The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 Mar 20


Dale Ferriere: LNG double standards

In reference to Janice Harvey's recent Telegraph Journal op-ed piece, it's a shame she's lowered herself to using highly inflammatory America-bashing rhetoric to object to the siting of an LNG facility near Eastport, Me. The U.S. Coast Guard "gunboats" she references are also life-saving platforms responsible for saving numerous Canadian fishers' lives.

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.

For instance, at the Canaport and Saint John LNG operation, there should be similar safety and security precautions required by Transport Canada; e.g., compulsory pilotage, escort vessels, assist tugs, and safety and security inspectors. And, with respect to environmental aspects and impacts, the debate should address public safety and environmental risks associated with constructing and operating a pressurized natural gas pipeline through hundreds of miles of rural New Brunswick.

When contrasting number of casualties associated with LNG transportation by ship and comparing that with the number of casualties associated with pressurized Natural Gas (NG) transfer by pipeline, the probability of an LNG carrier safety-related casualty (loss of steering, loss of main engine, structural failure, cargo mis-operation) is significantly lower than a pressurized gas pipeline incident (See recent gas pipelines explosions near Fort Worth, Tex.). And, please stop referring to an LNG carrier as a "super tanker."

The super tanker reference invokes images of crude oil spills. LNG is not crude oil and LNG carriers are not super tankers. International marine insurer's loss prevention statistics clearly show LNG carrier incident frequency and probability to be significantly lower than tankers.

With respect to terrorism risks, laden LNG carriers might be a terrorism target. But, so are pressurized natural gas pipelines. When comparing the number and frequency of LNG carrier transports stemming from the Middle East and transiting worldwide and associated number of successful terrorist attacks with the number of successful terrorist attacks using gas pipelines as targets, the logical conclusion is pressurized gas pipelines are significantly more vulnerable to terrorism than LNG carriers. Hence, Irving's proposed pressurized natural gas pipeline is significantly more vulnerable to terrorism than an LNG carrier transit into this region (including Saint John). When natural gas is maintained as a liquid it is not flammable. In contrast, pressurized natural gas in a gaseous state, required for pipeline transfer, is highly flammable.

By ignoring Irving's LNG project and its associated economic and environmental aspects, Harvey's op-ed piece is clearly biased and hypocritical.

In closing, with respect to "Save Passamoquoddy Bay" prior to using nationalistic rhetoric and to avoid further "double standard" hypocrisy, several Canadian politicians and environmentalists need to look into the mirror and review existing Canadian policy. Current Canadian policy allows continuous adverse environmental impacts from massive bio-loads stemming from Norwegian owned aquaculture sites and raw sewage discharges from several Canadian municipalities and shore-side communities ("don't snorkel in those New Brunswick waters because you'll likely inhale something similar in smell and taste to the type of rhetoric being made by several politicos and self-appointed environmentalists").

Dale Ferriere
Rolling Dam


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

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB