The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 January 30

Deadlines for filing intervenor status is now past


ST. ANDREWS — Applications to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay have been filed by both Quoddy Bay and Downeast LNG with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the 30-day deadline for filing for interevenor has now passed.

In an update this week on what they are working on at present, Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada says it has filed motions to intervene in both applications as has the province of New Brunswick.

FERC will review the motions to decide whether to accept the petitioners as intervenors.

The next step will be the preparation by FERC of environmental impact statements (EIS) for the two applications, which could take from three to four months to complete.

The documents will likely be several thousand pages long and SPB will be lining up experts who will have 45 to 60 days to review them and respond.

This will mean reviewing two EIS statements and two separate filings of comments but much of the information SPB will want to submit will be the same for both.

SPB said the big surprise for them was the motion to intervene by North East Energy Corporation. The Houston-based company say they have an option on land in Calais where they plan to build another LNG terminal.

In their motion North East Energy say their intent is to apply to FERC to start the pre-filing phase of the review very shortly, a process the other two proponents went through last year.

This means the Calais proposal is not dead as SPB had thought and the initial would-be developers have sold or otherwise transferred their land option and their intentions to North East Energy Corp.

Recently representatives of SPB met with New Brunswick Southwest MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson to discuss their expectation that the federal government would ban LNG tankers from passing through Head Harbour Passage.

SPB say their analysis of the Ottawa situation is that government lawyers agree that should Canada impose a ban on LNG tanker traffic through Head Harbour, the U.S. would challenge Canada's right to do so. There appears to be disagreement on whether such a challenge would succeed or not, say SPB.

Some in Ottawa argue that Canada should delay exercising its right (based on Canada's assertion that the Bay of Fundy includes Head Harbour Passage) as long as possible and hope the developers are sent packing by FERC or the projects collapse for other reasons.

Others argue that Canada has very strong grounds for asserting its right to regulate Head Harbour and need not delay in asserting sovereignty in this area by imposing a ban now.

This issue will be the focus of meetings with politicians and officials in Ottawa when a delegation from SPB visits there in February.

Thompson's office is helping to set up meetings with key people and the delegation will also meet with opposition leaders at that time to urge them to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper's position on this issue.

"Our message: act now, not later. The communities of Charlotte County cannot sustain their efforts to oppose these projects indefinitely, particularly in the face of two FERC reviews underway now and a third one on the way. This issue is not going away — and neither are we."


© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB