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"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
                                           — US Senator Susan Collins, 2012 Jun 21


News Articles
Passamaquoddy Bay & LNG

2014 May

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2014 May

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US Chamber of Commerce Can't Handle the Truth



British Columbia


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Nova Scotia

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Washington & Oregon


2014 May 29

Passamaquoddy Bay

Canadian legislator slams proposed Downeast LNG terminal — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

ROBBINSTON, Maine — A Canadian legislator took aim this week at the proposed Downeast LNG terminal in Robbinston, contending that tankers making deliveries to the terminal would have to pass through Canadian waters against the wishes of that country’s government.

“The Americans concede they do not have the authority to establish or enforce the safety and security zones in Canadian waters,” said Williamson. “The U.S. Coast Guard has concluded Washington will need to coordinate maritime traffic in our waters with Canadian authorities for LNG tanker traffic to proceed.”

The U.S. has no standing in world court to challenge Canada’s decision to ban LNG transits into Passamaquoddy Bay, according to Godfrey. Therefore, “Downeast LNG has exactly zero possibility of receiving the very LNG it would need to operate,” he said.

Ships transiting through Head Harbor Passage, bound for the Canadian port of St. Stephens, the American port of Eastport or the proposed Downeast LNG terminal, do not “require any specific Canadian government approval or permit for transit of the passage,” said Girdis in an email to the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday.

Also, the Coast Guard is not required to establish or enforce safety and security zones in Canadian waters, observed Girdis. The project’s final environmental impact statement and a Coast Guard letter of recommendation note that coordination with Canadian officials “is encouraged though not required,” he said.

[Red, yellow, brown & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: In Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis's fantasy world, rules and reality don't apply.

The Coast Guard has already indicated that if LNG tankers approaching the US boundary at Eastport do not have the "recommended" safety and security measures, the Coast Guard will deny the ships' entry into the US.

New England

Report: New England could ease its hunger for gas, avoid cost of pipeline — The Courant, Hartford, CT

Greater efficiency, increased use of renewable energy sources, and other measures could reduce New England's demand for natural gas and potentially avert the need to build a new pipeline, an environmental advocacy group said in a report released Thursday.

The group, Environment Northeast, outlined how lowering demand for gas in the region could balance out the supply constraints that caused severe spikes in electricity prices in the past two years.


Environmental and citizen groups request extension of time to comment on Dominion Cove Point EA (May 28) — LNG Law Blog

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and other environmental groups plus several local citizens groups have asked FERC for a 60-day extension of time to comment on FERC’s Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Dominion Cove Point LNG (DCPL) exporter terminal project, citing the highly technical nature of the EA and the need for full public participation in the assessment. DCPL and the American Petroleum Institute filed in opposition to the request, stating, among other things, that there already has been adequate opportunity for public comment on the environmental aspects of the project and further delay in acting on the project “will harm DCPL, its Export Customers, and the public interest supporting the development of the Project.”

Opponents of LNG export at Cove Point vow to continue fight (May 23) —, MD

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated in its environmental assessment for the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas project, released last week, that the expansion would pose no significant effect to the environment.

Following the release of the assessment, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network issued a statement saying he document omitted or failed to sufficiently address key concerns about the LNG export project in Lusby. Environmental groups opposed to the project wanted to see issues like climate impacts, community safety, marine impacts, fracking, public participation and transparency addressed in the environmental assessment.

Although the assessment addresses issues such as ballast water and gas production, Earthjustice associate attorney Jocelyn D’Ambrosio said FERC’s review of such issues isn’t sufficient, and Earthjustice will be taking legal action against FERC.

United States

Is natural gas sucking investment from renewable energy? — Renewable Energy World

U.S. President Barack Obama says natural gas can be a bridge from coal to a cleaner energy future. Investors are showing it’s more likely a bridge to nowhere.

The country’s embrace of natural gas means less love for wind and solar. New investments in renewable energy sources declined 5 percent in North America last year to $56 billion, the lowest since 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. By comparison, North American oil and gas companies spent $168.2 billion on exploration and production last year, more than double 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

UPDATE 1-U.S. Energy Dept to shake up LNG export project review process — Reuters

The Obama administration on Thursday announced a major overhaul of its review process for approving U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, a move that will give priority to companies with more commercial backing for their projects.

Under the proposal, the Department of Energy would no longer issue conditional approvals of projects.

Instead, the department would decide whether an LNG export project is in the national interest only after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or another agency, has issued a final environmental review.

Webmaster's comment: This is about DOE approval for projects to export LNG to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement with the US. Such approval is in addition to FERC permitting.

Frack till you drop (May 23) — In These Times, Chicago IL

This month, the AFL-CIO unveiled its annual “Death on the Job” report, which highlights the often-overlooked toll of workplace accidents and fatalities. This year’s biggest takeaway: the dangerous—and deadly—consequences of America’s fracking-fueled oil and gas boom.

In recent years, deaths in the oil and natural gas industry have seen an especially sharp rise. The [death] toll jumped by a stunning 23 percent in 2012 alone. This trend dates back to 2008, when horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” ushered in a new wave of oil and gas drilling across the nation. Fracking “boom towns” in states like North Dakota and Wyoming, rich in the kinds of shale formations that frackers lust after for their oil and gas deposits, have in turn seen a wave of industry-related accidents and health problems.

Use of frac sand, which typically has high silica content, is an integral part of the fracking process. In industry-speak, it’s known as a “proppant”: Injected deep into rock formations, frac sand creates fissures in the ground, releasing oil and gas. Recent studies suggest that fracking workers are at particularly high risk of exposure to silica dust from that frac sand. Over time, silica dust exposure can cause cancer, silicosis and other fatal diseases.

In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concluded public hearings for a new rule that would effectively halve the permissible exposure limits for “respirable crystalline silica”—that is, the particles that, inhaled over time, can lead to silicosis and other diseases. OSHA estimates that the rule would save 700 lives per year.

“For the most part, [fracking jobs] are not good jobs, and they’re highly destructive,” says Joe Uehlein, a former Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and current director of the Labor Network for Sustainability. “The idea of being for jobs simply because it’s a job, that’s something we have to re-examine.”

“We’re going to find a way to build a sustainable future, we’re going to find a way to solve the climate crisis,” says Joe Uehlein of the Labor Network for Sustainability. “Labor will be far better off if it figures out how to get on that train and be a part of [the renewable-energy] movement, as opposed to sitting back and fighting it the way they often do.” [Red emphasis added.]


2014 May 21

New Brunswick

Repsol said to seek $2 bln LNG plant amid Ukraine crisis (May 20) — Bloomberg

Spain’s biggest energy company would erect the facility at its existing Canaport LNG plant, which was designed to import liquefied natural gas and is underused. Repsol may include the export project when updating its strategic plan next year, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

The crisis in Ukraine 4,000 miles away may help Repsol justify investing more in a disappointing project that has already undergone a $1.3 billion writedown. The Group of Seven nations agreed to find new sources of energy to prevent Russia from using its oil and gas reserves as a “political weapon,” German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said May 6.

[Canaport LNG] has been underutilized after the rise in shale supplies prompting Repsol’s writedown in February 2013. Canaport was the only major asset that Royal Dutch Shell Plc didn’t buy when it agreed to acquire Repsol’s worldwide LNG assets for about $4.4 billion in the same month.

Repsol has yet to make a final decision on proceeding with the project, which would take about three years to build, the person said. The company filed a description of the project that’s not yet public to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency regulator, the person said.

LNG imports to Canaport over the first 11 months of last year were 67 percent lower than over the same period in 2010, according to data from Canada’s National Energy Board. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Canaport LNG has been operating at below 9% of capacity. After failing to sell Canaport, due to lack of market for imported LNG, Repsol wrote off the complete $1.3 billion cost of construction. With this gloom staring Downeast LNG and company president Dean Girdis square in the eyes, they continue to throw good money after bad on a project that…

  • Is unneeded;
  • Would be unable to obtain required State of Maine permits;
  • Would be unable to send out its project to its intended market;
  • Would be unable to receive LNG;
  • Has no room to add LNG exporting capability;
  • Has no ability to expand the proposed terminal size in order to add liquefaction capability; and
  • Would be unable to export LNG by ship.

Girdis is unwilling to face the reality that his project is an abject failure, and — as Save Passamaquoddy Bay has been told by others involved in the LNG industry — that the LNG industry is scoffing at him and his project.

Canaport LNG a can-do exporter, consultancy says — Natural Gas Intelligence

On the known record, Canaport LNG received approval from the New Brunswick environment department to reverse its flows of up to 1.2 Bcf/d on Sept. 9, 2013. The provincial permit is valid until September 2016 and allows 120 tanker movements annually into or out of the harbor at St. John.

Along with Canaport, the 14-year-old Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (MNP) plays a central role in the armchair economic generals' hopes for [New Brunswick and Nova Scotia] provinces. Traffic on MNP changed radically since the line was built in 1999 for deliveries from the Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the New England states, the 134-page survey of market conditions said.

Repsol holds about three-quarters of MNP’s delivery capacity. Canaport is linked to MNP by a pipeline from its site at the Irving refinery in the harbor at St. John. MNP and the Canaport connection have potential for reversal into an export network for blending production from the United States into offshore Canadian gas output into a united overseas export stream, said the consultants’ encouraging report to the Nova Scotia government. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

British Columbia

Without license: many B.C. First Nations still oppose LNG — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

Premier Christy Clark is hosting an LNG summit in Vancouver this week, but many B.C. First Nations have no intention of signing on to her plans.

“Right now, I don’t think they have social license,” said Tribal Chief Terry Teegee on Tuesday. He leads the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, representing eight First Nations in northern B.C.

The province's LNG website shows there are now proposals for a staggering 9 natural gas pipelines, that would connect to 13 coastal LNG plants. All the projects trespass aboriginal territories.

Teegee is just one of several First Nations leaders who spoke with the Vancouver Observer about their concerns about the Premier’s strong push for LNG projects. They say the province does not yet have enough support from First Nations to turn Clark’s $178 billion LNG plan into a reality.

For several years, Wet’suwet’en protesters from the Unist'ot'en house have held a “soft blockade” against LNG on a key bridge south of Houston, B.C. They disallow any pipeline contractors from working in the territory.

In neighbouring Gitxsan, mere “test drilling” sites for pipelines have had hereditary chiefs serve TransCanada contractors with a “cease and desist” order in March to remove themselves within 24 hours.

Concerns growing over Kispiox water usage (May 20) — The Interior News, Smithers, BC

Concerns are growing about the amount of water being taken from the Kispiox River by a [sic] LNG company doing exploratory work.

Shannon McPhail, executive director of Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition said it is a very confusing situation because of the changes coming to the Water Sustainability Act and whether the Ministry of Environment or the BC Oil and Gas Commission is supposed to regulate the water use.

“What used to be illegal, is now legal, that is in the unregulated and unlicensed water withdraw, sucking up water from rivers and streams for oil and gas activity,” she said.

“I can’t legally put a pump into the river and water our garden and yet they have tickets to remove 5,000 litres per day out of the river. Right where they are removing water is where the steelhead spawn.” [Red & bold emphasis added.]

United States

House stumps for natural gas infrastructure (May 20) — UPI

The "only way" to keep heating prices low is with more pipelines, House says.

The committee said legislation passed in the House in late 2013 -- the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Act -- would facilitate the construction of gas pipeline infrastructure needed to keep supplies moving when demand is at its highest.

"Even as we enter the hot summer months, we know winter will come again soon," a committee statement read Monday. "And the only way to bring down heating prices in the future is to build new infrastructure now." [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This is the last thing that Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis wants to hear. Even the US House of Representatives is contradicting Girdis's claim that improving pipeline infrastructure (that will confirm the death of his project) is nearly impossible.


2014 May 20

New Brunswick

Repsol eyes US$2B LNG export plant at Canaport site in New Brunswick — Financial Post, Don Mills, ON

Repsol SA is considering building a US$2-billion plant on Canada’s Atlantic coast to export natural gas, as Europe seeks to reduce its dependence on Russia for the fuel, a person familiar with the matter said.

Spain’s biggest energy company would erect the facility at its existing Canaport LNG plant, which was designed to import liquefied natural gas and is underused. Repsol may include the export project when updating its strategic plan next year, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

In North America, the explosion of supplies from shale fields is turning the continent from an importer into an exporter. That’s prompting companies from Repsol to Dominion Resources Inc. to consider terminals for supplying Europe, where the fuel fetches more than in the U.S. Other suppliers want to ship from the U.S. Pacific or Gulf coasts to Asia.

Repsol has yet to make a final decision on proceeding with the project, which would take about three years to build, the person said. The company filed a description of the project that’s not yet public to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency regulator, the person said.

The New Brunswick provincial government already gave Canaport an environmental approval to export LNG, according to a department website.

Repsol and its partner at Canaport LNG, Irving Oil Ltd., started receiving LNG at the facility in 2009, just as other import plants across the U.S. were being shut down or proposed as export terminals. Modern drilling technologies that allowed companies to unlock vast stores of gas in shale across the continent depressed domestic prices and reduced the need for imports. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: No surprise here. The only surprise is that Downeast LNG continues to bury its head in the sand, ignoring the real world, wasting time, effort, and taxpayers' money on the 'Downeast LNG import project to nowhere.' Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis started his effort 6 years too late. It may take another 6 years for Dean Girdis and company to figure out that the project is a bust.


Growing Marcellus production shifts pipeline activity (May 19) — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA

Oil and gas pipelines across the country are being expanded to handle increased production from shale plays, but those in the eastern part of the country are seeing the most changes — changes driven by growing importance of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, according to investment firm Moody’s.

Work being done includes building new pipelines from scratch, expanding existing pipelines and even reversals of lines that once took natural gas from the Gulf Coast to Pennsylvania and beyond.

“The Marcellus is at the epicenter of the change in gas flows across North America,” stated Moody’s in a report released last week. The firm’s data shows that, of the advanced projects nationally meant to increase pipeline capacity by 20 percent by 2017–2018, 88 percent are in the East.

“The industry wants options,” Ms. Manabe said. “They want to be able to send it to Canada and the Northeast — we all saw the impact of the polar vortex — as well as to the Southeast’s growing power generation market, to hubs around Chicago and to LNG export terminals on the Gulf Coast.” LNG refers to liquefied natural gas.

The pipelines that have seen the most activity include the interstate pipeline systems of Texas Eastern Transmission, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., according to Moody’s. Those systems have seen “numerous local de-bottlenecking projects to get gas mostly to nearby East Coast points,” the report said.

"Largely, for the interstate part, they are looking at reversing flows or expanding capacity to allow that Marcellus gas to flow to nearby markets,“ [spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based trade group Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Catherine Landry] said. [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: But … but … Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis claims that doing that is nigh impossible! Girdis may want to hire a credibility repairman.

Marcellus natgas advances pipeline retooling across North America, says Moody's exec (May 19) — Natural Gas Intelligence [Paid subscription]

The redrawn pipeline map isn't a new story; the Appalachian Basin markets over the past four years have moved from gas takers to gas makers. What has changed are the business opportunities and challenges for pipelines that had been carrying gas to the Northeast, Manabe said.

"The biggest hurdle is the competition among themselves," she said. "Everyone wants to get out of Appalachia every which way."

Expansions offer the biggest opportunities for the "traditional" Northeast market providers. There's a lot of expansion and greenfield activity along the Eastern Seaboard, where pipeliners have "many more organic opportunities than the Midwestern pipes," said Manabe. "New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, around the Carolinas, see some greenfield activity."

Moving from longer routes to shorter hauls isn't a "bad thing if the pipeline has found a new replacement market closer by. With the Marcellus meeting more northeastern demand, Gulf Coast supplies are being routed to the Southeast, where the new demand for gas-fired power generation is the greatest. Massive demand for gas is building south of the border in Mexico, while Canada seeks to monetize its British Columbia shale gas as LNG exports in the next decade." [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Heads up, Dean Girdis! The "biggest hurdle is the competition among [the pipeline providers] themselves" — not pipeline infrastructure expansion, as you falsely continue to claim.

Village elections set for June, offshore gas port to be discussed (May 19) — Newsday, Long Island, NY

Planned offshore gas port to be discussed

The Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations plans to host an informational presentation by Clean Ocean Action, Food & Water Watch and others on the impact that a liquefied natural gas port offshore could have on Long Island’s South Shore communities.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Orens Middle School, at 150 Trafalgar Blvd. in Island Park.

Liberty Natural Gas, part of an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, would build a $300 million system consisting of two buoys, two pipelines and a 22-mile main for its project, called Port Ambrose.

British Columbia

None of Clark’s five conditions for approval has been met [Opinion] — The First Perspective

Two years ago, the B.C. government put a price on environmental risk, saying that the $6.7-billion it can expect to earn from the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is too little.

A “fair share” of the economic benefits was among the five conditions Premier Christy Clark said would need to be met before her province approves new heavy oil pipelines.

Yet not a single one of the five conditions has been met.

Nor is there much prospect that B.C. will ever agree that the Northern Gateway proposal has cleared the bar.


Citizens Against LNG oppose Jordan Cove project in Coos Bay (May 19) — KVAL, Eugene, OR

COOS BAY, Ore. - Citizens Against LNG gathered outside Pony Village Mall Saturday protesting the proposed Jordan Cove liquified natural gas terminal.

The organization filed an appeal last week against the project.

United States

US must exercise restraint on LNG exports (May 19) — LNG Industry

A bipartisan group of 22 US senators has urged US President Barack Obama to consider the possible impacts on American manufacturing and families that rely on natural gas for heating, when looking to approve new LNG export facilities.

“Recently, the Department of Energy approved exports of liquefied natural gas from a sixth export facility. This means that total approved exports, combined with existing and approved export pipelines, now exceeds the total amount of gas that is currently used in every single American home and commercial business.

The letter is signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Susan Collins, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Tom Harkin, Angus King, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Joe Manchin, Edward Markey, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Jeanne Shaheen, Debbie Stabenow, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Ron Wyden. [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Study: Unchecked methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation may push Earth past the climate tipping point (May 17) — Summit County Citizens Voice, Summit County, CA

Is natural gas really the lesser of two evils?

