"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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|2003 2004 ||
30 June 2006
The Canaport LNG import project in St. John, New Brunswick, is rapidly moving forward -- and on likely better economic terms than its competitors in Eastern Canada and the US Northeast, an official with managing partner Repsol YPF said in an interview.
Ribbeck touted what he said was Canaport LNG's cost advantage over possible competitors, which he attributed to it being able to lock in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract costs for the project last year. "Since that time, costs for these facilities have shut up significantly," he said. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 29)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is yet another demonstration of why Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC are simply ill-conceived, expensive pipe dreams.
- They can't compete economically, due to rapid cost increases;
- They don't have FERC permits;
- They don't have LNG supplies;
- They aren't under construction;
- They won't pass environmental regulations;
- They won't pass waterway suitability requirements;
- They won't pass submerged land lease requirements;
- They can't pass SIGTTO LNG-industry safe practices standards;
- They would damage the area's economy;
- They don't have sufficient Passamaquoddy Bay community support;
- Canada won't allow LNG ships to transit Head Harbour Passage;
- U.S. LNG imports are falling, and are lower than they were in 2004;
- They won't have any customers, because New England LNG infrastructure is 400% overbuilt; and
- Quoddy Bay LLC doesn't even have a valid lease for their receiving terminal location.
The venture was jolted back to life Friday by the announcement the Calgary-based energy giant and the Conservative government had agreed on the framework for a comprehensive industrial benefits and royalty agreement.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: More Canadian natural gas without needing to import LNG means even less reason for the already-doomed Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC projects.
While oil giant BP awaits the Supreme Court ruling to decide the fate of the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility here, more than 50 federal, state and local emergency officials toil over a plan to ensure the safe shipment of the liquid up the Delaware River. (Jun 29)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: BP has demonstrated its lack of respect for regulators and for safety of its facilities and personnel. They're being investigated for criminal negligence in the fatal Texas City, TX, refinery explosion, as well as for price manipulation of the natural gas market. Since FERC hasn't done it and since FERC, by their own admission, will let anybody (including BP, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Charles Manson, and Osama bin Laden) own and operate an LNG facility hopefully, the Supreme Court will boot this facility out of BP's reach.
Measures to be implemented under the plan also are claimed to be able to reduce smog forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 45 percent, and will also result in reductions of other harmful air emissions such as sulphur oxides (SOx). NOx is a precursor of smog and PM has been shown to lead to health problems. (Bold emphasis added.)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Quoddy Bay LLC's Brian Smith admitted to the Sunrise County Economic Council that the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG project would be a "major source of NOx emissions."
The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act, enacted on October 13, 2004, established the expedited federal review of a natural gas transportation project that would carry Alaska natural gas to the border of Alaska and Canada.
The [memorandum of understanding to expedite the permitting and construction process] was signed by the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Inspector for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (Jun 29)
29 June 2006
Descriptions of many of the documents submitted as part of the reports are listed in the electronic library of FERC's Web site, but not all are available for public viewing. Visitors to the Web site, www.ferc.gov, who try to open some of the documents online instead get a message informing them they do not have permission to view the requested file.
"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has created an LNG permitting process that favors and assists the developer, and discriminates against ordinary citizens," Linda Godfrey, coordinator for Save Passamaquoddy Bay, indicated Tuesday in a written statement. "All people in Passamaquoddy Bay should have a right to see all data."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Save Passamaquoddy Bay recognizes that some information related to specifics of LNG terminal design, such as the type of equipment, its placement within the site, and some information related to security, should be held confidential; however, here are some items contained in those reports that FERC is requiring it be kept from the public:
- The codes and standards under which the plant (and marine terminal, if applicable) will be designed;
- Special considerations or safety provisions that were applied to the design of plant components;
- The permits or approvals from local, state, Federal, or Native American groups or Indian agencies required prior to and during construction of the plant;
- The status of permits and approvals;
- Description of data records required for submission to such agencies;
- Transcripts of any public hearings by such agencies;
- Correspondence relating to the actions by all, or any, of those agencies regarding all required approvals;
- How the project will comply with 49 CFR part 193 and the National Fire Protection Association 59A LNG Standards;
- Vapor dispersion calculations from LNG spills over water.
As we've learned to expect from the mouths of the developers as once again issued from Brian Smith's mouth they'll say anything to make the public believe that they will, and should, receive approval from the public and permitting from FERC. The LNG and gas industry, itself, has been recently indicating that the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects are superfluous and won't fly.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is just a preview of the additional scrutiny and uncertainty that our lives would be under, if there really were a chance that the proposed LNG terminals could be sited in Passamaquoddy Bay.
The legislation attempts to kill the LNG plan by specifying a list of "state assets" that cannot at any time be within the Coast Guard's security zone around a tanker. The zone would stretch two miles ahead of a tanker, one mile behind and 1,000 yards on either side.
The bill prohibits the following from being in the zone: people, piers, wharves or docks, waterfront facilities, flammable materials, hunting grounds or areas from which an incendiary device could be launched, and places where welding or torch cutting is being done.
Tankers would be unable to comply because at points along their route north through Narragansett and Mount Hope bays they would pass within several hundred of feet of densely populated coastal areas in Rhode Island. Gallison referred to specific points in Portsmouth and where Roger Williams University is located in Bristol as being within the zone.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: FERC, on the other hand, isn't concerned at all if people are in the "security zone" around the tanker, unless those people are in boats or have weapons. It is evident that FERC is concerned about the safety to the LNG vessel, not the safety of citizens who may be endangered by it.
Detailed allegations by federal investigators that BP traders illegally manipulated propane prices in 2004 could hurt the oil and gas industry's image at a time when consumers and Congress are upset about soaring energy costs and record profits.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that BP traders with the consent of senior management "purchased enormous quantities of propane to establish a dominant" position in the market and then withheld fuel in order to drive prices higher.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: BP is the corporation lacking an adequate safety culture, and is under criminal investigation for intentional safety violations that resulted in a multiple-death and injury explosion at their Texas City, TX, oil refinery, but that like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Charles Manson, or Osama bin Laden FERC thinks is a "Jim Dandy" company to operate an LNG facility at Crown Landing. They're also partners in the Cove Point, Maryland, LNG terminal that is so loved by Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis. FERC, by its own admission to the public, doesn't care what kind of criminal or sociopath operates LNG facilities, so long as it can continue to convince Congress that FERC is only thinking about the public's best interests.
28 June 2006
She told the selectmen that she had submitted a letter to the MMA [Maine Municipal Association] asking a question, but [MMA] had refused to answer it. "They told that me since I am a minority on the board that they will not answer any questions for me. That I have to have approval from a majority of the board," she said.
Quoddy Bay sent a check for $10,000 and Turner directed the treasurer to deposit it in the town's account. "Mr. Turner readily accepts that the town of Perry can neither accept nor spend the $10,000 without the express approval of town voters," Guisinger wrote.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Maine Municipal Association an organization with no legal authority has taken an outrageous position: that they have the right to know the vote on every topic by every town, and exactly where every town official stands on every topic, before they'll provide any town official with any advice on those topics!
Here's what the Maine Municipal Association says about itself:
"The Maine Municipal Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a voluntary membership of all but one of the State's 493 cities, towns, plantations and organized townships."
The MMA Bylaws, Article I, Section 2, state:
This Association shall be an organization dedicated to the purposes of: ...(b) providing technical assistance and information analysis to aid municipal officials in decision making (c) contributing to the understanding of municipal issues through information exchange on developments and problems of municipal government (d) improving the education and training of appointed and elected municipal officials ....
Nowhere do the Bylaws state that the municipal official making the request must be in the majority opinion on any issue. And, if the town's Clerk were to ask a question, MMA would provide an answer creating a very sticky legal position for the MMA.
We now know, however, that membership fees aren't the complete requirement for assistance from the Maine Municipal Association they now require that the town official making the request must also have a majority-partisanship standing, even if the majority is wrong!
Maine's Bureau of Taxation may have an interest in reconsidering the MMA's non-profit status, and municipal governments may want to reconsider their memberships in that organization!
"I had a question about whether accepting and cashing the check from Quoddy Bay LNG was in fact, accepting it. They [Maine Municipal Association] told me that since I am in the minority on the board that they will not answer any questions from me. They have to have an approval from the majority of the board, and what I'm asking is if either one of you would sign this letter [to the MMA]," she explained.
The abundance of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification projects is not limited to the Gulf Coast. The northeastern Atlantic Coast has its share of proposed terminals as well. However, given rising construction costs and difficulty in securing LNG supply commitments, their futures are far from certain.
Perhaps a greater threat to LNG project developers in the Northeast is the question of whose project is really needed. By Ribbeck's math, supplies entering the New England-New York-Atlantic Canada market from the U.S. Gulf Coast amount to about 4.5 Bcf/d. Existing and proposed LNG terminals add to that about 10 Bcf/d, and on top of that add another 7.8 Bcf/d from terminals that have only been announced. That makes for 22.3 Bcf/d of supply for a regional market that consumes about 5 Bcf/d on an average annual basis and is expected to grow to only about 5.75 Bcf/d by 2015, Ribbeck said. (Mar 10)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The LNG industry is indicating that their New England capacity is being overbuilt by over 400%. Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LLC, Calais LNG, and Tidewalker Associates are all [WITHDRAWN BY APPLICANT] the same dead horse. They haven't got permits, they don't have LNG supply, and they aren't under construction. Even in the impossible event that one of their projects got built, they wouldn't have any LNG supply or customers. It's another case of wrong idea, wrong place, and wrong time.
EnCana, the largest North American gas producer, put Deep Panuke on hold in early 2003, saying it needed time to improve the fundamental economics of the Atlantic coast offshore project, which had then been expected to cost C$1.1 billion (US$980 million) to develop.
While the energy industry considers imported LNG as simply another form of exploitable hydrocarbon, critics point to several fundamental problems, including safety, long-term availability, and potentially broad environmental consequences.
"Texas leads the nation in potential solutions to global warming," he said, "and these expensive and highly dangerous LNG projects take us down the wrong track. Instead of further increasing our dependence on energy from the Middle East, we need to develop the wind and solar resources we have right here in Texas." (2004 Dec 31)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Not a lot has changed since the end of 2004, except for the recent energy industry's realization that LNG facilities are overbuilt including 400% LNG overcapacity for New England. The Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects are superfluous.
Firm sets solar power production record UPI, Washington Times, Washington, DC
Russia's G-8 partners have expressed concern about the state's growing role - especially the Kremlin's influence in the volatile energy market, where many European countries fear they could become hostage to a Russian monopoly.
"Gazprom is one of the most inefficient companies in the country, because it survives due to two things: tax subsidies and continual borrowing," said Georgy Satarov, a former aide to Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin and head of the Indem think tank.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Gazprom has indicated that it wants to own U.S. LNG facilities, including Dominion Cove, the Maryland terminal darling of Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis.
Gazprom's designs on U.S. LNG infrastructure, Russian politics, and Gazprom incompetency along with FERC pushing for increased dependence on LNG can only spell disaster for U.S. energy security.
26 June 2006
The Trescott engineer who has gained the attention of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with his proposal to build both a tidal power dam and a liquefied natural gas facility on U.S. Navy property in Cutler now has a third energy project to offer.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Bad ideas keep crawling out of the woodwork. Laberge's Half Moon Cove dam project failed in the 1970s. In the last 30 years technology has improved, and Laberge's outdated concept for a tidal dam has been surpassed. Laberge and Smith's idea for a dam to serve as a "bridge" exit route from Eastport to the mainland in case of an LNG emergency is unacceptable.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted approval to Tidewalker Associates to conduct a feasibility study for a combined tidal power plant and LNG terminal at the U.S. Navy antenna station in Cutler. Normand Laberge, a professional engineer from Trescott who is a Tidewalker principal, says he received a letter last week from the agency that gives him three years to provide the economic, engineering and environmental data that would entitle Tidewalker's application to further consideration for licensing by FERC.
Laberge says he is already working on a new application to the regulatory agency for a similar tidal power project, without the LNG component, in a different site, this one at Half Moon Cove in Cobscook Bay near Quoddy Village. He says the new application will be ready to submit to FERC "by the end of this week [June 23]."
[Laberge] says he has spoken with officials at Beachwood Bay Estates, the business that is marketing condominiums on the site of the former Cutler Navy base, and they have raised no objections about a power plant on Little Machias Bay, which he says would not be visible to condo residents. He says he has heard some negative comment from his fellow employees who fear their jobs could be at risk.(Jun 23)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Laberge didn't mention if Beachwood Bay Estates made a response regarding his proposed LNG project that would be on the doorstep of their condominium development. It would be well to recall that at the last Sunrise County Economic Summit (2005 November 18), the keynote speaker Daraius Irani while discussing the impacts of the Cove Point, Maryland, LNG terminal, indicated that from a real estate perspective, LNG terminals are considered disamenities and LULUs, in the same category as nuclear power plants, superfund cleanup sites, and landfills. It would be suprising if Beachwood Bay Estates would accept an LNG terminal next door.
On a related issue, Laberge declined to name his other partners, in the same method that Don Smith of Quoddy Bay LLC won't name his partners. Could it be that they're all in it together?
The rule proposes a speed restriction of 10 knots or less during certain times in each of three major regions along the U.S. East Coast (Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southeast). These proposed measures are adapted to right whale seasonal occurrence in each area, as well as commercial ship traffic patterns and navigational concerns. Speed restrictions would apply to vessels that are 65 feet in length or greater, except federal agency vessels.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Well, they got it half right. The big picture needs to take into account that the U.S. should be spending a lot more time and money on renewable energy that doesn't make the U.S. more dependent on foreign control and pricing. The FERC doesn't seem to understand that there are other sources of energy besides those controlled by big oil and gas.
