The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 Mar 2

Mayor pleased by LNG stance


ST. ANDREWS — Mayor John Craig says the town is pleased with the province's stance on the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals for Passamaquoddy Bay, and that Premier Shawn Graham has been in touch with him several times in the last few days on the issue.

This week, New Brunswick submitted a motion to suspend the proceedings of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is reviewing applications to build two LNG facilities in Maine — by Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG.

The province, as an intervenor in the FERC process, has requested a suspension to further consideration of the applications following the federal government's decision to deny LNG vessels permission to travel through Head Harbour Passage.

Last month, Canada's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Wilson, sent a letter to FERC chair Joseph T. Kelliher, stating that as a result of a study to review the navigational, safety, environmental and other impacts the LNG projects could have on Canada, the federal government had decided it would not permit LNG tankers to pass through Head Harbour Passage.

The decision is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government and is outside the FERC process. As a result of this vessel ban, the two LNG terminals would not be able to receive LNG tankers, making them not viable.

The province's motion refers to a similar case in Long Beach, Cal., where a terminal developer was asked to show cause why FERC should continue to review a terminal application when a factor essential for the project to go forward was declined.

Mayor Craig said Wednesday, "The premier has been talking to me over the last three or four days. He has called me at home and at work — and he even took down my pager number and has kept me informed."

Premier Graham has been in Washington this week along with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Manitoba Premier Gary Doer to discuss the impending U.S. security measures, which would require travellers using the border crossings between Canada and the U.S. to carry passports.

Last week, Premier Graham had some opponents of LNG worried when, during meetings with Maine governor John Baldacci, he said the province would honour the review being conducted by FERC but this week he won their support with the move to suspend the process.

"After he made those comments with Baldacci he called me and said he would be keeping me informed. In fact, he called me this week before the news release went out," said Mayor Craig.

"Shawn Graham is staying on top of this and he is doing a good job and keeping us well informed. He actually calls me himself — not one of his aides.

"The province does have a game plan and they are working with the federal government. They are both on the same side. They were able to ask FERC to put this on hold because the federal government is saying these vessels cannot come through Head Harbour Passage. They are saying 'why don't you just drop this?'."


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

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB