"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
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|MARITIME SECURITY: Public Safety Consequences of a Terrorist Attack on a Tanker Carrying Liquefied Natural Gas Need Clarification (2007 Feb 10)|
29 March 2007
[Page contains multiple articles. Search down page for "House approves LNG bill."]
"I'm not one to holler about snail darters and spotted owls," said Charlie Smith of the Louisiana Charter Boat Association, a key fishing group in the Gumbo Alliance, distancing himself from the green movement in general. "But I am drawn to empirical data that shows there is damage."
Webmaster's Comments: Shell indicates that LNG infrastructure is reaching natural gas demand's required capacity, so additional terminals aren't needed. They obtained a permit two years ago to construct their terminal, and yet, they're tossing in the towel!
The White House thinks you should put up with 200 to 400 tons of smog-causing pollutants including nitrogen oxide exhaust equal to 60,000 to 120,000 daily car trips to have Australia’s BHP-Billiton (BHPB) import liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the United States.
Only one development is expected from the event: players on the global gas market will try to reach an agreement on setting up an international alliance like the one that unites the majority of oil exporting countries.
MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - No court action will be initiated against the Sakhalin II operator for environmental damage incurred during the implementation of the major oil and gas project in Russia's Far East, an environmental regulator said Thursday.
27 March 2007
Webmaster's Comments: In February, a Town of Perry vote decided to negotiate differently with Quoddy Bay LNG than the current vote determined. Which is actually the legal result?
Quoddy Bay is requesting the FERC to amend the Maritimes permit to prohibit the flow of gas from Canada to the United States through the pipeline if the Canadian government bans LNG tanker access to Maine.
Webmaster's Comments: Quoddy Bay LNG's request is confusing: Canada isn't banning LNG tanker access to Maine. LNG tankers could access Maine anywhere else along the state's coast with no interference from Canada. And, Canada has even indicated that they have no objection to LNG developers doing exactly that.
It's a problem easily solved. Do the Smiths and Dean Girdis really want to actually operate an LNG terminal, or do they simply want to "flip" (sell their projects at a large profit) to experienced and bona fide energy companies in order to make a fast buck?
On Friday, Quoddy Bay LNG filed a "Request for Rehearing and Modification" with FERC, asking the commission to amend the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline permit to prohibit the flow of gas from Canada to the United States through the pipeline if the Canadian government bans LNG tanker access to Maine. (Mar 24)
Webmaster's Comments: Quoddy Bay LNG is advocating shutting off Maine's and Boston's supply of natural gas. Isn't that a lot like Russia shutting off natural gas to Europe last year?
I cannot believe that running LNG vessels zigzag through the islands of Passamaquoddy Bay is a safe venture. The latest concern is that such a terminal poses a hazard from fire within 1 mile. Why infuriate the Canadian Government over this venture?
Webmaster's Comments: This letter writer isn't the only one to think Passamaquoddy Bay is unsuitable for an LNG terminal. The LNG industry itself warns against locating terminals under the numerous unsafe conditions present in Passamaquoddy Bay (as expressed in the SIGTTO world LNG terminal siting standards).
Unless the issue is headed off, with a ruling that says Canada can do what it will in its own internal waters when the right of innocent passage is at issue, we're headed for a situation where the U.S. can, and will, do what IT wants when it comes to steamrollering unhindered through Canada's waterways, whether in Passamaquoddy Bay, B.C., the Great Lakes, or the Arctic. In other words, if we lose on this issue, Canada has no sovereignty, and that's a very scary prospect. (Mar 13)
Thirdly, on page 19 of the RSS Study, there is a table listing all of the sites that Mr. Girdis looked at prior to selecting Mill Cove. He gives significant weight to community assessment. He states that the position of adjacent communities is 'generally supportive.' Again, I ask, does he remember his reception at last year's meeting in St.Andrews?
In closing, I would encourage Mr. Girdis to listen to his wife. At the same meeting last year, he publicly stated he and his wife were at Mill Cove on a beautiful day the summer before. As his wife looked out on Mill Cove and our treasured bay, she said to him, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
Mr.Girdis, listen to your wife! [Red emphasis added.] (Mar 16)
Instead of America-bashing rhetoric, there should be honest dialog and debate about the subject. A risk assessment should be made that includes navigational safety, environmental impacts, anti-terrorism and regional economic aspects. And, to ensure absolute objectivity, because of the commercial and economic interests involved, the assessment should draw comparison with Irving's proposed LNG facility at Canaport and Saint John, and its associated miles of pressurized natural gas pipeline through New Brunswick wilderness to the Maine border. (Mar 20)
Webmaster's Comments: This letter's author provides several half-truths. For instance, he wants readers to believe that US Coast Guard rescue vessel crews are armed to the teeth with automatic weapons mounted on deck, like when they're protecting an LNG vessel.
The writer avoids mentioning that the world's LNG industry standards, as published by SIGTTO, already warn against locating LNG piers under the conditions present in Passamaquoddy Bay and not simply for LNG ship navigation reasons.
LNG-proponents keep resurrecting the Passamaquoddy Bay - Saint John Harbour comparison that has been previously debunked. Passamaquoddy Bay is a significant marine nursery. Saint John Harbour is not. Passamaquoddy Bay is fraught with hazards. The approach to Saint John Harbour is not.
The letter, perhaps unintentionally, makes a good argument against building more natural gas pipelines. The US Office of Pipeline Safety's pipeline operator report for 1986 2006 indicates that there were 1,910 US natural gas pipeline "incidents" (that's one every three days) resulting in 63 deaths, 246 injuries, and over $48 million in property damage. Even so, a single LNG tanker or terminal fire could result in a significantly larger catastrophic impact.
The writer may be correct regarding less-than-stellar LNG project environmental vetting in Canada. However, every child learns that two wrongs don't make a right. The LNG industry standards dictate against siting an LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay. Arguing that Canada is doing some other thing improperly simply doesn't justify violating the industry's standards.
26 March 2007
Webmaster's Comments: Girdis rants on about Canada, providing red-herrings as "evidence" of a plot against his project. On the other hand, here are the facts:
- New Brunswick and Canada have no inherent objection to LNG projects in Maine, or even Washington County. They're objecting to Girdis's (and Quoddy Bay LNG's) site selection in Passamaquoddy Bay. Why? Because the Passamaquoddy Bay location threatens Canadians and Canadian economy.
- Canada's opposition to Girdis's project location is in total agreement with world's LNG industry standards (see next bulleted item).
- Girdis was ignorant of the LNG industry's standards for LNG terminal siting when he picked Passamaquoddy Bay for his project. By his site choice, Girdis demonstrated his project's lack of due diligence. How do we know this? Read on.
Girdis identified his ignorance of LNG industry standards when he responded to a Bangor Daily News reporter's question about the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) best practices standards. Girdis referred to those standards as "laws," and said he believed that they don't apply to LNG terminals. In fact, they're industry standards, not laws, and as is obvious by the organization's name they apply specifically to terminals, as well as to ships.
- The Saint John Canaport LNG project isn't nearly as great a threat to lives as is Girdis's project. The Canaport project doesn't transit a hazard-ridden, winding waterway, and doesn't pass within burning distance of numerous communities. Those are just some of the reasons why Girdis's Downeast LNG project would violate world LNG industry standards.
- Girdis gives the false impression that ships transiting to the Bayside, NB terminal don't use pilots. In fact, the Bayside Port requires pilots aboard ships for that destination.
- Girdis falsely implies that ammonium nitrate transits to Bayside every week. It is a seldom occurrence.
- Girdis falsely equates all ship transits to Bayside as being as dangerous to the public as LNG transits. If LNG transits weren't of such remarkable hazard, FERC wouldn't require all the numerous, extraordinary security measures that it mandates. Bayside's ship transits don't measure up to the considerable hazards of LNG.
- Girdis falsely implies that LNG at Saint John presents the same environmental hazard significance as in Passamaquoddy Bay. Passamaquoddy Bay is a significant marine nursery. That isn't true of the waters off Saint John.
- Girdis says his project is environmentally sound. His project claims that there are no endangered species in his terminal area. The Atlantic Salmon Federation has documented endangered Atlantic salmon within the terminal site area in 2005 and 2006.
Girdis's project also didn't report the large historical fish weir that the State of Maine later found and documented near the center of Mill Cove, Downeast LNG's terminal location.
- The Canadian projects that Girdis claims are threatened by his project are either already supplying natural gas to the US, or will be doing so long before Girdis's project could possibly be in operation. The Canadian projects either have, or will have, obtained LNG supply, will already have space in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (FERC has just approved expansion of that pipeline to accommodate the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, NB), and will have already obtained customers. Even if Girdis's project were ever completed, the other projects will have solid contracts with customers and suppliers to whom Girdis will have no access. Girdis isn't a threat to those Canadian projects he's a threat to Canadian lives and livelihood.
- Girdis wrongly says that Maine needs his natural gas. Perhaps Girdis would provide exactly to whom in Maine his gas would be sold. Since Downeast LNG has no natural gas customers, since Maine's use of natural gas is limited, and since most of the natural gas in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline goes to the Boston area, Maine isn't in great need of Girdis's gas.
- If Girdis really wanted to operate an LNG terminal, he'd simply purchase the Anadarko Bear Head, Nova Scotia terminal; after all, it's already permitted and is for sale because they can't obtain an LNG supply. He'd be up and running much earlier than he ever could be completing the Downeast LNG project.
This brings into question Girdis's real motives. Isn't Girdis, if he could ever get a FERC permit, simply wanting to make a fast buck by "flipping" his project to some major energy company that would actually operate the terminal?
Girdis's statement that Canada needs to prove its "worthiness" appears to be a classic example of the psychological projection defense mechanism.
Under the agreement, Quoddy Bay would guarantee an annual amount to the town of $3,631,210 to be used for any municipal purposes. If the value of the construction at the Perry site is valued at more than $3.6 million, the town would not get any additional compensation. [Bold red emphasis added.] (Mar 23)
This month Broadwater Energy, which is seeking to locate a 1,250-foot-long floating LNG storage vessel about nine miles north of Wading River in Long Island Sound, offered the community of Riverhead's school district approximately $10 million per year and the Town of Riverhead about $2.4 million per year. Broadwater maintains that the Long Island Sound site is not within the town's taxing jurisdiction, but Broadwater has promised to make an additional payment in lieu of taxes of about $15 million. One of the features about the proposed project includes a promise to supply natural gas to the area. The project would not require any municipal services, and it wouldn't present any danger to people on shore because it would be so far away. According to a company representative, there would be no additional resources required from the town -- no roads, no traffic. The company representative said, "We are not calling on the local fire departments or police." [Bold red emphasis added.] (Mar 23)
Perry residents can cast their votes on Monday, March 26, at the municipal building, from 1 to 7 p.m., to elect municipal officials and to vote on three referendum questions. Running in a two-way race for a three-year term as selectman are H. Richard Adams and Austin C. Frost. Other candidates and positions listed on the ballot are: two seats on the school board, each for three-year terms -- incumbent Eileen Curry, incumbent Sarah Hood, Ann Skriletz, and Ivy Newcomb Turner. Seven candidates are running for three seats on the planning board, all three-year terms: Howard Calder, Robert Costa, Gerald Morrison, Linda Newcomb, Karen H. Raye, Graydon Ritchie Jr., and Brian Theriault. (Mar 23)
The Emergency Response Plan, the local impact provision in the framework agreement, brought up some questions during the meeting. Quoddy Bay LNG has offered up to $300,000 per year of the company's annual payment to the Town of Perry for ERP costs. The company said it will pay all additional ERP costs above this amount, including capital facility costs. "Where did the figure come from?" was one questions. "FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] must have an idea of what it would cost. Was it just hauled out of a hat?" (Mar 23)
Webmaster's Comments: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires an Emergency Response "Cost Sharing Plan" only for the terminal facility and vessels servicing that facility.
Quoting the Energy Policy Act of 2005:
‘‘(e)(1) In any order authorizing an LNG terminal the Commission shall require the LNG terminal operator to develop an Emergency Response Plan. The Emergency Response Plan shall be prepared in consultation with the United States Coast Guard and State and local agencies and be approved by the Commission prior to any final approval to begin construction. The Plan shall include a cost-sharing plan. ‘‘(2) A cost-sharing plan developed under paragraph (1) shall include a description of any direct cost reimbursements that the applicant agrees to provide to any State and local agencies with responsibility for security and safety ‘‘(A) at the LNG terminal; and ‘‘(B) in proximity to vessels that serve the facility.’’. [Underline and bold emphasis added.]
The Energy Policy Act does not require any actual payment for these purposes just a "cost-sharing plan." There is no requirement for paying for emergencies resulting from the LNG terminal or tanker transit that affect anything outside the terminal or the marine vessels. Those substantial costs unless the LNG company agrees otherwise will be borne by the taxpayers, since affected communities have no negotiating power under the current federal law.
"We feel we are on very firm legal ground as a sovereign nation. That's why we were very deliberate in our choice of words to FERC," says Thompson of Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson's letter to Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He comments that the ambassador, in his letter outlining the Canadian government's position, "used language that Harry Truman would have been pleased with -- very plain and straightforward." (Mar 23)
On Thursday, March 8, a public hearing regarding two referendum questions in Perry brought a turnout of about 25 people to discuss a proposed Pavement Management Plan that would initiate an 11-year paving plan and road maintenance for the town with an increase in spending up to $160,000, and a citizens' initiative that asks the town to conduct all future discussions with Quoddy Bay LNG with an 11-member committee comprised of several officials and representatives of the Perry community. (Mar 23)
"Despite some of the disputes that arise from assumptions, two key points are agreed upon by most every expert on LNG," added Smith. "The major risk from an LNG spill would be a heat hazard due to a potential fire. More importantly, as the GAO confirms, explosions are not likely to occur." (Mar 23)
Webmaster's Comments: Despite FERC's and the LNG industry's propaganda, the GAO doesn't rule LNG vapor explosions out.
22 March 2007
The link will download a PDF document (52 KB).
WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Tim Bishop (NY-1) introduced legislation this week to prevent highly volatile and environmentally hazardous liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities from being placed in estuaries of national significance, which are designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public water supplies and indigenous wildlife species. (Mar 19)
NOTE: This article will be available online for non-subscribers until around March 29.
Webmaster's Comments: This Wall Street Journal editorial is so full of misinformation, it reads like something spoon-fed to them by an LNG developer.
- Contrary to the editorial, existing navigational hazards cannot be reliably overcome with safety measures. The hazards will remain in place, waiting for human error to result in an accident.
- Contrary to the editorial, there is no dynamite transit via ship to the Bayside, New Brunswick, terminal. All dynamite shipments arrive by truck.
- Contrary to the editorial, Canada isn't practicing "trade protectionism." They're practicing marine and LNG safety, in compliance with SIGTTO LNG-industry standards world-class LNG terminal siting safety standards that FERC and the local developers ignore!
- Contrary to the editorial, the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline is not operating at below capacity. In fact, FERC has just authorized expansion of that pipeline in order to accommodate the natural gas that will soon be coming from the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick.
- While the editorial erroneously claims that Canaport and the proposed Passamaquoddy LNG projects are in competition with each other, the truth is that Canaport already has an LNG supply, will have completed its facility, and will be providing natural gas to New England long before the proposed Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects. Canaport has nothing to worry about regarding Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG.
In addition, the two offshore LNG terminals near Gloucester, Massachusetts, will be completed and delivering natural gas before the proposed Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects. Without LNG supplies and without customers, Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG were out-competed before they began. They're simply attempting to blame Canada for their own lack of due diligence.
- Contrary to the editorial, Canada doesn't expect a market with no competition. In fact, they've indicated that they'd have no problem with LNG facilities along the Maine coast, but away from Passamaquoddy Bay and Canadian communities.
The Wall Street Journal apparently didn't adequately research the subject prior to putting their thoughts to press.
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): "Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government has indicated forcefully that we oppose the transit of LNG traffic through Head Harbour Passage. The Prime Minister has stated this. The veterans affairs minister has championed this. I have raised this with Secretary Rice. Ambassador Wilson has formally conveyed to the United States strong opposition to LNG tankers passing through Head Harbour Passage because of navigational, environmental and public safety concerns." (Mar 21)
Excelerate's Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge, proposed 13 miles southeast of Gloucester and expected to be operational by the end of the year, and Suez North America's Neptune, proposed seven miles southeast of the city and expected to be ready in 2009, will both tie into the Algonquin line. (Mar 21)
Webmaster's Comments: Offshore terminals present fewer hazards to the public than the shoreside LNG terminals like those being proposed for Passamaquoddy Bay. Plus, the Gloucester offshore terminals moot the need for the Passamaquoddy Bay proposals.
An International Court of Justice ruling in 1951 established that the 12-mile limit could be extended in some instances. Countries could draw a straight baseline across areas of coastal areas dotted with many islands and basically declare that all the water between that line and the mainland is internal, even if it lies outside the 12-mile limit. The ruling was about a case involving Norway. But some observers say Canada's geographic case is similar. (Feb 9)
Webmaster's Comments: Although this story doesn't directly involve LNG or natural gas, it does show how the Northwest Passage is similar to Passamaquoddy Bay, and how both can be considered "internal Canadian waters," limiting the ability of foreign vessels to declare "innocent passage" through both areas.
Also, note when the US disputed Canada's right to share-in-common the offshore Gulf of Maine traditional fishing grounds with the US the 1984 International Court of Justice decision (PDF 6.7 MB) declared the waters southwest and of Machias Seal Island, and east to Nova Scotia, as Canadian, ending forever the US fishing rights there.
The experience of every operator in the inlet is that “if you shut in a producing gas well, you’re asking for trouble.” That trouble, he said, comes in the form of water, because a lot of the gas wells in Cook Inlet have started to produce a little water. “And the first rule of thumb when you’re producing a gas field that’s producing water is outrun that water,” produce the gas before the water takes over.
“If you shut in these wells, water’s going to continue to encroach, even if you’re not producing,” Jepsen said, and that causes “catastrophic failure of the sands.” Sand fills the well bores and production can’t be restored from those wells. (Mar 16)
The plant is the only commercial exporter of LNG on the continent, and has shipped the product to Japan for the past 40 years. The Japanese contract is set to expire in 2009, and the makers are asking the U.S. Department of Energy for a two-year extension on the shipments.
The producers face some opposition, and the public comment period on the extension is likely to be controversial as many say the most populous area of the state has a shortage of natural gas, and the gas used to make LNG could be better spent heating homes and supplying businesses in Southcentral Alaska. (Mar 4)
A new study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, says a terrorist attack against a tanker ship carrying liquefied natural gas could cause an inferno that intense. It urged the Department of Energy to research the risks of a major fire or gas release caused by natural disasters or terror attacks on LNG tankers.
Developers can pledge, as they invariably do, to fully comply with state and local laws, but the fate of their applications lies in the hands of a five-member [politically-appointed] federal commission in Washington, D.C. Once the commission gives its approval, state and local officials can do nothing to block a project.
Congress should review this sweeping and unwise usurpation of local control, which was part of energy legislation crafted six years ago by Vice President Dick Cheney and a coterie of industry lobbyists.
The natural gas industry pushed for federal siting authority because it wanted to avoid the cost and inconvenience of delays caused by local debates over the projects - debates such as those that the proposed Oregon sites are already generating.
The GAO study provides ample evidence that safety issues must be addressed before more terminals are sited. [Bold red emphasis added.] (Mar 21)
The Government Accountability Office report said the current estimate of the effects if an LNG spill from a ship is limited to a hole just 39 inches in diameter, and does not take into consideration the fact that the failure of one tank filled with a -260 degree fluid might crack a ship’s structural steel, causing other tanks to leak in what scientists call a “cascading failure.”
“One expert suggested that a one-meter hole in the center tank of an LNG tanker that resulted in a pool fire could cause the near simultaneous failure of the other four tanks, leading to a larger heat hazard zone,” the report said.
Environmentalists criticize the plant for excessive pollution--even though natural gas is the cleanest burning of all of today's practical energy sources. They claim that the plant is a safety hazard--even though LNG terminals have an incredible safety record, and this particular terminal has taken every safety precaution imaginable.
"No genuine concern for human well-being can explain the seething opposition to this power facility. The real reason it inspires such hostility among environmentalists is the simple fact that it is a large-scale industrial project--a prominent product of man's transformation of nature. This goes against the environmentalist doctrine that untouched nature is an intrinsic value that must be preserved at human expense. Environmentalists view the whole of industrial civilization as, in the words of Brosnan's wife and fellow activist Keely Brosnan, a 'globalized assault taking place on our Earth.'
"Environmentalists have been attacking energy production in California--and around the world--for decades now, raising prices and creating shortages. Californians must not let them collect yet another industrial scalp." (Mar 21)
Webmaster's Comments: The Ayn Rand Institute calls itself "The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism." Unfortunately, "objectivity" in their news release is regressive.
- They place the blame for the resistance to LNG facilities only on "environmentalists";
- They paint all "environmentalists" with the same broad brush;
- They attack the "excessive pollution" argument, when it is clear that some LNG facilities create excessive NOx pollution even Quoddy Bay LNG's Brian Smith volunteered that their proposed LNG facility will be a "major source of Noxious [NOx]" pollution;
- They claim that LNG terminals are safe, even though the US government says that LNG facilities are terrorist targets. Additionally, the US Government Accountability Offices' recent report indicates that LNG facilities aren't as safe as the LNG industry and FERC would like the public to believe.
- They imply that untouched nature should be expendable at the demand of industry, and that "environmentalists" are opposed to all practical sources of energy. They apparently believe there should be no appreciation for national parks, forests, and other wild places that should occupy a balanced place in our national priorities, and that only their choices of energy sources are "practical";
- Remarkably, they blame "environmentalists" for high energy prices and energy shortages. Did environmentalists create the recent extremely high natural gas prices? Did environmentalists create the inefficient and fragile electrical energy infrastructure? Did environmentalists create the obscene profits recently taken by big oil, at the expense of consumers? No. Industry greed did all that.
Ayn Rand Institute's "objectivity" at least in the above news release is without substance.
LONDON-listed mining giant BHP Billiton, beset by protesting Hollywood stars over its proposed gas terminal off Malibu Beach, has suffered another setback in the project, with a Congressional committee launching an investigation.
Now Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and other politicians have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) why they decided the project would not be subject to strict local air quality rules.
Lawmakers expressed concern that the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies do not have the resources to secure the rapid increase in liquefied natural gas import terminals expected to come online in the next few years.
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and several Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee suggested Wednesday that Coast Guard officials were not being honest and acknowledging that new demand will stress the office’s capacity. (Mar 21)
On March 9, a forum of natural gas exporting nations is to be held in Qatar. The media are discussing the subject of creating a “Natural-Gas OPEC.” Officials at Minpromenergo and Gazprom have not so far confirmed Russia’s intent to sign particular documents on the creation of such a structure. REGNUM’s correspondent interviewed analyst of MDM Bank Andrey Gromadin on possible goals and tasks of the “Gas OPEC.” (Mar 21)
15 March 2007
“LNG shipping has an excellent safety record,” Wyatt said. “This is an industry that is very safety-conscious for a number of reasons, including the value of its assets. We review anything new that can be used to improve safety.”
Webmaster's Comments: Downeast LNG Rob Wyatt's attempt to link his company with the LNG industry's current safety record rings hollow. Downeast LNG's proposed terminal location already violates numerous LNG-industry safety standards, as defined and published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO). SIGTTO's purpose is gas industry safety, and its membership includes over 90% of the world-wide LNG capacity.
In a communication with Transport Canada, a USCG official outlines in more detail the US safety and security requirements Canada and the US would have to agree upon. A few include: armed USCG boarding teams to conduct security inspections in Canadian waters; armed USCG escort vessels to operate and use deadly force in Canadian waters; use of force in Canadian waters especially with respect to Canadian marine civil disobedience (anticipated waterborne protests to block LNG tanker arrivals), other safety/security zone violators and to an emergent terrorist attack originating out of Canada; rights of fishermen in gear placement; and formalized one-way traffic scheme to include the exclusion of Canadian fishermen and other mariners. (Mar 14)
HALIFAX, March 14 /CNW/ - Keltic Petrochemicals Inc. received environmental approval for the integrated world-scale, US$4.5 billion petrochemical plant and LNG Facility from the Province of Nova Scotia today. In addition to the petrochemical plant and LNG Facility, the Goldboro, Nova Scotia complex includes demethanizing units, 200 MW power and steam co-generation plant, and related utility and offsite infrastructure and systems. [Bold emphasis added.] (Mar 14)
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday authorized Algonquin Gas Transmission to build a 16.4-mile pipeline to connect its system in New England to Excelerate Energy's proposed Northeast Gateway deepwater liquefied natural gas import terminal.
Webmaster's Comments: The offshore Gloucester, MA, competition is moving ahead at full speed, significantly outpacing and mooting the proposed Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects.
Havens, one of the 19 experts polled for the study, has argued for years that past studies might have wrongly downplayed the risk that an attack or accident could "cascade," breaking open all LNG compartments on a tanker.
Although past studies have developed modeling assumptions based on small-scale spill data, there have been no large-scale LNG spills or spill experiments, GAO reported. "While there is general agreement on the types of effects from an LNG spill, the results of these models have created what appears to be conflicting assessments of the specific consequences of an LNG spill, creating uncertainties for regulators and the public," the report said.
[Columbia Riverkeeper Brent Foster]: "They told the public that there'd be 65 jobs; their prospectus says 35 to 40. They told the public that this wasn't gas intended for California; in their prospectus they clearly identify California as their biggest market."
Growing protests of federal intervention to ease BHP LNG Cabrillo Port approval precede four crucial hearings likely to determine its fate. An environmental review states that, in addition to contributing pollution, the port would be an eyesore, and lights from it would be visible to Malibu at night. (Mar 14)
A US congressional committee is investigating a government agency's handling of the proposal to build the large gas terminal off the coast of Malibu, California. The investigation centres on why the US Environmental Protection Agency decided the terminal would not be subject to strict local air quality rules. (Mar 16)
Esperanza Energy, a subsidiary of Tidelands Oil & Gas Corporation, is proposing an LNG terminal 15 miles off-shore from the Port of Long Beach. LNG transported there in ships would be warmed back to a gaseous state and pumped to land via an underground pipeline.
Called Port Esperanza, the off-shore platform would be 10 miles away from the nearest land. That remote site is a major selling point another LNG terminal proposed in the Port of Long Beach was rejected earlier this year after nearly two years of study. (Mar 12)
14 March 2007
The link will download a PDF document (2.2 MB).
Understanding and resolving the uncertainties surrounding LNG spills is critical, especially in deciding on where to locate LNG facilities. Because there have been no large-scale LNG spills or spill experiments, past studies have developed modeling assumptions based on small-scale spill data. While there is general agreement on the types of effects from an LNG spill, the results of these models have created what appears to be conflicting assessments of the specific consequences of an LNG spill, creating uncertainty for regulators and the public. Additional research to resolve some key areas of uncertainty could benefit federal agencies responsible for making informed decisions when approving LNG terminals and protecting existing terminals and tankers, as well as providing reliable information to citizens concerned about public safety. (2007 Feb)
13 March 2007
"When we take the position on LNG and saying no to the transport of liquefied natural gas ships through Head Harbor Passage, we’re doing it because we believe it’s not a safe location, it’s not a smart location, and we are doing it for all of the right reasons," Thompson said. "We have an obligation to protect our citizens, to protect the environment and to protect our economy."
Webmaster's Comments: Canada's position is consistent with the LNG industry, itself. The LNG industry best-practices standards (as published by SIGTTO) dictate that LNG piers and terminals should not be located under the several hazardous conditions existing in Passamaquoddy Bay. In fact, Passamaquoddy Bay siting violates over a score of conditions recommended against by the LNG industry. Note that neither Downeast LNG or Quoddy Bay LNG have ever previously operated an LNG terminal. Note also that Downeast LNG's President Dean Girdis telegraphed to the world his ignorance about the LNG industry's standards in comments he made to the Bangor Daily News.
“I don’t know the law per se. My understanding is that SIGTTO refers to tankers and not to terminals.” Dean Girdis
"Regulators advance review process for LNG proposal"
Bangor Daily News, 2006 March 9
Dean Girdis used a question-and-answer session Tuesday to pepper Graham with questions about the provincial government's stance on the Maine project. The exchange came after Graham addressed members of the New England-Canada Business Council in Boston.
"We're playing by the rules of the game. What the final outcome will be will rest with both federal governments," Graham said, alluding to Ottawa's opposition to LNG tanker traffic in the Canadian waters.
Webmaster's Comments: Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis's "cooler heads" insult thrown at New Brunswick Premier Graham by Girdis's own definition disqualifies Girdis from the debate.
As for what Canada intends to from this point forward [Member of Parliament Greg Thompson] said, "We are examining all domestic regulatory and statutory options. That is ongoing. Our position is firm and defendable. Our legal experts have examined what we are doing. When it comes time to defend it, we'll be in a good position to defend it."
"Filing a motion is part of the process. We will continue to put the environmental concerns forward. We do respect the FERC process and we will continue to be active participants in the process," said Nicole Picot, director of communications in Graham’s office.
Webmaster's Comments: Sen. SNOWE, Sen. COLLINS, and Congressman MICHAUD for 313 days, as of today, since we asked have refused to provide their positions on the local LNG projects.
Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, L.L.C. has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to double its capacity to accommodate critical supplies of natural gas sourced from the Canaport(TM) LNG receiving and re-gas terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick. Canaport(TM) LNG is a limited partnership of subsidiaries of Repsol YPF and Irving Oil Limited.
Webmaster's Comments: This is indicative of who is ahead in the LNG derby, and who is so far back, they've already lost.
With little or no controversy around expanding the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline into the States, U.S. approval was widely expected. There is, however, some controversy over possible construction of the Brunswick Pipeline, proposed by Halifax’s Emera Inc., on the Canadian side of the border.
Emera’s pipeline, which would carry regasified LNG on the Canadian side of the border, would bypass the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline in Canada and hook back into that line just across the border in Maine.
For competitive reasons, the backers of the Canaport LNG operation Spanish oil company Repsol YPF and New Brunswick’s Irving Oil would like a pipeline dedicated to delivering its regasified product directly to the U.S. border in a pipeline commonly referred to as the Bullet.
[Column written by the Columbia River Business Alliance president and vice-president]
They have to believe that the communities around the Columbia Estuary are too "small town," un-educated, or gullible to question their almost silly editorial claim that bringing LNG tankers into the Columbia would somehow "benefit ship traffic" and "improve safety" for our community.
The findings of the [Coast Guard] report summary, and the majority of the report which were not public, were so serious that even U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, who had only said positive things about the project for the last year, is now against Northern Star's project and threatening to withhold funding from the Coast Guard and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission if necessary to stop the project. [Bold & red emphasis added.] (Mar 12)
...Esperanza's project would be at least 10 miles off the coast, a little less than half way to Catalina Island, which is far enough away to calm the worst case of jitters. Instead of an onshore terminal for conversion of LNG to its natural state, the liquid would be warmed offshore, then transferred by underwater pipe to existing pipelines onshore.
[T]he terminal and its ships would emit about 219 tons of ozone-forming emissions and 35 tons of smoke and soot daily.... [Bold & red emphasis added.] (Mar 10)
Webmaster's Comments: The President endorses offshore LNG terminals, offshore terminals are the state of the art, and yet, Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG persist in pushing their projects' outdated technology.
BHP Billiton, Australia's biggest oil and gas producer, says the start-up of a proposed $US800 million ($1020 million) natural gas import terminal in California may be delayed to 2013 because project approvals are taking longer than expected.
Chevron has abandoned plans to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas receiving terminal near the Coronado Islands, ending a four-year battle with U.S. and Mexican environmentalists who feared the project would harm delicate plant, sea mammal, and bird habitats.
An informal group of gas producers that account 70 per cent of world gas reserves already exists in the form of the Gas Exporting Country Forum (GECF). This was founded in 2001 by Algeria, Iran and Russia also includes Libya, Qatar, Oman the UAE, Egypt, Bolivia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela as well as Norway as an observer.
So far, the GECF has remained a loose group and has made no attempt to control gas prices. However during his recent visit to Qatar, President Vladimir Putin said that the idea of a gas cartel had not been rejected
Gas exporting countries meeting in Doha in April will discuss forming an OPEC-like group Iran's oil minister Kazem Vazeri-Hamaneh says. This follows calls by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni for Russia and other natural gas producers to establish a gas cartel.
12 March 2007
Following the Passamaquoddy Tribe's Indian Township Reservation vote last week in support of the Quoddy Bay LNG development, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Quoddy Bay LNG have signed the agreement that would lower the Tribe's construction tax from three per cent to one per cent and eliminate all other personal and property taxes for the LNG project on Passamaquoddy land in exchange for substantial lease payments. (Mar 9)
Pleasant Point Chief Rick Doyle believes the question was not sufficiently clear and should have been more explicit. However, he notes that residents were told that a vote in favor of the agreement would authorize the Indian Township Tribal Council to accept a revenue-sharing proposal from Pleasant Point and to support with the Pleasant Point Reservation the development of the LNG facility. A community guide on the referendum, sent out by the Indian Township tribal government to residents, stated that the Sipayik Tribal Council agreed in a resolution on December 27 to share on a per capita basis with Indian Township all income from lease fees from the LNG project, if the Project Coordination and Tax Agreement is adopted by the joint tribal council. The current populations of the two reservations would result in a split of approximately 60% of the revenues to Pleasant Point and 40% to Indian Township.
Indian Township resident Stephanie Bailey, who is opposed to the LNG proposal, says the wording of the question is a "pretty pathetic way to help your people understand" the greater meaning the question. She says residents were asked only if they wanted to share in the profits, not if they approve of the project or approve of signing the tax agreement. "There was absolutely no community discussion on the issue. There wasn't any understanding provided as to what the actual tax agreement was, and there was no platform for the people to discuss or even consider whether or not this was a fair, good or ethical venture. I am deeply saddened and ashamed at the way my people have embraced the lies of man once again." (Mar 9)
Webmaster's Comments: The vote appears to require all lease payments to be paid out on a per-capita basis. In other words, all the money will go to tribal individuals, with none going to tribal government, keeping tribal government in the same financial predicament that it is apparently currently in. This is despite the originally stated purpose by those who argued in favor of the LNG project at Pleasant Point to provide tribal government with operating funds.
The province's announcement states that the decision on allowing LNG vessels to transit through Head Harbour Passage is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Canadian federal government and is outside the FERC process. As a result of the ban by the Canadian government, the two LNG terminals under review could not receive LNG vessels, which would make them not viable. The motion submitted by the province refers to a similar case in Long Beach, Calif., in which a terminal developer was requested to show why FERC should continue to review a terminal application when a factor "essential for the project to go forward" was declined. (Mar 9)
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection, at its March 1 meeting, accepted the 13 parties who requested to be intervenors in the application for permits by Downeast LNG for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Robbinston, according to the board's administrative assistant, Terry Hanson. Intervenors are allowed to testify, offer evidence and cross-examine witnesses during the board's public hearing on the application. (Mar 9)
On Monday, March 26 (sic; February 26), Ronald Rosenfeld, M.D., of Perry filed a Freedom of Access appeal and complaint against Selectman David Turner and the Town of Perry. Rosenfeld's attorney, John Foster, filed the complaint in Washington County Superior Court. In a letter dated February 12, Rosenfeld had requested that Turner, chairman of the Perry Board of Selectmen, make available to him copies of public records and documents concerning the proposal of Quoddy Bay LNG to site a facility within the Town of Perry that were made or received by Turner. (Mar 9)
The Yellow Wood Analysis summary that was prepared by Shanna Ratner was distributed during the hearing. It states, "The Financial Framework Agreement is, essentially, an agreement to agree. It does not take effect until a comprehensive agreement is negotiated and signed, and then only if a tax increment financing district (TIF) for the facility is also established by the Town of Perry. Neither the comprehensive agreement nor the TIF agreements are available for review. Quoddy Bay is not obligated to any of the terms in the financial agreement unless and until a comprehensive agreement is negotiated and signed and a TIF is established. However, since the financial agreement states that the comprehensive agreement 'shall include the following terms and no others,' the town will not have the opportunity to reconsider if it decides the benefits are less than anticipated and/or inadequate to meet town needs. Neither will the town have the ability to terminate the financial agreement once it is approved by voters on or before April 1, 2007, although Quoddy Bay will have the right to terminate it." (Mar 9)
Webmaster's Comments: Although the ground lease between the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Quoddy Bay LLC allows for the 25-year lease to be extended for an additional 25 years, the agreement that Quoddy Bay LNG is offering Perry is for only 25 years. What will Quoddy Bay LNG provide Perry after the first 25 years?
Are you for or against the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG liquefied natural gas terminal and facilities for Split Rock and Perry? Selectman candidate Austin Frost responded, "Against it, because of where they want to place it. I am not against the industry itself; I just don't think that is the right place for it. Also, I want people to know that I am not running for selectman to stop it. I believe in listening to equal views about it. My feeling is if it goes through with the permits in place, it goes through. I would prefer to see it down state, though." (Mar 9)
The old Perry Grange Hall was filled to overflowing Saturday night, March 3, as people from around the Downeast region came to a coffee house held in the historic structure. The coffee house, which was billed as: "LNG Tanks? No Thanks!" and sponsored by the Perry Citizens for Responsible Growth, exceeded the group's expectations, as over a hundred guests attended and another 50 volunteered. (Mar 9)
One is the concept of a deregulated export-import economy where goods and services surf around the world in search of the lowest production costs and the highest retail price. The other is the idea of "subsidized" resource extraction and government subsidized business activity.
8 March 2007
The link will download a PDF document (506.0 KB).
"Would you, in cooperation with the other members of the Maine Congressional delegation, seek the assistance of the Department of State in preparing a legal opinion on the right of commerce to travel over Head Harbor (sic) Passage, which are part of an international waterway, in the course of travel to and from ports in Maine. (sic) Such an opinion would be a valuable addition to the proceedings before FERC, and will bring some balance to the current, one-sided discussion of the issue of international maritime law." (Mar 6)
[Dockets CP07-38, CP07-52 ; Accession # 20070308-0140]
"The U.S. Department of State is assisting the Commission staff and the U.S. Coast Guard to resolve all concerns from the Canadian perspective on these projects. Further, I ask that you assist in any way possible to help us obtain the factual information the staff needs to complete its review and make it available for public comment." (Mar 2)
Perry resident John Cook said he had information he would like to share with the public. "I have a PowerPoint presentation on the shortcomings of this deal that I would like to make available to the public at this hearing," he said. He requested the same amount of time allotted as the town’s attorney.
The chairman said that there would not be enough time to allow 70 people to have 40 minutes to speak. "We will see how much time we have," he said. "That’s the way we’ve conducted our hearings and that’s the way Maine Municipal [Association] says is proper ... and that’s the way it’s going to be conducted," Turner said. (Mar 6)
Webmaster's Comments: A pro-LNG chairman; an attorney who was the LNG developer's choice to represent the town; the attorney paid for, indirectly, by the LNG developer; and no presentation on the offer's shortcomings.
At the meeting, the chairman did allow the presentation on the offer's shortcomings.
6 March 2007
Docket #: CP07-52; Accession #: 20070215-5009(16865312).pdf
The link will download the PDF document.
I write to draw you [sic] attention to factually incorrect assertions in the Motion for Leave. On p. 19, the motion asserts: "Currently, there are no known Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) runs north in Passamaquoddy Bay or the St. Croix River. Therefore, the project pier in Mill Cove does not occur within any substantial migration pathway towards the open ocean environment." (Feb 15)
Only local merchantmen that receive permission from Capt. Stephen P. Garrity, commander of the northern New England Coast Guard sector and [sic; "can"] transverse the prohibited waters within the safety zone, the Bangor Daily News said. [Bold emphasis added.] (Nov 2007)
Webmaster's Comments: At their March 5 presentations to the Eastport Port Authority and City Council, and despite Capt. Garrity's clarification on this issue, representatives of Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG continued to misrepresent to the public as fact, that the local fishermen and car ferries will be able to transit through the LNG vessels' safety zones; and, therefore, won't be inconvenienced by transiting LNG carriers.
- Town of Robbinston
- City of Eastport
- Professional Manners [sic; "Professional Mariners"] and Waterway Users of the Passamaquoddy Bay Region
- Town of Robbinston residents
- Eastport Port Authority
- Save Passamaquoddy Bay and individual members
- We Take Care of Our Land [Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon] and individual members
- Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission
- New Brunswick Fishermen's Associations
- Harris Point Shore Cabins and Motel
- Bear Creek Investments
- Quoddy Bay LNG
- North East Energy Development Co.
The route into the American sites through Canada's Head Harbor Passage does appear more complicated than the approach to St. John Harbor, where a Canadian LNG terminal is proposed. It's unlikely that the regional markets would support two LNG facilities located a couple of miles apart. (Mar 4)
Webmaster's Comments: If the Press Herald's editorial staff were following this issue more closely, they'd know that the proposed and in-progress LNG infrastructure for New England is over capacity by 400%. With Downeast LNG's and Quoddy Bay LNG's late starts, it's unlikely that the regional markets would support even one LNG facility located in Passamaquoddy Bay. The Anadarko Bear Head, Nova Scotia project already permitted and with construction started has thrown in the towel and written off $110 million it has already spent on the project. The local projects would be better stewards of their investors' money if they did the same.
[Payment required to access full article]
Security experts have long warned that accidents or terrorist attacks on liquefied natural gas tankers or terminals are not simply nightmarish movie scenarios. Any explosion of the highly volatile gas could be catastrophic, for people and for the environment. So why on Earth are two U.S. companies applying for permission to build LNG terminals in northeast Maine, where mammoth delivery tankers would have to negotiate an extremely hazardous passage between Canadian islands? And why is U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expected to push Ottawa during an upcoming visit to drop its staunch opposition to those terminals?
No one doubts that the United States needs reliable sources of energy to decrease its alliance on Middle East oil. In Maine, the liquefied gas from such nations as Algeria and Trinidad would be transported through pipelines to consumers in the U.S. Northeast. Delays are a setback. Mr. Wilson was clear that Canada, with its huge oil and gas reserves, stands ready to help the United States with its problem. The solution, however, should not endanger the fragile security of both nations. (Feb 20)
"We are not saying that this Crown Landing project can't be built somewhere else in New Jersey," said David Frederick, special counsel for Delaware. "The problem here though is that BP has fixated on a place on the New Jersey shore where the Supreme Court decided ... the boundary is the low water mark, and Delaware has that sovereign power right up to the low water mark." (Mar 5)
“From an economic development point of view, there actually is a negative impact, long term, to having an LNG plant at the Sparrows Point peninsula,” said Fronda Cohen, marketing and communications director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development. “It can act as a deterrent to the type of 21st-century industry we want to bring to Sparrows Point.”
A bill introduced to the General Assembly Monday is the latest in an aggressive legislative strategy to derail an LNG facility planned off the Patapsco River on Sparrows Point peninsula. Mimicking recent Baltimore County legislation under appeal by energy firm AES Corp., the bill adds LNG terminals to prohibited facilities within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas of Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.
Washington, D.C. After careful and thoughtful review of the Waterway Suitability Report (WSR) for the Bradwood Landing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal project, released last week, Congressman Brian Baird (WA-03) has come out in opposition to the plan.
“After reviewing the WSR, I believe there is enough compelling evidence to oppose the proposed LNG project. While there may be local benefits to the project, including job creation and additional gas production, the overall negative impacts on the entire river system are too great for me to support. There are three main areas of great concern to me: the safety and security measures that would need to be implemented to make the Columbia River suitable for LNG and the associated negative impacts on existing river commerce; the impact on the environment; and, the effect the project would have on private property owners." (Mar 5)
This environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient technology, marketed as the LNG Smart® Air Vaporization (SAV) process, uses a closed-loop intermediate fluid circulating through fin-fan heat exchangers to extract heat from ambient air to vaporize LNG from its cryogenic state at - 260°F back to pipeline temperatures for transporting and storage. (Mar 1)
Webmaster's Comments: This is the state-of-the-art technology for regasifying LNG; however, neither Downeast LNG or Quoddy Bay LNG plan on using it.
The link will download a PDF document.
In a stunning development just one month before BHP Billiton’s proposal to build a massive LNG Terminal off the coast of Oxnard and Malibu goes before California state officials for approval, an inquiry by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has confirmed that the EPA’s 2005 reversal on a key regulatory smog requirement was without legal justification, that career EPA staff strenuously opposed the move, but were overridden by pressure from a high level EPA political official. (Mar 5)
The figures from the oil giant BP, which owns 50 tankers, and researchers at the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Wessling, Germany reveal that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 and 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or up to 5% of the global total. This is nearly double Britain's total emissions and more than all African countries combined. (Mar 3)
Webmaster's Comments: What amount of greenhouse gases would Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG and all the related waterway vessels be contributing, if they could ever manage to hurdle the numerous insurmountable obstacles to their projects?
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