Newsday's continued support for Broadwater's "wait-and-see" approach to its proposed liquefied natural gas depot in Long Island Sound is astounding ["Broadwater deserves inquiry," Editorial, June 15].
Presumably, Broadwater had a comprehensive plan for this facility scheme more than a year and a half ago. Why isn't Newsday demanding that Broadwater answer the myriad questions on the need, cost, safety, and security of this project?
25 June 2006
[T]he loss in property values along the U.S. side is estimated at $3 million to $8 million. Benefits would be less than expected, as the study concludes that each LNG terminal would provide only 27 construction jobs and 8 operations jobs to local people.
The study states that generally towns that experience an increase in industrial development also experience an increase in population with a net result of increases in tax rates despite a larger tax base.
Cost increases in the host community might be partially offset by an increase in local property tax revenues; cost increases in other communities in the region would not. As costs go up, property tax burdens could rise.
Natural gas is already available to industry through the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline. Thus far, the economics of its use have not proved favorable for local businesses, including the Domtar mill in Baileyville. An LNG terminal would not, by itself, change that equation, the study states. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 23)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The Domtar paper mill is only two miles from the existing Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, and yet, Domtar indicates that using that fuel source isn't economically viable for the mill. That makes sense, since Domtar currently satisfies its energy needs by burning waste wood and black liquor both are waste products from the paper-making process. (Black liquor is the fifth largest source of energy in the U.S.)
Furthermore, Domtar could make their energy operations more efficient and less polluting by gassifying the black liquor, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If the mill's viability actually is tenuous, then gassifying black liquor would be the first step in cutting ongoing energy costs.
The pro-LNG argument that, without the proposed LNG terminals, Domtar may close is a red herring.
The ad hoc Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada group has announced its legal incorporation as a non-governmental organization under the laws of New Brunswick. The group's mandate is threefold: to ensure Canadians are well-informed about proposals to establish liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Passamaquoddy Bay/St. Croix region; to provide a voice for Canadians who oppose such development; and to ensure this voice is properly represented to the U.S. and Canadian governments and the public.
The group's immediate priority is to ensure the Canadian government regulates quickly to prohibit LNG tankers from transiting Head Harbour Passage, as Prime Minister Harper has promised. The group retained the Sierra Club of Canada to work on their behalf in Ottawa and simultaneously is preparing to intervene in the U.S. decision-making process under the auspices of FERC. (Jun 23)
According to the Downeast LNG newsletter, the company has conducted environmental studies at a very detailed level and continues to do so. A review of seismic conditions on site indicates there are no problems. Archaeology studies indicate there is nothing significant on the construction site. Marine geotechnical borings for the pier will be underway soon, and the barge for the studies should be visible in the water soon. Noise surveys are under way at this time. (Jun 23)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Downeast LNG has ignored the SIGTTO LNG-terminal siting standards that indicate in dozens of places in their LNG terminal siting standards literature that Passamaquoddy Bay is an inappropriate and unsafe location for LNG facilities and tanker traffic. There are also several other immoveable obstacles that they're about to bump their heads into: problems related to environment, culture, safety, sovereignty and the fact that they're impossibly behind the competition.
When [Planning Board member Bill Brown] raised the question of a landowner's refusal to grant access to his land, [Steven Sawyer, a pipeline engineer for a Quoddy Bay LLC subcontractor, Coler & Colantonio Inc. of Portland] replied, "If we get FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] approval, we would use the power of eminent domain."
Sawyer returned to the issue of negotiations by the company with individual landowners several times, in response to questions raised about the company's responsibility after the construction of the pipeline. For example, when a citizen asked if the company would put up "gates" to prevent access by "four-wheelers and snowmobiles," Sawyer replied that a landowner who wishes gates should seek to make that a part of the negotiated agreement.
Milan Jamieson, one of the two selectmen present, noted that an increase in valuation would produce a decrease in state school subsidy, and would be subject to depreciation over time, factors that could have an unpredictable effect on net revenue to the town. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 23)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Since Quoddy Bay LLC would have the power of eminent domain, putting all the power into Quoddy Bay LLC's hands, any agreement negotiation such as installing gates between a landowner and the LNG developer is unlikely to result in satisfaction for the land owner. However, since the project is doomed, anyway, it makes sense to refuse to negotiate at all. Why make it appear that landowners are in favor of a project that takes control of their land, and why waste time and energy on a failed project?
In a May 19 letter to Eaton Peabody attorney Erik Stumpfel, Perry resident Ron Rosenfeld points out that the town as a whole has not voted to authorize the selectmen to hire an attorney to review previous negotiations between the Perry Improvement Association and Quoddy Bay LNG. He also notes that the agreement that Eaton Peabody will be reviewing was not negotiated by any group or individual approved by the town meeting.
In a May 28 letter he states that selectmen "do not have unfettered authority to enter into contracts absent town meeting approval." He refers to a case decided by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 1985, State of Maine v. Town of Franklin, which found that the selectmen of that town did not have the authority to sign a consent agreement with the state concerning the closing and relocating of its dump because there had not been a clear vote at the town meeting to authorize that action. (Jun 23)
Toward the end of a two-hour Perry selectmen's meeting, at the time usually earmarked for liquefied natural gas (LNG) issues concerning the town, Selectman David Turner responded publicly to a May 26 letter that was sent to residents in town from the Perry Citizens for Responsible Growth (PCRG). The letter states, "Two selectmen, David Turner and Dick Adams, agreed to commit town funds to retain a Bangor law firm to draw up a legal agreement between the Town of Perry and a developer, Quoddy Bay LNG. The proposed agreement would give the developer unprecedented control over the future of our town." The letter adds, "This extraordinary legal expense ($200 per hour) was never approved by Perry voters; in fact, the plan itself was never presented for voter approval." The letter asks for support in sharing their concerns, stating, "Our rights as citizens are being pushed aside to promote the interests of a private developer and the personal priorities of two selectmen." The letter listed a phone number for residents to contact with "any concern about this recent action." (Jun 23)
In February 2005, at a LNG Community Awareness Workshop, Hal Chappelle of the National Petroleum Council (NPC) said a study by NPC in 2003 estimated that seven to nine new LNG import terminals are needed in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He noted that the vast majority of global natural gas reserves are located outside of North America. Canadian and U.S. well productivity from transitional basins is declining. Natural gas usage is growing in all parts of the world.
The NPC is a privately funded advisory committee established in 1946 whose function is solely to represent the views of the oil and natural gas industry in advising informing and making recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Energy in respect to any matters relating to oil and natural gas. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 23)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: We're now over the estimated number of required LNG terminals, as indicated in the National Petroleum Council's study, and according to an LNG industry news release, we're way over. The proposed local LNG projects are superfluous, and their tickets have been cancelled except for the buses taking the developers home.
Of particular interest to the council was the proposed pipeline extension of about 35 miles in length from an LNG site in Perry to Princeton, where it would connect with the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline system. As presently designed, the extension would include a section that would cross under the Dennys River near Gilman dam. Several council members voiced concerns that serious negative consequences to the protected salmon river and its watershed could result. The potential for harm to the trout fishery in the area was also noted.
[I]t was decided that two representatives of Quoddy Bay LNG would attend the next council meeting on Monday, July 10, to respond specifically to members' concerns about pipeline positioning. Barstow said Steve Sawyer, a pipeline engineer, and someone else from the company's environmental team will speak with the watershed council. The meeting, at the EDM Youth Center, will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a business session, and with speakers scheduled for 7 p.m. [Bold emphasis added] (Jun 16)
23 June 2006
A seven-page summary of the Passamaquoddy Bay report, also available on the [Save Passamaquoddy Bay] Web site, indicates that LNG activity on the bay will suppress other indigenous economic activities such as fishing and tourism, offer relatively little direct economic opportunities to area residents, reduce property values and increase expenses for local municipalities.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Downeast LNG's Girdis' wants us all to believe that Downeast LNG won't be using a contractor, but will be hiring employees on a piecemeal basis. In reality, a contractor will be hired, who will then job out the specialized work to experienced companies with their own employees.
Growing global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and tight supply of specialised tankers and crew create the risk of dangerous lapses in standards and security, a shipping expert said on Tuesday. "Nobody knows what would happen if a significant accident occured on a large LNG carrier," Yea Byeon-Deok, professor and LNG initiative coordinator of the International Association of Maritime Universities, told a conference in Australia.
Yea pointed to the growth in "flag of convenience" ships which fly alternative flags to the country of ownership, potentially allowing them to avoid taxes and quality control and labour regulations, as evidence of deteriorating standards. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 20)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) of which the Maine Maritime Academy is a member works with the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) to establish the LNG industy's competency standards.
In the above news story, the IAMU is warning of deterioration of LNG industry standards.
FERC should be requiring observation of SIGTTO standards, rather than abetting violation of them, as they have been doing in permitting some LNG terminal sites putting the public, industry, and U.S. energy security at risk.
When will Congress hold FERC to a high standard?
The Commission for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities has been evaluating proposed projects in Gloucester, Outer Brewster Island off Boston and Fall River. State Senator Joan Menard, a Somerset Democrat, is the group's chairwoman. (Jun 21)
"The people in Jackson County are going to have to eat the pollution so Chevron can make more money."
All three independent consultant reports issued in the past 90 days agree that North Slope gas piped to Valdez, liquefied, loaded aboard expensive tankers, hauled to ports somewhere on the Canadian or U.S. West Coast, turned back into gas and then sent by pipe to consumers would be worth less to Alaska in taxes and royalties than gas shipped direct by pipe to mid-America. (Jun 22)
On June 15, BP received federal approval to build an LNG terminal along the Delaware River, despite a pending U.S. Supreme Court case filed by the state of New Jersey against Delaware to determine if BP can extend a loading dock into Delaware’s portion of the river. Delaware refused to grant BP a permit for the dock. (Jun 21)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is the same company that is under criminal investigation for the Texas City, TX, BP oil refinery explosion. BP has evidenced that it lacks a proper corporate safety culture, and yet, FERC ignores that issue even admitting that it would grant an LNG import terminal permit to Adolf Hitler!
21 June 2006
Since July 2004, inbound LNG cargoes have fallen from 28 to just 12 in March 2006. Meanwhile, developers have expanded import capacity to more than 5.0 bcfd -- four times the level necessary. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 20)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The U.S. LNG industry is beginning to realize their folly in their frantic race to over-build LNG import terminals everywhere and anywhere. The "build more" bubble is about to pop!
Knowing that their projects have no chance at being completed, due to being so far behind their competition to supply New England, their overwhelming public resistance around Passamaquoddy Bay, their violation of SIGTTO LNG-industry standards, their inability to meet state regulations, their inability to transit through Head Harbour Passage, and now the industry news above, Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis and Rob Wyatt, and Quoddy Bay LLC's Don and Brian Smith, have all got to be crying in their beer over their failed efforts. Get ready to shove their scurvey dinghies away from our shores.
As for the LNG portion of his proposal, Laberge said he expects no movement on that front until decisions are made in the next year about the two LNG projects that are seeking FERC approval to build on Passamaquoddy Bay.
According to a press release, SPB/Canada Inc.'s immediate priority is to ensure the Canadian government regulates quickly to prohibit LNG tankers from transiting Head Harbour Passage, as Prime Minister Harper has promised. (Jun 17)
Many property owners were feeling pressured by the company to allow surveyors access to their land, according to Columbia RiverVision librarian Samantha Duncan. Northern Star will need to build a pipeline to connect their facility with the Williams pipeline that runs along the I-5 corridor.Top
On Saturday June 10 demonstrators marched through downtown Astoria past the Northern Star offices, where several property owners retracted the permission given to Northern Star for survey work on their property.
"I feel you grossly misrepresented what this project would mean for me and my family, and I withdraw any permission I had given," wrote Vonda Brock of Longview, Wash. She stated that company representatives had not spoken with her of safety concerns connected with pipelines or of the threat of condemnation proceedings if she chose not to allow an easement voluntarily. (Jun 16)
16 June 2006
Current policy calls for the evaluation and approval of new LNG facilities individually as they are proposed, even in the absence of a comprehensive and strategic approach. As a result, an unreasonable number of applications have been filed to construct new facilities both on- and off-shore, from Canada's coast to throughout New England.
Electricity and natural gas producer Dominion Resources Inc. said Thursday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the proposed expansion of its Dominion Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Maryland.
A 48-mile pipeline in Maryland will deliver additional natural gas from Dominion Cove Point to interstate pipeline connections in Virginia. Dominion Transmission Inc., the company's interstate pipeline unit, will build an 81-mile pipeline and two compressor stations in central Pennsylvania to move natural gas to the Dominion South Point market hub, other interstate pipelines and the major natural gas storage fields at Leidy in Clinton County, Pa. Leidy is a major storage center for natural gas used by markets throughout the Northeast. (Jun15)
In doing so, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission overruled objections made by Washington Gas Light Co., which said the imported fuel was responsible for thousands of leaks in Prince George's County in the winters of 2003-04 and 2004-05.
Washington Gas Light began a study of the problem after a District Heights home exploded in late March last year. No one was injured in the blast, but the study found that the imported gas's drier chemical makeup caused the rubber seals in underground pipe fittings to shrink, allowing gas to escape.
A spokesman for Washington Gas said the company is considering an appeal. About 300,000 customers, mostly in Prince George's, where the leaks occurred, are served directly off the Cove Point pipeline. "We think the FERC decision really overlooked the very fundamental fact that the leak pattern occurred only in that 100-square-mile area of Prince George's County where we receive Cove Point gas," company spokesman Tim Sergeant said. [Bold emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This is more evidence of FERC's bias in favor of big fossil fuel companies, to the detriment of public safety.
Dundalk Sen. Norman Stone Jr. made another attempt Wednesday to block a liquefied natural gas terminal in Sparrows Point. But he conceded that it was unlikely that the special session of the General Assembly called to deal with high electric rates would consider the bill.
Stone’s bill would ban waterway dredging of more than 250,000 cubic yards within a half mile of the Sparrows Point site proposed for a LNG terminal in Southeast Baltimore County. This would effectively prevent the company from making the channels deep enough for the estimated 150 huge tankers that would arrive each year. (Jun 15)
County Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr. has proposed what could effectively be a countywide ban -- limiting natural gas facilities to industrial sites at least five miles away from homes. The council is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday.
John E. Beverungen, the county government's top attorney, said he knows of a case in which a court knocked down local laws aimed at restricting the operation of LNG facilities. He pointed out that even if the federal government approves the AES plans, county government officials could withhold permits under the ban, forcing the company to go to court. (Jun 14)
[Gazprom Director of Marketing and Trading John Hattenberger] said that the company is exploring several ways to enter the U.S. LNG market, including starting a U.S.-based company or acquiring an existing company with U.S. marketing and trading activities.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: A Russian gas monopoly owning a US company is something that the US doesn't need, since it will likely damage the nation's energy security, but is something that FERC will greet with open arms.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Although FERC's approval of this terminal along with the other four new and expanding terminals that it approved on June 15 rings the death knell to the LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay, it is nevertheless distressing that FERC approved any BP LNG project at all, since BP has proven that it lacks a corporate safety culture.
The approval is an example of FERC's willingness to allow, literally, anyone to construct and operate an LNG terminal in the U.S. including BP, or sociopaths like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Charles Manson, or (by extension) Osama bin Laden, as FERC officials have admitted they would allow.
Both Spalding and Jamestown Town Solicitor J. William W. Harsch emphasized the importance of all LNG opponents being aware that the KeySpan LNG terminal proposal for Providence continues to be pursued. KeySpan's application was denied on the federal level because its proposed site was too small, but company efforts are underway to provide the space needed to gain the approval of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, Harsch said.
[Councilor Barbara Szepatowski] also suggested that bay communities could co-ordinate a boycott in which they would refuse to supply police and fire personnel to provide security for the LNG tankers as a way to force the Coast Guard to admit it cannot provide the required security. The Coast Guard has said extensive security on water and on land would be necessary for every trip each LNG tanker makes. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 15)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Councilor Szepatowski has suggested a novel, if not risky, way for communities to impose some measure of control over LNG terminal siting.
Less than a week after ConocoPhillips withdrew its proposal for an LNG terminal 12 miles south of Dauphin Island, another liquefied natural gas proposal is being considered - this one 63 miles south of Mobile in the Gulf of Mexico. (Jun 14)
You can paint ‘cow’ on the side of a horse, but it’s still a horse and this is still a sale,” said Stevens, who asked the judge to kill the deal, suggesting that its lengthy trail of open-meetings violations, closed-door negotiations and “government chicanery” left it “irreparably tainted.” (Jun 14)
North Coast residents will have to wait months to discover what safety risks LNG tankers could pose and how Northern Star Natural Gas would solve them if a liquefied natural gas terminal is built on the Columbia River at Bradwood Landing.
"As citizens of Oregon and Washington, we are the ones who will be directly impacted," said Cheryl Johnson, a local school librarian and an LNG opponent. "We have a right to know what their plans are ... how they are going to ensure our security and what kind of impact it will have. If we can't read it, then we can't question it and we can't criticize it." (Jun 15)
Before the meeting began, about 55 anti-LNG activists gathered on the sidewalk outside The Mill, holding signs that read such things as “Impeach the Port” and “Why Become a Terrorist Target?” Upon the meeting's commencement, the majority of the activists either left or went inside to the open house. (Jun 13)
Thanks in part to a warm winter, inventories of natural gas have built up to levels far greater than normal for this time of year. And terminals built to handle imports of liquefied natural gas from other countries are operating at about half of their capacity.
Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved proposals to build three new terminals and expand two others that together would triple the nation's capacity to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). [Bold emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: FERC's approval of three new LNG terminals and expansion of two others tripling LNG capacity and sending natural gas to the Northeast puts five more nails in the local LNG projects' coffins. It now has to be painfully obvious to the developers that the Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC projects are not needed, that they've lost the race big-time, and that they're wasting time and money by the shipfull. Get ready to decorate their departing dinghy!
NEB [National Energy Board] notes that demand is not growing -- seasonal demand spikes for natural gas are being leavened by increased efficiency in electricity generation. Less natural gas produced means less revenue for the producers; for governments, it means lower royalty payments and lower tax collections. [Bold emphasis added.] (Jun 14)
Just as U.S. industry wants secure supplies, big LNG exporters like Nigeria and Qatar want assurances that markets for their product won't fizzle out after they invest the billions of dollars needed to carry LNG across oceans on special tankers, Abraham said. (Jun 14)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Here's another reason why big oil & gas companies don't want rapid innovation in alternative energy their supplies will dry up.
12 June 2006
Our state government says it's Washington County's turn for economic opportunity. As it turns out, some of the public servants tasked with helping create that economic opportunity through the Pine Tree Zone program took their jobs a little too personally they wound up helping themselves. Four key players who developed programs for jump-starting businesses Down East are now key beneficiaries of the programs they set up. [NOTE: The Banfor Daily News online letters page contains no link to take you directly to a particular letter. To find the letter using the above link, search the page for "Down East self-service".]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: It's no coincidence that some of the public servants mentioned in the above letter have also been vocal advocates of LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay. Ironically, because of the "LNG everywhere" mentality that they have fostered, their own project of developing the Cutler Naval Station property into condos is being bitten from behind by the Cutler LNG project proposal.
The proposed Goldboro Petrochemcial and LNG Project, located on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore, calls for a US$4.5 billion petrochemical plant with an LNG regasification receiving terminal and gas storage facility, demethanizing units, power and steam co-generation, and related utility and offsite infrastructure and systems.
Gov. Riley would not take the chance that an open-loop terminal would do lasting damage to the Gulf Coast marine environment and to Alabama's fishing and seafood industries. While ConocoPhillips pledged to do no environmental harm (and even offered the state some handsome economic incentives if Gov. Riley blessed the proposal), the scientific evidence is inconclusive.
Until valid scientific studies can prove the seawater reheating process won't disturb coastal ecology, the closed-loop system of burning natural gas to reheat the LNG is preferable, albeit more expensive for the terminal operator.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: It's unfortunate that Maine's Governor Baldacci won't take similar leadership in protecting fishing resources in Passamaquoddy Bay.
“The format of the event is that we'll have information booths set up everywhere, so people can go from booth to booth and learn about the issues they care about,” said Bob Braddock, Jordan Cove Energy Project director. “Each booth is designed to focus on a particular aspect of the project, whether it be design, vessel movement issues, seismic and tsunami factors, environmental issues, and so on. Rather than have us give lectures, people can just talk to whoever they want to talk to.”
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: This open house follows the same LNG-developer, FERC-sanctioned "divide and conquer" technique: rather than let everyone hear everyone else's questions and the developer's answers, isolate the questioning as much as possible, and keep the public from solidifiying an opinion.
FERC is the culprit. The goal should be to keep the public as completely informed as possible. FERC makes no requirements regarding these open houses they don't even require that the events be advertised!
Maine's Congressional delegates (Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins, Rep. Michaud, Rep. Allen) are as much at fault, for allowing this FERC-sanctioned travesty to continue. When will they author legislation to put FERC on the right track?
That means a couple things. The port still can investigate the property for any environmental or other issues. It also has two years to figure out whether the LNG project with Jordan Cove Energy will win federal approval and prove feasible. If there are any problems, the port can back out. If it does, Weyerhaeuser must pay back the money. Thoughout, port district taxpayers won't pay anything.
The governors adopted three resolutions regarding energy issues. The first approved a two-year report that recommends ways to achieve a more clean and diversified energy portfolio in 10 years, including calling on Congress to pass federal tax credits for energy efficiency investments.
The second calls for more investment in ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, natural gas and the transmission grid needed to support it. That resolution was designed to call to attention the country's dependence on foreign oil as a national security risk and environmental concern.
The third resolution calls on Western states to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The resolution urges federal agencies to invest in climate change research and support coordinated international research on the issue.
"The strain of growth globally is starting to show," CERA said in the report, adding that "evidence is mounting of cost inflation and budget overruns, of project delays and operational hiccups, of shortages of specialized labor and expanding lead times for specialty parts--and all this within a broader context of more strained global geopolitics."
The consulting firm added that LNG projects are facing rapidly escalating costs. "Much of the upward pressure on costs is linked to a more general inflationary trend across the oil and gas industry. Part of it is exacerbated by characteristics more specific to LNG, notably shortages of key specialty materials, and a select set of engineering, procurement, and construction companies with proven track records on large-scale LNG projects."
Betting on cars powered by batteries and gas CBC News, Canada
The advantage of plug-in hybrids is that they have enough electrical energy to drive a car the distance most of us go during the day to and from work, about 50 kilometres. This means that you could go weeks, maybe even months, without using a drop of gasoline, and all you would have to do is plug in your car at night for it to be fully charged and ready to go the next morning. And, unlike simple electric cars, if you want to go long distances, you can always rely on your hybrid's gas engine.
In a garage just north of Toronto, they converted a Prius by adding a second battery in the back of the car. This extends the distance the car can drive on electric power alone. Fifteen minutes into a test drive, or about 10 kilometres [6 miles] of city driving, the gas engine still hadn't kicked in. (Apr 3)
10 June 2006
According to government projections, the 18 LNG proposals that already have been approved by federal regulators in Canada, the United States and Mexico should have enough capacity to help meet the continent's natural gas needs for the next 20 years.
An overabundance of proposed North American facilities, difficulties in tapping into new natural gas supplies, and the likely completion of LNG projects elsewhere in the Northeast make the Maine proposals impractical. Nine other projects are planned for the region, including expansion of an existing Maryland terminal and two offshore from Boston.
All the gas deposits now being mined are under contract for delivery, according to [Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG], which means that any new supply contract will have to be fulfilled with gas from deposits that are as yet untapped. Because of the time it will take to develop new natural gas mining and liquefaction operations, the soonest any such gas could be delivered is 2010, which is two years later than when Anadarko hopes to begin operations at Bear Head, he said.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: People may remember Jim Lewis, the Quoddy Bay LLC-paid showman who ate Cheerios after they'd been doused with LNG. He's the same guy who kept repeating, "LNG doesn't burn or explode," even though like liquid gasoline once it is makes contact with the air, it can burn or explode.
The overwhelming, superior competition to the Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LLC proposals hasn't yet stopped Girdis and Wyatt or the Smiths, since as Girdis announced at Downeast LNG's presentation in Robbinston their financial backers embarked on these projects knowing that success was improbable. But, another likely reason is that the local guns are getting well paid for as long as they can make these projects last they've got a personal financial stake in dragging the process out for as long as possible, even though by now they must realize that their efforts are futile.
New Brunswick organizations Atlantic Salmon Federation, Friends of Head Harbour Lightstation, Fundy North Fishermen's Association, Huntsman Marine Sciences Centre, Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Tourism Action Group all have raised concerns about the projects with federal regulators in the United States.
Canadian opposition to the proposed developments is not limited to local residents and groups, however. Several politicians, including John Craig, the mayor of New Brunswick waterfront resort town St. Andrews, and New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord have voiced opposition to building LNG terminals anywhere in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Even Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, Cabinet Minster Greg Thompson, and Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, have indicated that LNG terminals would be inappropriate on the bay.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The fact is that elected U.S. federal officials have taken no stand other than failing to answer their constituents' question, "Are you in favor, or not, of the LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay?"
Our elected federal delegation (Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins, Rep. Michaud, and Rep. Allen) should be supporting the SIGTTO LNG-industry best-practices standards, and should be legislating that FERC abide by those standards.
...To ignore SIGTTO LNG-industry safety standards as FERC continues to do is to neglect public safety, industry safety, and United States' energy security and economy.
Save Passamaquoddy Bay, a local activist group that opposes LNG development near Passamaquoddy Bay, has asked U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) to clarify his position on LNG terminals in Maine. (Jun 9)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The original LNG Law Blog headline only mentions Rep. Michaud. The last sentence in the body of the item does mention that we also challenged Senators Snowe and Collins on the same issue.
Frankly, we find it curious that LNG Law Blog singles out Rep. Michaud in the headline, especially when Michaud responded promptly, but Snowe and Collins required a telephone call a month later, resulting in their issuing an inadequate joint response. In all three cases, the delegates failed to answer our question; thus, our challenge reported in the blog.
Rep. Allen, who doesn't represent the Passamaquoddy Bay area of Maine, has failed to respond, entirely.
Saint John, home to Irving Oil Corp., has the potential to become an energy hub for the entire region, according to business leaders who spoke Friday at the Reaching Atlantica conference. And Maine, where manufacturers recently have been struggling to manage their power costs, could benefit by being the point of entry for that product into the energy-hungry United States.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: And yet, the U.S. government, through FERC, is disrespecting Canada's sovereignty by pushing ahead with the Passamaquoddy Bay LNG projects that require transiting LNG ships through Canadian waters while Canada is saying "no" not to mention egregious U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of the Interior violations of Passamaquoddy Indian trust rights.
Provincial NDP Leader Elizabeth Weir says the proposed tax break for the LNG plant violates the fundamental principles of equal opportunity. Weir told CBC News that just as the Irvings were negotiating this special deal, many New Brunswickers were receiving notices in the mail that their own property taxes were going up.
ConocoPhillips Friday confirmed that it had withdrawn its application for a license under the federal Deepwater Port Act for its proposed 1.2 Bcf/d Compass Port liquefied natural gas project it had planned to build 11 miles off the Alabama coast.
The company's statement comes after [Alabama Governor] Riley announced that ConocoPhillips officials told him Thursday that they would withdraw the company's application after he informed them that he planned to veto the proposal because of concerns that the open loop vaporization system, which would use seawater to regasify the LNG, would harm marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. (Jun 9)
One of the controversial issues involved with the air quality permit is that the facility will be subject to air quality standards as if it were on an island rather than on the mainland, a decision made by the federal government earlier this year. Karen Kraus, an attorney from the Environmental Defense Center, called this a "fundamentally flawed premise."
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: That's over 3⁄4 ton of air pollutants per day. Nitrogen Oxide NOx is the "noxious emissions" that Brian Smith admitted Quoddy Bay LLC would be emitting in major quantities. NOx is a problematic, unmitigated source of several types of pollution, like ozone inversions, smog, and acid rain.
During a confirmation hearing held yesterday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, FERC nominees expressed differing views on whether the United States should meet its natural gas demand by importing LNG. (Jun 9)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Of course, an OPEC-like cartel for LNG could really "set" the price. The US needs to get smart and build alternative energy sources, instead of increasing its reliance on foreign fossil fuels that could result in bringing the U.S. to its economic knees.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Doomed Quoddy Bay LLC talks about obtaining their LNG supply from Trinidad & Tobago. The three LNG "incidents" in a month at Trinidad give even more reason to doubt Quoddy Bay LLC's source of supply, the Smiths' business judgement, and the fate of the project.
8 June 2006
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of the Baldacci administration has been its environmental record. Under his leadership, Maine has adopted a serious climate change plan, a comprehensive energy plan to reduce the need for foreign oil, adopted green building standards, reduced the amount of mercury and lead in the waste stream and began an electronic recycling program. (Jun 7)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Comprehensive energy plan? Maybe in state government buildings and vehicles (which we applaud), but certainly not comprehensive for Maine, which has no "energy plan." Reducing the need for foreign oil? Perhaps, while also fostering a substitute from the same volatile political regions foreign fossil-fuel LNG.
While construction at the 72-hectare site located about 10 kilometres from Port Hawkesbury has been halted, as announced in March, the steel for the storage tanks is arriving and engineering work will proceed, Lee Warren, an Anadarko spokeswoman, said earlier this week.
Energy analysts have predicted the supply of LNG will remain tight until 2009, and available natural gas supplies from Trinidad, Algeria and Nigeria are heading to western European countries, where there is strong demand and higher returns. (Jun 7)
Opponents of the proposed Sparrows Point facility spoke at a hearing Monday in Dundalk. In addition to residents, elected officials including Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. repeated their opposition.
[Gov. Ehrlich's lawyer and longtime friend, David Hamilton] wrote to [Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s aide Damian O'Doherty]: "Insofar as opposition goes, these are the kind of judicious, moderated comments that we request the County Executive to consider, if he is inclined to speak publicly on the subject. Of course, you understand that we hope for no comments and, pursuant to our meeting today, we will relay information to AES promptly so that AES may address this issue with you and/or the county executive as soon as possible."
Much has been said about the Compass Port's proposal to use naturally warm Gulf water in an open-loop process to regasify the liquefied natural gas. Why not just burn a small portion of the gas to provide the necessary heat?
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The letter writer, ConocoPhillips' Global Gas President Sig Cornelius, states that Compass Port's opponents are hysterical naysayers, disseminating inaccurate information. Here's evidence that he is being less than 100% accurate in his own statements: (1) Onshore facilities are not less costly than submerged-buoy offshore terminals, and (2) Mustang Engineering's Smart® Vaporization technology, using warm ambient Alabama offshore air to regasify LNG, wouldn't utilize an open-loop system, can reduce CO2 and NOx emissions up to 93% compared to other closed-loop technology, and would be less expensive to operate than other closed-loop systems. His conclusion that open-loop technology is environmentally superior doesn't address Mustang Engineering's technology.
Solar Power Large or Small BSRNews.com
The good news is that solar installation prices are dropping in spite of the current shortage of polysilicon, government and industry incentives further reduce the costs, and excess energy can often be sold back to the utility, lowering electrical costs even further.
Government incentives that reduce the cost of installing a solar system exist at both the federal and state level. A federal Investment Tax Credit of 30% currently exists for commercial and residential solar systems. However, the residential credit is capped at $2,000 and both are in effect for only two years.
In the United States, most states offer a net-metering program, under which excess electricity generated by a residential or small business system is sold back to the local electrical utility. There are usually caps on the amount of energy that the utility must accept, and in no case can small system owners earn more from sales than they pay the utility for power that they buy.
If governments were willing to commit to long-term incentives for solar power, similar to the ones the oil industry gets, and to encourage decentralized grids, then solar power would be able to take its place as a powerful adjunct to traditional ways of generating power. (Jun 7)
6 June 2006
Hundreds of residents long accustomed to living alongside factories, chemical plants, landfills, and industrial smokestacks filled an Eastern Baltimore County fire hall last night to fight a proposed liquefied natural gas plant that they said poses a worse threat than anything their communities have faced.
Among them were county councilmen, state representatives, county and state government officials, representatives of Maryland's members of Congress, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and, nearly two hours into the hearing, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
A pleasure craft's nighttime stopover at Elba Island this past weekend has the Coast Guard and maritime community wondering just how much security is enough for the already controversial liquefied natural gas facility.
Sometime around 1 a.m. Saturday, a sailboat cruised into one of the interior slips designed to accommodate the huge LNG tankers as they dispense more than 100,000 cubic meters of their liquefied product into Elba's massive storage tanks.
The incident also dismayed some LNG-watchers, among them James Fay, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fay has made a career of studying the risks of LNG.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: "Incidents" seem to be attracted to the Elba Island LNG terminal. It's the same terminal that had an "incident" this past March 16: wake from another ship tore an offloading LNG tanker from its berth, breaking its connection to the terminal's LNG piping. The Elba Island location violates SIGTTO LNG-industry world-class terminal siting standards. Similarly, SIGTTO standards preclude using Passamaquoddy Bay for LNG terminals.
