May 28, 2018
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LNG in bay could be bad idea

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

ROBBINSTON, Maine — A New Brunswick provincial review of a draft environmental impact statement indicates that a liquefied natural gas terminal on the shore of Passamaquoddy Bay would have “significant impacts” on the province, according to a statement released by New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham.

The results of the interdepartmental review on the Downeast LNG proposal were sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington on Monday, the release indicated.

“This report indicates that our environment would be negatively affected, our tourism and environmental-based economy would suffer, and the safety and security of the region would be compromised by this proposal,” Graham wrote in the statement.

LNG tankers that would dock at the Downeast LNG terminal in the village of Mill Cove would have to navigate through Head Harbour Passage, which is considered Canadian waters, to gain entry to Passamaquoddy Bay. The statement indicates that New Brunswick obtained intervenor status in the FERC review in order to re-mind the agency that the Downeast LNG terminal would affect areas “outside the scope of its jurisdiction.”

Graham indicated in the statement that he plans to share results of the provincial report with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has said he opposes LNG tanker traffic through Head Harbour Passage.

“As premier of the province, I will continue to ensure that the interests and concerns of our residents and our environment are taken into account and strongly defended by all necessary and appropriate means as these projects move through all regulatory processes,” Graham wrote.

Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, said Tuesday evening that he was not surprised by Graham’s comments. He described the premier’s comments as “political posturing” prompted by the province’s interest in the success of the Canaport LNG terminal, which recently began operations in Saint John. Canaport LNG is a joint project between Irving Oil and Repsol YPF.

“I think the premier is focused on the interests of his own province and on their own project,” Girdis said.

Girdis said the Canadian federal government has its own study of the potential impacts of LNG tanker traffic in Passamaquoddy Bay. The Canadian federal study indicates that his firm’s project does not pose any significant impacts to New Brunswick, he said.

“I think Premier Shawn Graham is wrong,” Girdis said. “The impact’s associated with the Downeast LNG project will be minor.”

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