"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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|2003 2004 ||
|Report: LNG plant would have 'limited adverse impact' (Apr 28)
Pressure builds for an LNG cartel (Apr 27)
BP officials move ahead with LNG plant plan in Logan (Apr 27)
|Correcting the Record
|Control water withdrawal in Maine [Op-ed column]
Mass. environment chief finds fault with LNG plan (Apr 19)
|Tribal group links fates of LNG, whales
Tribal Opponents of LNG File Suit Against Federal Government (Apr 18)
Lawsuit Filed Against Interior and BIA Regarding Quoddy Bay LNG Lease (Apr 18)
LNG, a planning grant, and a town quarrel
Possible $700M LNG plan includes jobs, tourism, noxious emissions
Federal regulators uphold approval of Fall River LNG project (Apr 17)
FERC Denies Request to Reopen Weaver's Cove Record
Firm to hold meetings on LNG [gas takeaway] pipeline plan
AES Announces $1 Billion Renewable Energy Investments
Coast Guard report: LNG could take a third of redfish before scientists see problem (Apr 17)
Offshore LNG blast could be enormous
|Close call sparks action to keep gas tankers safe
Coast Guard probing apparent near-collision in Boston Harbor
USCG to probe incident at wharf
Near collision in [sic] raises concern with lawmakers
Bill Sets $8.7B Spending for USCG (Apr 11)
|Ambassador joins LNG fracas
Taking sides in Passamaquoddy LNG dispute [Opinion]
Kerry and Kennedy halt move to tear down Fall River bridge (Apr 11)
Gallison anti-LNG bill gets nod in committee
Will Elba expansion affect other commercial shipping? (Apr 13)
Gas juggernaut advancing with little opposition [Opinion]
Report on U.S. Dependence on Foreign Natural Gas and "Problem with Gazprom"
|U.S. will be told to keep tankers out of Canadian waters: MP
LNG firm: Pipeline would skirt wildlife refuge (Apr 12)
High court mulls BDN case on access to tribal meetings
House committee approves bill to restrict LNG tankers
Menard, Correia win key roles on LNG board (Apr 12)
Court postpones LNG appeal
KeySpan appealing rejection of LNG proposal (Apr 12)
LNG proposal pursued despite community opposition
Task force is remnant of LNG bill
Pallone set to oppose artificial island off coast
Plans for gas tank facility prompt residents' concern
ConocoPhillips makes plans to meet vow of $100 million
Coast Guard to review LNG tankers (Apr 11)
Facts about offshore gas terminal (Apr 8)
Residents can have say on LNG line in SCV (Apr 12)
Energy companies sign gas-pipeline deal (Apr 12)
EPA Probes BP's Actions in Prudhoe Bay Oil Spill (Apr 10)
|Impact studies urged for LNG sites
CLF warns against ad hoc approach to LNG terminal siting in Northeast (Apr 10)
Seek fortune elsewhere [Letter to the editor] (Apr 10)
Land grab frustrates Red Head residents
Landowners fight LNG access road plans (Apr 10)
More than just pipe dreams
Johnson chides Senate on LNG action (Apr 10)
Legislation Aimed at WGL Storage Tank Proposal Dies in Committee
Southern LNG Seeks to Expand Elba Island Facility
Malibu News Flash: Malibu mayor will ask city to fight LNG plant (Apr 10)
|Report says new Regas plants will lower US gas prices 21% (Apr 7)
LNG pipeline officials allay most worries (Apr 7)
US Senate to debate bill to open eastern GOM to drilling: Frist (Apr 5)
|LNG meetings show issue divisive
FERC scoping sessions on Quoddy Bay LNG held in Pleasant Point and Perry
Locals split over Quoddy Bay LNG proposal
Canada labels LNG 'dangerous cargo'
Dominion Cove Point accuses Washington Gas of 'patent delay tactic'
Coast Guard Issues FEIS for Compass Port
(BW) Cheniere LNG marketing and Scottish Power's PPM Energy enter into 10-yr. gas purchase and sale agreement [Press Release]
Op-ed: Examine the need for LNG in California
|Hess LNG admits faults
Weaver's Cove offers smaller vessel plan for LNG shipments
FERC agrees to review revised plans for LNG port
Weaver's Cove Alleges Fall River Not Cooperating on ERP (Apr 5)
Lake Charles LNG plant to be upgraded (Apr 5)
Question may no longer be whether LNG, but when? [Opinion]
Is more natural gas needed? (2005 Mar 4)
Opponents of LNG terminal say they're gaining support
Bahamas Government Monitoring AES Lawsuit
Shortage of Trained Crew Poses Risks to LNG Industry (Apr 5)
|FERC to hear public comment on LNG plans
Calypso pipeline owners change course
Coast Guard, FBI Tension Threatens Sea-Based Response
Proposed Critical Infrastructure Bill May Prevent Foreign Investment in U.S. LNG Market
|Alaska, Canada gas pipelines could provide only short price break (Apr 3)
New LNG project under evaluation for Southern California coast
Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd. to Open Houston Office
Reaching the Peak (Mar 29)
|Local LNG different from U.S. projects: MP
N.B. minister in federal cabinet says Ottawa considers LNG dangerous cargo
Save the Bay decries LNG
FERC Approves Pre-Filing Process For Sparrows Point LNG Project
Cheniere offers Sabine Pass LNG capacity
BG all fired up as LNG profit doubles
|Canada to Ban LNG Ships in Nation's Waters, Canadian Press Says
Faulty LNG analysis [Letter to the editor]
N.B. minister in federal cabinet says Ottawa considers LNG dangerous cargo (Mar 31)
LNG debate heads to Annapolis
SPISD approves LNG agreement
Russia works for foothold on LNG market
29 April 2006
"Based on the extensive operational experience of LNG shipping, the structural design of an LNG vessel, and the operational controls imposed by the Coast Guard and the local pilots, the likelihood of a cargo containment failure and subsequent LNG spill ... is highly unlikely,'' the report said. [Bold red emphasis added.] (Apr 28)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Once again as with the Weaver's Cove (Fall River, MA) Environmental Impact Statement FERC is demonstrating negligence in ignoring SIGTTO LNG-industry best practices standards. To toss off as "unlikely" an LNG spill based on LNG history, Coast Guard controls, and local pilots' ability ignores critical terminal siting features, other port activity, world politics and decades' worth of wisdom that is laid out in SIGTTO standards.
The US Coast Guard is not informed of SIGTTO standards. The pilots are not informed of SIGTTO terminal siting and operation standards. And, FERC is intentionally not informing itself of SIGTTO standards. And yet, FERC continues to make LNG siting decisions in this information vaccuum.
DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN
The following recent events are telegraphing pending catastrophe:
- Within the last few days due to inappropriate LNG terminal siting had an LNG tanker been in port in Boston harbor at the time, there would have been a freighter collision with the LNG tanker. Had SIGTTO standards been followed, this LNG terminal would never have been permitted.
- In March due to inappropriate LNG terminal siting an offloading LNG tanker at the Elba Island, Georgia terminal broke away from its pier and LNG "hard arm" connection to the LNG pipeline due to wake from another vessel. The Coast Guard was reported to have stated that the terminal was sited there in order to prevent exactly what happened an LNG terminal siting error that SIGTTO standards prohibit.
HOLD FERC AND CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE
FERC has been ignoring SIGTTO standards and SIGTTO's offer of assistance for years.
What has Congress been doing about it? They've "enabled" FERC!
FERC rule makers and Commissioners and members of Congress who have been allowing this FERC travesty to continue must be held accountable when the eventual disaster that they are negligently preparing eventually strikes.
Do yourselves, your elected officials, and the United States a favor: Contact your Congressional team now, and insist that they sponsor legislation requiring FERC adherence to SIGTTO standards.
Oversupply is building in LNG, a market which is upsetting the old wisdom about gas being a local, disconnected market of rigid, long-term contracts between suppliers and consumers linked by pipelines.
It will be only natural if Gazprom seeks to agree with its rivals in North Africa and the Middle East to a set of commercial terms that facilitate the carving up of markets, ensuring everyone gets a share of the pie.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Gazprom is Russia's Gas monopoly that wants to own the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Maryland along with others in the U.S. The Maryland terminal is the one that Downeast LNG holds up as a model for their own proposed facility, even though the Cove Point facility is on 3,200 acres of land, while Downeast LNG's facility would be on only 80 acres.
As the article states, Russia is already a member of Gas Exporting Countries Forum an organization that could easily launch an OPEC-like cartel for LNG.
The pending Supreme Court case between New Jersey and Delaware, to decide whether BP may extend a loading dock from the proposed plant into Delaware's portion of the river, is expected to sit in the discovery phase until November, while both sides disclose evidence that they plan to present to the court. (Apr 27)
22 April 2006
An April 19 Coastal edition story, "LNG plan includes jobs, water emmissions," incorrectly quoted Brian Smith, project manager for Quoddy Bay LNG. In his presentation to the Sunrise County Economic Council, Smith made repeated references to "NOx" emissions, which were reported erroneously as "noxious" [e]missions. NOx, or nitrogen oxides, emissions are a byproduct of the company's proposed submerged combustion vaporization process.
[NOTE: The above was taken directly from the printed newspaper, since we were unable to find an online source for Bangor Daily News corrections to their news articles.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: With apologies to Shakespeare, "Noxious pollution by any other name is still noxious pollution." Please refer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's information about noxious NOx pollution with all of its related polluting effects.
Note that Quoddy Bay LLC's website environment page states that "LNG is non-polluting," but omits mentioning the severe and noxious pollution resulting from the regasification process, such as the prolific NOx emissions.
20 April 2006
If groundwater followed property boundaries, the current law might make sense. But, groundwater flows constantly within and across property boundaries; as such, it should be regulated like surface water.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Likewise, if Downeast LNG pumps MILLIONS of gallons of water to supply ballast water for each LNG vessel, what will that do to Robbinston's fresh water aquifer?
Downeast LNG's Rob Wyatt told the public at a presentation prior to the late 2005 Robbinston vote that the ballast water they'd supply to LNG ships would be fresh water, and that water would come as a biproduct of regasifying LNG. In other words, Downeast LNG wouldn't be taking the tens of thousands of gallons from any lake, stream, or well. If that's so then:
- Show us the plans for the huge water storage tanks that would be required to hold the water while waiting for an LNG ship.
- Where will the ballast water come from for the first LNG ship, since Downeast LNG won't yet have produced any ot that water?
- Provide an unimpeachable source demonstrating that regasifying LNG produces sufficient fresh water per shipload of LNG to provide adequate ballast.
- Why is Downeast LNG preparing to drill so many water wells on their Robbinston site (Robbinston residents have just been notified of the well drilling), and what will this do to the Robbinston aquifer?
While we're at it, in light of Brian Smith's voluntary admission that the Quoddy Bay LLC terminal would be a major source of noxious emissions, why would anyone think that Downeast LNG will be without those same noxious emissions?
19 April 2006
Four Passamaquoddy tribal members Tuesday filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior claiming it endangered multiple species of whales that travel Passamaquoddy Bay when it did not consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service before granting a lease agreement to the developer of a liquefied natural gas project.
The Passamaquoddies allege that by authorizing a so-called "ground release" for an LNG terminal on indian land, the federal agencies have ignored the threat LNG tankers pose for the endangered Right Whale. (Apr 18) [Link is to a page that links to the story. Search the page for "Tribal Opponents". Windows Media Player is required to listen to the sound file.]
The Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Clinic today issued a press release announcing that citizen group Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon (We Take Care of the Land) has sued the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in connection with the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG terminal. (Apr 18)
Guisinger again reminded Turner that the planning board had requested permission only to submit a grant application for funds. She suggested he had "neglected" his duties when he refused to sign the document.
As for water-quality issues involving the plant's "submerged combustion vaporization" process, Smith said Quoddy Bay would "try to bring it from a major source of noxious emissions to a minor source" of just 100 tons per year.
>>> SEE CORRECTION TO THIS STORY. <<<
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This, apparently, is the kind of smelly, unhealthy development from a developer with questionable history that the Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) thinks will be good for residents of Washington County.
Here's what shouldn't be news to the SCEC, Quoddy Bay LLC, and Downeast LNG: Because of the many obvious environmental, safety, navigation, and legal issues, other LNG projects elsewhere have beat the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG developers to the punch and were dead before they started. It is amusing, though, to hear Brian Smith's continuing absurd ideas and incredibly naive, self-defeating candor.
"We felt all along that FERC is a proponent of the project and we disagree with their decision," Lambert said. "We're not relying on FERC to be the ultimate challenge to this project. We still have a number of challenges." (Apr 17)
Through the creation of an alternative energy business group, the AES Corp. said it intends to expand its businesses in wind power generation, biomass and the development of LNG terminals. AES will invest approximately $1 billion over the next three years to expand the company's alternative energy business and offer new projects and technologies.
Among scientists, the most controversial aspect of the impact statement is the inability to accurately predict how populations of crabs, shrimp, fish and other marine life would respond to the loss of millions of eggs and young that would be destroyed as they're drawn into the plant's seawater intakes. (Apr 17)
A new study shows that a release of liquefied natural gas from one of four proposed terminals off the Southern California coast could spread a fireball over several miles, but pose no threat on land because the facility would be more than a dozen miles offshore.
A sudden release of up to 200,000 cubic meters of fuel from two of three tanks of liquefied natural gas at a terminal moored between Malibu and Port Hueneme would result in an airborne vapor eruption spanning up to 6.3 miles four times farther than originally thought, according to a revised draft environmental impact statement.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Once again, the importance of offshore LNG terminal siting is documented. The study also shows the misplaced trust in under-estimated thermal hazard zones proffered by the LNG industry and FERC.
15 April 2006
“There are no checks on these guys,” state Sen. Jarrett Barrios said of marine officials responsible for steering ships through the harbor. “A terrorist could be behind the wheel of a tug bringing in an LNG tanker.”
“The LNG manifolds were dead on from the bow of the ship,” said the photographer, Tim Bishop, who was working at a nearby fuel depot. “If an LNG ship [were] there, they would have hit it.” [Bold red emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This close call again demonstrates the importance of adhering to SIGTTO standards when siting LNG facilities something that the FERC continues to ignore, even though SIGTTO has offered FERC its assistance.
The US Federal Government, through the FERC, is negligently placing civilians and energy security in peril. When will Congress require the FERC to adhere to SIGTTO standards?
Rep. Michaud, Rep. Allen, Sen. Snowe, and Sen. Collins are you listening?
The ship, bound for the Boston Autoport in Charlestown, ''appears to have come within a few feet" of striking the pier, said Lieutenant Edward Munoz, senior investigator for the Coast Guard in Boston.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Pilots in Passamaquoddy Bay have publicly stated that they can safely navigate LNG vessels through the local passage. And yet, as reported in the 2006 March 31 Bangor Daily News, the local pilots haven't had LNG vessel training. That's a serious indication that there's something that the pilots may not know about handling an LNG carrier, especially in difficult waters and difficult weather.
Further, the 1973 December 19 Evening Times-Globe article, "N.B. Fishing, Tourism Threat Cited" reported that Portland harbor pilot Captain Amos Mills who stated that he was the only person in Maine licensed to pilot vessels into Eastport at that time said that Eastport (requiring transit through Head Harbour Passage) was the most difficult port between New Brunswick, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The proposed LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay require transiting beyond Eastport, encountering even more navigational challenges. The situation stands with:
- Very difficult navigational waters;
- Pilots without LNG vessel training, stating that they can safely "handle it";
- Apparent pilot error in Boston Harbor, which could have been disasterous had an LNG vessel been in port.
This hardly adds up to confidence-building or assurance of "safe, risk-free LNG carrier transit" through local waters, or "safe LNG terminal siting" in Passamaquoddy Bay. What it does add up to, though, is the need for FERC to adhere to SIGTTO* LNG-industry standards, and since there's no way to comply with SIGTTO standards in Passamaquoddy Bay to boot the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects out on their ears.
Since the FERC doesn't seem interested in adhering to SIGTTO safety standards, then our Congressional delegates Michaud, Allen, Snowe, and Collins need to take legislative action to see that FERC does heed those standards.
14 April 2006
The Honorable Michael Wilson sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this month expressing his government's concerns about plans to build LNG terminals on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay.
Canadians from Campobello Island, New Brunswick, to Ottawa including the country's Minister of Veteran Affairs Greg Thompson and the Premier of New Brunswick Bernard Lord have come out against the projects.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The only remaining question is, "How will the local developers try to save face when their investors tell them to pack up and go home?"
The Three Nation Alliance to Save Passamquoddy Bay is made up of several tribal members from Pleasant Point, as well as people from the nearby community of Eastport, the town of St. Andrew’s in New Brunswick and the St. Croix-Scoodic Passamaquoddy Band in the St. Andrew’s area.
The group is concerned about the large ships navigating safely through the many islands located in Passamaquoddy Bay. Its members don’t want to see an accident happen in the bay similar to the ferry sinking in British Columbia in March. They also want to preserve the bay’s natural beauty.
The Passamaquoddy Band of St. Croix-Scoodic shares the same concerns as the group in Eastport. Chief Hugh Akagi is already concerned about the overfishing and pollution coming down the bay. For Akagi, allowing another industry to move into the Passamaquoddy Bay will mean inviting more problems to an already stressed area.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This balanced piece was written by Maureen Googoo, the Mi’kmaq journalist based in Halifax who videorecorded the March Save Passamaquoddy Bay Rally in Eastport for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Canada.
Southern Liquefied Natural Gas wants to double the storage capacity of the Elba terminal, which could eventually double the number of LNG tankers that come into the facility. And that worries [S. "Laks" Lakshman, vice president of commercial operations for Colonial Marine Industries Inc.], whose company represents a number of commercial shipping lines.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Elba Island's LNG terminal had an "incident" this past March caused by inappropriate terminal siting a siting safety failure on FERC's part. Colonial Marine Industries has good cause for worry. That's a worried shipping company that deals regularly with the realities of an existing LNG terminal. Yet, Passamaquoddy Bay-area LNG developers want us to believe that their LNG carriers won't have a significant negative affect on local waterway users. Who do you believe?
[W]hat independent studies do exist from the federal Department of Energy and the state Energy Commission during the days before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stacked it with gas industry advocates indicate that natural gas use in California has been flat and even dropping slightly and that North American sources of gas in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Alberta probably could supply all this state would need for the foreseeable future. [Bold emphasis added.]
"For the time being, the U.S. government should make it a priority to support a tougher, smarter line by our European partners to counter Russia’s attempt to build a monopoly on gas supply and distribution," Schmitt said.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. Gazprom is the Russian natural gas monopoly. Gazprom doesn't yet have LNG liquifaction infrastructure, but they soon will have. They've expressed a desire to be a strong player in both upstream and downstream LNG facilities and markets, including a desire to own U.S. LNG import terminals. Gazprom has specifically expressed an interest in owning the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Maryland, the terminal that Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis thinks is the bee's knees.
13 April 2006
He said Harper agreed that huge tankers headed for three proposed new LNG terminals in Maine must be kept out of Passamaquoddy Bay, a picturesque body of water in southern New Brunswick that straddles the U.S. border. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Cary Weston said that information submitted last week by Roger Fleming of the Conservation Law Foundation of Brunswick to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was incorrect. Asked to identify the correct route, Weston, who was traveling, said he did not have that information at his fingertips.
"I am looking at the map that is contained in Volume 1 of their application that is on the FERC docket," Fleming said Tuesday afternoon. "And it has three alternative routes for the pipeline. Two of the three very clearly go right through the middle of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge." [Bold and red emphasis added.] (Apr 12)
In Great Northern Paper Inc. vs. the Penobscot Nation, the court ruled that when a tribe functions in a municipal capacity and acts or interacts with persons or entities other than its tribal membership, such as the state or federal government, the tribe may be engaged in matters that are not internal tribal matters and subject to the state's open meeting law.
"Federal law very clearly gives Rhode Island the right to say what we think isn't safe in our waters," he said. "It's not safe for LNG tankers filled with highly combustible gas to be in places where they could be exposed, whether by accident or malicious intention, to any kind of fire."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: If Rhode Island has the right to say what's safe in its own waters, then Canada certainly has that right.
A FERC spokesman said the FERC is holding the case for possible review, but has not decided if it will review the new data. The court has given the FERC until May 22 to report on the review status, with an additional 60 days, for final review before the FERC must submit to the court the application record.
An opposition meeting will be held Saturday, April 22, at 11 a.m. in the North Point Library, 1716 Merritt Blvd. Community members, community association presidents, marina owners and boating association members are among the concerned citizens who will meet to start compiling documentation for FERC that challenges AES's proposal.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: As we've seen from the Downeast LNG & Quoddy Bay LLC developers, they'll "weasel" their "studies" to provide glowing result in favor of an LNG import terminal. All studies should be able to withstand scrutiny, including our Whole Bay Study that's currently being done.
Faced with a federal law that gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction over LNG facility construction, Stone and 6th District delegates Joseph “Sonny” Minnick, John S. Arnick and Michael Weir Jr. amended their bills to restrict where dredging could be done off Sparrows Point.
Rather than pass the bills, the Senate Finance Committee chose to form a task force. It will include six local residents (three chosen by Stone, three by the House) and representatives from the departments of Natural Resources and the Environment and other state representatives.
Attempts by a New York City-based investment group to create an artificial island off Sea Bright's coastline for use as an industrial terminal [Safe Harbor Energy] could be thwarted by federal legislation proposed by an area lawmaker to prohibit such facilities in the ocean.
The legislation would outlaw installation of oil and gas facilities, such as the proposed 65-acre man-made island that Atlantic Sea Island Group wants to place about 19 miles off the Monmouth County coast, Pallone's release stated.
A proposal by New Jersey Natural Gas to renovate a building at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on Lakewood-Farmingdale Road raised issues of safety and security at the April 6 meeting of the Planning Board.
Hammer read through a list of concerns which included problems regarding storm water run-off, noise coming from the facility, what he called lax security at the facility and a charge of illegal hunting occurring on the property. [Bold and red emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: "Lax security" and "illegal hunting?" And yet, the FERC and the LNG industry keep telling the public because of government inspections and strict standards how secure and safe LNG facilities are!
ConocoPhillips will limit bidders to Alabama companies for any work that can be done here, Lawless said. The vendor fair is "meant to get a feel for what exists here in terms of labor force and skill set."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: ConocoPhillips will spend $100 million in Alabama only if it can find Alabama companies that can do the required sp required work. Otherwise, as with other LNG-facility construction projects because it's so specialized the workforce comes from outside the area or state.
ConocoPhillips and other applicants are proposing to employ seawater rather than other technologies in order to regasify the LNG at offshore ports, thus avoiding unnecessary greenhouse-gas air emissions and associated byproducts. We believe that this proven, reliable, low-emission technology is the best warming system for this important facility. (Apr 8)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: "Best" to ConocoPhillips also means "most profitable." That's a reason enough to be suspect of PR statements from LNG developers regarding their benevolence toward the environment.
Pacific Connector, which will be operated by Williams but owned equally by the three partners, is proposing a 223-mile pipeline that would connect a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, near Coos Bay, Ore., to the Williams Northwest Pipeline system in Oregon, and then tie in to PG&E's gas transmission system near the border of California and Oregon. (Apr 12)
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the EPA has launched a criminal investigation into BP's management of the pipeline corrosion blamed for the spill of an estimated 200,000 gallons of crude oil in the western part of the largest US oil field. (Apr 10)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is the second U.S. "incident" criminally implicating BP in the past 13 months. (See story on the Justice Department's investigation into the Texas City, TX, BP fatal oil refinery explosion.) And yet, FERC has publicly declared that it isn't concerned about BP or even anyone of global-genocidal proportions owning and/or operating LNG facilities! (BP is an owner in Dominion Cove Point, Maryland, the LNG terminal being eyed for ownership by Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, and that's held up as an example of perfection by Dean Girdis of Downeast LNG.)
11 April 2006
Fleming suggested there be a two-pronged approach to the FERC analysis: first, that an energy and gas supply and demand needs assessment be conducted. "This assessment should serve as a key determinant in decision-making and in explaining regional need to affected local communities," he said.
Second, he suggested a regional siting approach was needed to determine the specific sites for an LNG import facility "based upon rigorously developed criteria that address both public safety and environmental protection."
To date, all proposed LNG project sites in the region have been advanced on a community-by-community basis and are not based on a coherent strategy for evaluating the overall need for additional LNG import capacity in the region or on rigorously defined criteria for identifying the best potential terminal location, CLF Senior Attorney Roger Fleming said at a recent public meeting in Robbinston, Maine, convened by FERC. (Apr 10)
In the March 24 viewpoint by Quoddy LNG's lawyer Gordon Grimes titled "Treaty trumps LNG politics," he presents the company's arguments for why the Canadians mustn't block their project. He writes, "Before Canada can block LNG tankers it will have to overcome this presumptive right and demonstrate that LNG ships somehow present a risk to the 'peace, good order or security' of Canada."
Most people involved in issues related to LNG are familiar with the findings of the government-commissioned Sandia report titled, "Guidance on Risk Analysis and Safety Implications of a Large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Spill Over Water." Canada need not look any farther than that report and a chart of Passamaquoddy Bay to appreciate the risks this project poses to its citizens on Campobello and Deer Island. (Apr 10) [NOTE: The online page contains no link to take you directly to a particular letter. To find the letter using the above link, search the page for "Seek fortune elsewhere".]
But Debly argues that's twice the standard for this kind of secondary road. "They figure it's an appropriate buffer zone, but we have questions about the nearness to the house because it'll be behind the house on our property and beside the house on a neighbouring property." (Apr 10)
Keltic’s plan, which has been in the works for the past six years, involves bringing in liquefied natural gas by tanker to supply the petrochemical operation. The firm also plans to build a cogeneration power plant and a new access highway.
[Paul McEachern, head of the 500-member Offshore / Onshore Technology Association of Nova Scotia,] is optimistic both of the proposed Nova Scotia projects will proceed. That’s because Keltic has a supply of gas to fuel both the LNG regasification terminal and provide the feedstock to make plastics at its petrochemical plant, and Anadarko has received crucial environmental permits allowing a LNG terminal to be built on its 72-hectare site, he says.
"I am standing firm in my commitment to do everything possible to ensure that liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities are not placed in the county’s densely-populated neighborhoods or near critical transportation infrastructure," Johnson said in a statement. (Apr 10)
The Washington Post today reports that Maryland HB 927, the bill that potentially would have prohibited the construction of an LNG facility in densely populated areas of Prince George’s County, Md., died in the Finance Committee before the state's General Assembly adjourned for the season last night.
"We're always concerned about the public input on any kind of expansion on the waterways, whether it be a large-scale LNG facility or a small-scale marina," said Lt. Andy Meyers with the Coast Guard. "There's always going to be an opportunity for the public to comment."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Elba Island's LNG terminal just had an "incident" in March, where an offloading LNG tanker broke away from the pier and LNG pipeline connection, due to wake from another vessel in the channel. FERC stated that they had located the terminal there in order to prevent hazardous wake events from affecting offloading LNG tankers precautions that obviously were misplaced!
The Elba Island LNG terminal location violates LNG-industry best practices standards, as defined by the Society of Gas Terminal and Tanker Operators (SIGTTO), and should never have been built. To allow expansion at this same location, ignoring SIGTTO standards, is begging for LNG accidents.
In 2004, the general manager of SIGTTO offered any assistance that SIGTTO could provide to the FERC. It appears that, so far, the FERC is ignoring that offer. When is the FERC going to protect U.S. citizens, marine traffic, and U.S. energy security by adopting SIGTTO best practices standards? Hopefully, the FERC will come to its senses before there's a catastrophic LNG "incident" that results in loss of life.
Mayor Andy Stern said Wednesday he will ask the city council to help fund a Santa Barbara advocacy group that is hiring lawyers and technical experts to challenge "Cabrillo Port," the proposed 14-story-high set of LNG tanks, boilers and related facilities aboard a permanently-anchored ship off the coast of Malibu/Oxnard.
For its part, Billiton is spending $1.8 million lobbying in Sacramento, and another large amount campaigning in Southern California. The firm has sent e-mails to Ventura-area businesses, offering to pay for employee pizza parties where Billiton officials will campaign for the project.
The Malibu-Billiton fight is gearing up at the same time that a small Texas gas company announced it is looking at Santa Monica Bay and the San Pedro Channel as possible sites for what could be California's fifth LNG terminal. Tidelands Oil & Gas Corp. said it plans to meet with LNG opponents to design what its consultant said "would be the greenest, least objectionable plant possible." (Apr 10)
8 April 2006
In 2005, US imports of LNG totaled some 631 billion cubic feet (bcf). US LNG imports could total as much as 4,900 bcf by 2010 if the three terminals that are under construction and the nine that have been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are placed in service. Norman said that the net effect of the new regasification capacity would be a reduction in the price of gas by an estimated 21%. (Apr 7)
Once completed in November, the $40 million, 42-inch-thick pipe eventually will stretch 9.6 miles from the Freeport LNG terminal in Quintana to a pipeline nexus on Stratton Ridge Road. Portions of the route will be near some residential areas in Freeport and Surfside Beach, but with a minimum buffer zone of 75 feet, Henry said.
“You don’t forget something like that,” he said, adding he’s worked with liquid nitrogen and oxygen before. “I’ve been in cryogenics, anyway, and I know you have to be careful and bad things can happen.” [Bold emphasis added.] (Apr 7)
Debate on the legislation could force the Senate into a broader discussion about offshore drilling and federal royalty sharing, which Gulf Coast lawmakers are demanding to restore coasts they say have been eroded by energy production. (Apr 5)
7 April 2006
Opponent Vera Francis wondered why a translator had not been provided since, for many, Passamaquoddy was the tribe's first language. She said she wondered why the federal agency had not advertised the meeting in the reservation's newsletter or on its [local] access [cable] channel.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The answers to the above questions are all the same: because the FERC public process is "window dressing," intentionally designed to help LNG developers complete their projects, and to prevent the affected public from protecting their own interests.
"Without question, we believe LNG has wound up DownEast because the ability of communities between New York City and the Bay of Fundy to utilize a financial resource as a way to circumvent the FERC process. Because of this, we have serious concern about our ability to truly have expert testimony provided, challenged and sorted through. After all it's noted, that is why it has ultimately wound up here, at the path of least resistance," Finch said. [Bold red emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This Canadian Press story is the same story published on Mar 31, and included on this site on Apr 1.
Washington Gas Light Co. has asked FERC for additional time to respond to the commission's questions about leaks on its distribution system, which the gas utility contends are related to the quality of natural gas delivered into its distribution system from the Cove Point LNG import terminal in Maryland.
As mandated by the Deepwater Port Act, the FEIS confirms that "by June 11, 2006, the Governors of the adjacent coastal states of Alabama and Mississippi may approve, disapprove, or notify MARAD of inconsistencies with State programs relating to environmental protection, land and water use, and coastal zone management for which MARAD may condition the license to make consistent."
Upon completion of certain facilities, the agreement gives Cheniere LNG Marketing the ability to sell to PPM up to 600,000 MMBtus of natural gas per day at a Henry Hub related market index price, and calls for Cheniere to allocate to PPM a portion of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) that it procures under certain long-term LNG supply agreements.
6 April 2006
"We accept that the combination of these sets of conservative inputs, while demonstrating the maneuver is feasible, does not demonstrate it is repeatable on a safe and consistent basis," Shearer said.
Weaver's March 27 letter does not specify the exact dimensions of the smaller vessel in its newest proposal, but its language is directly aimed at defusing the Coast Guard's concerns about the maneuver between the bridges, which entails tugs having to stop a moving tanker after it clears the old bridge and then moving the vessel laterally before approaching the opening of the new bridge. [Bold emphasis added.]
The petitioners said Weaver Cove tried "to belittle" the significance of the new maneuvers that would be required, and they said the new maneuvers would "increase both security and navigational challenges."
In a March 30 letter from Weaver's Cove to Fall River's Mayor Edward Lambert, Weaver's Cove alleges that Fall River is refusing to participate in the emergency response planning (ERP) process mandated by FERC's recent approval of the Weaver's Cove LNG terminal. (Apr 5)
What independent studies [that] do exist indicate that natural-gas use in California has been flat and even dropping slightly and that North American sources of gas in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Alberta probably could supply all this state would need for the foreseeable future.
State officials chose to focus instead on one study funded by Sempra Energy, the San Diego-based firm that owns San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and the Southern California Gas Co. Not surprisingly, the Sempra-funded study concluded California will need LNG and Sempra will likely be the first to provide it. How reliable is Sempra's analysis? Some say it's good, others say no.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: A revealing perspective from a year ago.
Jacques Levasseur, president of APPEL (Association pour la protection de l'environnement de Lévis), a group opposed to the project, said he and other opponents have been requesting such a meeting for months. He said he hopes the assessment agency's recommendation will encourage the company to meet with them.
Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson told The Bahama Journal recently that, should the Christie Administration decide to "pursue" liquefied natural project (LNG), the government "very clearly" would not ignore the allegations against AES Corporation by the government of the Dominican Republic.
The suit alleges that between 2003 and 2004, AES Corporation illegally dumped thousands of tons of industrial waste, through its subsidiaries and Mr. Fina's companies, on beaches in the Dominican Republic.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Unlike the FERC whose representatives have stated that even Adolf Hitler could obtain an LNG permit successfully, if done to FERC specifications the Bahamas is concerned about the nefarious activities of LNG companies.
5 April 2006
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Will the "hurry-up, because the FERC only allows one year for this process, so we'll build a floating bridge" Brianized Smithification that was made to the Eastport's City Council be mentioned?
Brianize; Smithify (verb) To lie outrageously; to suggest an outrageously bad idea.
Instead of using a port on Grand Bahama Island, where a plant would pump the gas under the Gulf Stream to Fort Lauderdale, the Calypso owners now propose a ''deep water port'' 10 miles off Port Everglades, where ships would dock by buoys and pump the gas to Florida.
Disagreements over the roles the two agencies should take in responding to a maritime terrorism threat or attack come as intelligence analysts continue to believe that al-Qaida and other terror groups are likely to launch attacks on ports, warships, cruise ships or ferries, said Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.
In a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), the president of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America has expressed concern that H.R. 4881, a bill that would bar foreign ownership and control of "national defense critical infrastructure" in the United States, may preclude capital investment opportunities in natural gas pipelines and LNG terminals in North America.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: On the other hand, U.S. LNG facility owners and operators as admitted to be allowable by FERC officials at public meetings in the Quoddy area could be Osama bin-Laden and Charles Manson.
Perhaps Congressman Hastert should be working on improving FERC rules before criticizing H.R. 4481.
4 April 2006
[T]he effect of all that additional gas would probably mean just a temporary dip in consumer prices 25 to 50 cents US per thousand cubic feet and would last just six months to a year before prices level out, said Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Mike Menge. (Apr 3)
Esperanza Energy LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Texas-based Tidelands Oil & Gas Corp., announced April 4 that it is evaluating the potential for building an offshore LNG receiving terminal off the coast of Southern California. Although details of the size, site and cost of the project were not available, the company said it is looking at several sites up to 12 miles offshore from Long Beach, Calif.
Gazprom wants to integrate downstream in the value chain, from the production of natural gas, to liquefaction, transportation and regasification, Hattenberger said. Gazprom has also set a goal of achieving a 10% market share in the US by 2010.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: As indicated in this article, Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly, is pursuing owning LNG facilities in the U.S. They've previously included in their "wants" list, Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Maryland, the terminal that Dean Girdis of Downeast LNG wants to emulate.
If the the U.S. government is concerned about energy security, as it says it is, then it should keep LNG import facilities in friendly hands, instead of fostering FERC's official and irresponsible apathy regarding the character of LNG facility owners. FERC representatives, speaking in the Quoddy area, have publicly indicated that persons the likes of Idi Amin, Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler, and Osama bin-Laden could own U.S. LNG facilities, and that wouldn't affect FERC's decision-making regarding permitting their LNG projects!
Just as with the foreign-operated ports scandal that newscaster Lou Dobbs has been dogging lately, to allow LNG facilities to be controlled by powerful foreign monopolies some of whom may have political or idealogical axes to grind is a mighty wreckless way of maintaining U.S. energy security or security, in general.
BSRNews researches the energy industry, including pipelines, refineries, and alternative energy.
[The following link will take you to the Bandersnatch webpage. Search the page for the March 29, 2006 link to download their 4-page PDF document. Download free Adobe Reader software, if needed.]
The most salient point to take from the DOE report is that the longer we wait to wean our economy off oil [and gas], the more difficult it will be to mitigate the devastating economic effects of a seriously diminished supply of oil. Waiting for oil companies to make the needed investments won't prepare the country for the event, and waiting too long could wreck the global economy.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 did not articulate a policy at all, but rather passed out federal dollars to a wide variety of energy producers, including those making renewables. That's not a long-term recipe for success. A debate needs to begin now on how to address the problems peak oil will bring to the U.S. and to the rest of the world. Environmental protection will play a big role in that debate, with one side wanting to poke holes in every available acre of land, on- and offshore, and the other wanting no drilling at all. The U.S. can not rely on the private sector and the free market to solve these problems.
The debate must include more than oil company executives and specialists; they know a lot and their expertise needs to be included. But they are not disinterested parties; and besides, they haven't proved to be very original thinkers. [Bold emphasis added.]
3 April 2006
Saint John-area project doesn't pose same shipping risks as Passamaquoddy terminals: Thompson
While the Conservative government has made it clear to U.S. companies they will not be able to bring LNG tankers through Head Harbour, considered internal Canadian waters, Mr. Thompson said he's never said he favoured banning the transport of all liquefied natural gas through Canadian waterways. [Bold red emphasis added.]
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said Friday the federal Conservative government has made it clear to U.S. companies they will not be able to bring large LNG tankers through Canadian waters off the New Brunswick coast. [This is the same story that has been published previously elsewhere in the Canadian press.]
Fall River Mayor Edward M. Lambert Jr. talked to the dozens of people in attendance about the ongoing battle to keep Hess LNG from building an LNG import facility in Fall River, while former CIA Director R. James Woolsey spoke about winning the war on terror by reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Cheniere said its terminal and pipelines groups plan to spend about $3 billion over 5 years to bring online the Sabine Pass terminal and two other LNG receiving terminals and associated pipelines in Texas and Louisiana (OGJ, Apr. 3, 2006, p. 20).
In a first-quarter trading statement, exploration and production group BG said its profits will be higher than previously thought and that earnings from its LNG operations will be more than double the expected figure.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This story exemplifies the folly of the U.S. Energy Act of 2005, that provides at the expense of U.S. taxpayers unnecessary financial help for giant, powerful, and rich energy companies like BG.
1 April 2006
Canada plans to prohibit U.S. owners of liquefied natural-gas terminals in Maine from using waters off New Brunswick to bring large LNG tankers into their plants, Canadian Press reported, citing a member of the federal Cabinet.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: It's more clear now than ever that the proposed LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay will never be built. Even without Canada's objections, LNG industry analysts have indicated that the three local proposals aren't needed and don't have a chance. With the Canadian roadblock even in the unlikely event that the developers were to prevail in the Canadian and international courts these projects would be delayed by years, making their use obsolete.
The danger is that this faulty analysis will mislead people into acting against their own best interests. A more likely outcome for Perry would be a modest initial drop in property taxes followed by a sharp increase as the cost of accommodating the facility swells the town's operating budget to many times its current level. [NOTE: As is frequently the case with Bangor Daily News letters to the editor, the online page contains no link to take you directly to a particular letter, and the text contains inappropriate line endings and line spaces. To find the letter using the above link, search the page for "Faulty LNG analysis".]
"That is why (LNG terminals) have been turned down by just about every jurisdiction on the East Coast of the United States. All of those communities and states have said no simply because they view it as dangerous cargo."
Three busloads of angry Dundalk, Edgemere and Turner Station residents disembarked at the House of Delegates Office Building in Annapolis on March 22 to testify against the proposed liquid natural gas plant in Sparrows Point.
“If those ships come in,” Stone said before the House committee, “the company will need to dredge up to 4 million cubic yards of bottom and stir up everything that's down there. Then there's the question of where to put the dredging material.”
Through the agreement, Golden Pass LNG would pay full taxes to the school district. In years three through 10 however, the company would be valued at $30 million for purposes of maintenance and operation taxes and fully taxed for debt service. Golden Pass LNG also agreed to pay the school district $750,000 up front.
“The agreement provides a $60 million savings benefit to Exxon Mobil, it will benefit the students through revenue sharing and loss protection and taxpayers will get a reduction in the tax rate,” Kevin O'Hanlon, attorney for the district, said.
Russian gas monopolist, Gazprom, intends to join forces with key players on the market of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for operations in the North American LNG market and open an office in Houston, Texas, according to John Hattenberger, director for LNG at Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd, a subsidiary registered in Great Britain. He said the company is establishing partner relations with a number of major players in this field. Gazprom intends to participate in all stages of this work, he said.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom wants to own the Cove Point, Maryland, LNG terminal the terminal that Dean Girdis of Downeast LNG wants to emulate.
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