Why doesn't Congress including Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins, Rep. Michaud, and Rep. Allen press for legislation requiring FERC to adhere to SIGTTO LNG-industry standards?
To assess a possible impact by a single development, it would be useful to look at what happens every summer when the "dead zone" appears off the mouth of the Mississippi River. Do we see massive fish kills? No, the fish avoid the area.
The same thing will happen with the LNG facility. After it is online, the equilibrium will adjust and we will be able to enjoy the benefits of lower-cost, environmentally friendly energy to spur our economy and contribute to a better quality of life. (Jun 3)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: The writer seems to believe that fish eggs and larvae have some type of news system that warns them to keep from being sucked into LNG open-loop regasification equipment, and that they can maneuver out of the way! The guy is the president of the Alabama Seafood Association but, after his above op-ed, I'll bet on a short term of office!
In California, ExxonMobil, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric and others have proposed corridors across Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Lassen Volcanic national parks as well as the Mojave National Preserve, several military bases, Anza Borrego Desert State Park and seven national forests.
Corridors also are proposed for Canyonlands National Park in Utah and Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Las Vegas. Routes near the Cascade Mountains and the Rocky Mountains also have been proposed, some as much as five miles wide and 2,000 miles long.
Jeffrey Adler, spokesman for Sound Energy Solutions, said the company would continue to pursue permits to build the natural gas terminal. The energy firm has threatened to sue the port and the city of Long Beach if they attempt to halt the project. (Jun 5)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Sound Energy Solutions hasn't lived up to its contractual obligation, but now thinks that it shouldn't have to. The Energy Act of 2005 is apparently giving this developer the idea that it can violate contracts, because it seems to think that, through FERC's nearly omnipotent siting authority, they hold all the power. This presents yet another financial burden to the public: communities may be confronted with frivolous, yet expensive, lawsuits from deep-pocketed friends of FERC.
We have our Congressional delegation to thank for this problem.
Australia-based Woodside Natural Gas Inc. will submit an application within two months with the California State Lands Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard for a deep-water port license, company officials said recently.
Most of the speakers zeroed in on the EPAís 2005 reversal on its smog rules, which will allow the Australian company to escape mainland smog regulations by considering the project to be located in the offshore islands.
In April 2004, the EPA told BHPB that it would have to buy and retire existing mainland smog sources if it wanted to station the ship, with its emission-causing gas combustion chambers, off Leo Carrillo Beach. But a year later, EPA reversed course and said the LNG ship would be considered as a part of the distant Channel Islands, instead of the closer mainland.
[Amy Zimpfer, the EPA Air Division official who made the reversal decision] acknowledged that the EPA reversal came after lobbying from BHP Billiton. Other EPA officials, speaking on background, have said that major decisions on the LNG issue are coming from political appointees at EPA headquarters in Washington. [Bold emphasis added.]
"When built, our terminal will provide the Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of BC with access to a reliable supply of natural gas that should contribute to future economic development and power possibilities," says Mark Butler, President of WestPac.
LNG facilities are not new to British Columbia. A production facility has operated in the Tilbury Island region of Greater Vancouver since 1971 without incident. Seven LNG projects have been announced in Canada including a proposed terminal in Kitimat and an LNG project was approved on Vancouver Island within the past year.
The Sakhalin project has already been hit by a doubling of its costs [now projected to be $20 billion], leading to tension between Shell and the Kremlin, and has damaged the company's reputation on environmental matters. (May 22)
2 June 2006
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: In light of the new LNG proposal at the Cutler Naval Base, the new condos there present an interesting conumdrum.The politicos and special intertests who support LNG development in way Downeast and who also have a financial or political interest in the Cutler condo development should provide an interesting-to-watch, agonizing "dance."
At yesterday's meeting with community activists at the Dundalk headquarters of the Greater Dundalk Alliance's LNG Opposition Team, [Maryland's Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.] told county residents that he has long been against the LNG proposal because he shares their concerns that it would be too close to homes. [Bold emphasis added.]
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Unfortunately, Maine's Gov. Baldacci doesn't share Gov. Ehrlich's concerns about residential safety.
Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith said county officials will provide vehement testimony against the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at Sparrows Point at a federal meeting next week, a move residents who oppose the project say they hope will spark proactivism among other elected officials. (May 31)
1 June 2006
That's why LNG Opposition Team leader Sharon Beazley is asking for decorum when the public gets a chance to voice its opinions about the proposal Monday night at the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Co. hall with members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
[Town Solicitor J. William W. Harsch] said the Weaver's Cove approval is facing at least three challenges in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. The challenges are coming from the city of Fall River, the Conservation Law Foundation, and jointly from the attorneys general of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He said the deadline for briefs from the petitioners is set for July 12, and the deadline for amicus briefs is July 19. He explained that the council's decision on its possible brief would best be made within that one week time period. An amicus curiae brief is a "friend of the court" action by someone in this case the town of Jamestown not a party to the case but who claims the court decision may affect its interest.
For example, construction has slowed on the Bear Head Terminal in Nova Scotia because of a difficulty securing natural gas to supply it, according to Teresa Wong, manager of public affairs for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The $650 million onshore project in Canada is facing competition from other companies and countries, she said. (May 31)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Do Quoddy Bay LLC and Downeast LNG have committments from LNG suppliers? They haven't said so, so they probably don't. It's one more reason to believe that these two projects are doomed.
“If you moved an additional 80 chip ships through the area, you'd have an impact then as well,” said Braddock. “But with the fuel we're burning and the movement, yes, there will be an impact.” (May 30)
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Although the Jordon Cove LNG project director admits that LNG ships will have a negative environmental impact on that area, the Passamaquoddy Bay project magically won't, according to developers.
"CLNG [Center for LNG] is concerned that the DEIR puts forth highly improbable "worst case" scenarios and consequence analyses that grossly overstate the risks of the Cabrillo Port FSRU," said CLNG Executive Director Bill Cooper. "As a result, we believe the DEIR is vulnerable to mischaracterization and misinterpretation. The improbable worst-case scenarios lead to overestimates of the resulting consequences. CLNG submits that these highly improbable scenarios should not be used to develop design criteria for LNG facilities, as the DEIR suggests."
CLNG is a coalition of 60 LNG producers, shippers, terminal operators and developers, energy trade associations and natural gas consumers. Its goal is to enhance public education and understanding about LNG by serving as a clearinghouse for LNG information.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: CLNG, unlike project-neutral SIGTTO, is a project advocate. Apparently CLNG doesn't subscribe to SIGTTO's world-class best practices standards that advise against terminal siting that would include any probability of a large release of LNG.
WEBMASTER'S COMMENTS: Here's another nail in Quoddy Bay LLC's and Downeast LNG's projects' coffins.