The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2008 Mar 28

Concerns voiced about new Downeast LNG pipeline route

by Marie Jones Holmes

Various Washington County residents and government agencies have registered with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerns or objections to Downeast LNG's new proposed pipeline route that would run one-half to two miles west of U.S. Route 1 to the northeast tip of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.

The proposed route would travel along the edge of the refuge, under and beside the St. Croix River and through the existing Eastern Maine Electrical Cooperative transmission line corridor to the Maritimes and Northeast Baileyville Compressor Station. The pipeline would be installed below vernal pools and the St. Croix River using a staged horizontal directional drill, a method Downeast LNG claims will not endanger natural habitats.

The letters are posted on FERC's website. Eight of the 10 letters express opposition to the latest proposed route.

In September and October 2007, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) rejected Downeast LNG's two attempts to withdraw and refile its application, but in November the board reversed its earlier decision and voted to allow the company to identify another pipeline route, the one now proposed.

Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Chief Richard Phillips Doyle wrote, "The Passamaquoddy Tribe has grave concern regarding potential environmental impacts the proposed pipeline may incur, both during construction and while under use. Of special concern is that the St. Croix River has one of the only existing Atlantic salmon runs in the U.S., and any construction activity may impair the movement of the adult salmon from Passamaquoddy Bay into the St. Croix or the salmon smolts returning from the river into the ocean."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is expressing concerns that the siting of the proposed pipeline route may have impacts on unknown cultural sites through ground disturbance and tunneling activities.

Gardner Rolfe of the Baileyville Utilities District has expressed concern that the rerouted lines are on Baileyville Utilities District's well head protection land.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted, "Selection of the pipeline route should focus initially on avoiding impacts of rare or other valuable fish and wildlife resources rather than focusing on minimization measures related to construction and operation of the pipeline." The agency also suggested that FERC should consider whether environmental impacts could be minimized by having the Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG projects collaborate on their sendout pipelines in order to reduce the need for two separate pipeline connections to the existing Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline.

Sherly King of King Appraisal Service in Baring stated that Downeast LNG has chosen the cheapest route to build the pipeline and not a route that has the least interference with the environment and real estate values, since the route would go through the more valuable lots with river frontage.


© 2008 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.