy Act, but was prepared “to be responsive to the public and provide the most current information available.” DOE further states that the Addendum is largely based on the report Environmental Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Production (May 29, 2014), prepared by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, a DOE Laboratory. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

U.S. Energy Dept finalizes overhaul of natural gas export reviews (Aug 14) — Reuters

Beginning Thursday [Aug 14], the department will only issue final rulings on whether exports are in the public interest after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or another authorized agency, has completed an environmental review of the project.

EPA hydraulic fracturing study may be prelude to new federal rules (Aug 13) — Oil & Gas Journal

Oil and gas operations have historically been regulated mainly at the state level, though the expansion of hydraulic fracturing activities has brought with it an expansion in the number and sources of regulations facing operators. At the federal level, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched investigations into fracing activities in Wyoming, Texas, and Pennsylvania and is in the process of a multi-year study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing operations on drinking water, which will presumably set the stage for a new federal law. Meanwhile, at the local level, municipalities around the country have adopted limits or outright bans on fracturing operations that conflict with state rules.

The EPA's authority is currently limited by the existence of several exemptions for fracturing operations under federal environmental laws. Perhaps most importantly, hydraulic fracturing is exempt from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), provided diesel fuel is not used as an additive in fracturing fluids. Operating within the parameters of that exemption, the EPA issued guidance in February 2014 to states for when diesel fuel is used, describing how the states should regulate the limited number of such wells. But this federal restraint may be coming to an end. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

The climate implications of U.S. liquefied natural gas, or LNG, exports (Aug 5) — Center for American Progress

Many aspects of an increased natural gas exports scenario would affect emissions. On the one hand, natural gas could partially displace the use of coal overseas in the generation of electricity. This would put downward pressure on emissions, as natural gas plants on average emit approximately 50 percent less carbon dioxide, or CO2, than coal plants.

On the other hand, methane, which is a potent, short-lived greenhouse gas with many times the warming potential of CO2, escapes into the atmosphere from leaks and intentional venting throughout the natural gas supply chain. Although cost-effective technologies exist that minimize the escape of methane, there is evidence that current levels of methane emissions can be high. Recent studies of air samples collected over natural gas production sites in the western United States reveal leakage rates of 4 percent at the Denver-Julesburg Basin and 6.2 percent to 11.7 percent at the Uinta Basin. [Colored & bold emphasis added.]

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