“We have to control methane immediately, and natural gas is the largest methane pollution source in the United States,” said Robert Howarth, greenhouse gas expert and ecology and environmental biology professor at Cornell University. “If we hit a climate-system tipping point because of methane, our carbon dioxide problem is immaterial. We have to get a handle on methane, or increasingly risk global catastrophe.”

Howarth’s study, “A Bridge to Nowhere: Methane Emissions and the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Natural Gas,” will be published May 20 in the journal Energy Science and Engineering. In the article, Howarth explains that natural gas extraction and production has become a huge methane source from leads and intentional venting of gas.

“Society needs to wean itself from the addiction to fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” Howarth said. “But to replace some fossil fuels – coal, oil – with another, like natural gas, will not suffice as an approach to take on global warming. Rather, we should embrace the technologies of the 21st century and convert our energy systems to ones that rely on wind, solar and water power.” [Red & bold emphasis added.]


2014 May 16

Passamaquoddy Bay

FERC issues favorable final environmental assessment for Downeast LNG (May 15) — Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME

ROBBINSTON, Maine — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its final environmental impact statement for a proposed liquefied natural gas project in Washington County on Thursday, saying that the mitigation measures it recommends would eliminate impacts or render them of minor consequence.

“One of the greatest problems facing Downeast LNG is that it has not obtained Passamaquoddy Tribal Government consent regarding use of the waterway — a requirement of the U.S. Coast Guard — and regarding the damage and destruction that would occur to tribal cultural and religious assets,” [Save Passamaquoddy Bay representative Robert Godfrey] said in a prepared statement.

Godfrey also argued in February that there is no need for an import facility because of dramatic shifts in energy production and markets. For example, he pointed to an announcement by Spectra Energy that it would reverse and expand its pipeline systems in order to carry natural gas from areas of abundant supply in New York and Pennsylvania to markets in New England and the Maritime Provinces. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: The gorilla in the room is Canada's steadfast prohibition against LNG transits into Passmaquoddy Bay. The US has no legal standing to challenge Canada, as admitted by the US Coast Guard chief of international and maritime law.

Maine Downeast LNG import plant passes FERC environmental test (May 15) — Reuters

The environmental report is not a final decision on the project. FERC said its Commissioners will take into consideration staff's recommendations when they make a decision. FERC did not say when its Commissioners will make that final decision on the project.

FERC said its staff concluded that approval of the proposed project, with the mitigation measures recommended, would ensure that most impacts in the project area would be avoided or reduced to less than significant levels.

Webmaster's comment: Both this article's take on the EIS, and the EIS itself, are laughable.


Cove Point LNG draws mixed reviews — UPI

"FERC has failed the public once again with the release of this flimsy and deeply flawed environmental review," Jorge Aguilar, the southern region director for Food & Water Watch, said in a statement Thursday.

Webmaster's comment: FERC's modus operandi is consistentently flawed.

British Columbia

VIDEO: Anti-LNG rally gathers at gondola opening — The Chief, Squamish, BC

Protesters line Highway 99 as they make a stand against the propose Woodfibre LNG plant. The rally was held at the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola on Friday, May 16, in an attempt to catch government officials' attention, say organizers.

Opposition of the proposed LNG export plant is snowballing, said Kati Palethorpe, from My Sea to Sky who organized the rally. She fully supports the Sea to Sky Gondola, but said its opening was the prefect place to get the message out that many of Squamish residents don’t want a LNG plant in Howe Sound.


2014 May 13

Passamaquoddy Bay

Senators to Obama: Exercise restraint on LNG exports — Oil & Gas Journal

A bipartisan group of 22 US senators, led by Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Foreign Relations Committee member Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), urged US President Barack Obama to consider possible impacts on American manufacturing and families that rely on natural gas for heat when looking to approve new LNG export facilities.

In addition to Stabenow and Markey, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Thomas R. Harkin (D-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick J. Leahey (D-Vt.), Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.) signed the letter. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: When Save Passamaquoddy Bay sought Sen. Susan Collins' and then-Sen. Olympia Snowe's support in opposing LNG import terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay in our early effort against Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG, Sen. Collins and Sen. Snowe jointly stated that LNG import terminals are state business, not something that US senators from Maine should become involved with. Then, they both supported LNG import terminal projects in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Sen. Collins even issued her false opinion that LNG tankers have an irrevocable right of innocent passage* through Canadian waters to proposed terminals on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay. She lobbied that opinion to Canadian legislators — even though the US has no such right by treaty or otherwise.

Sen. Collins is still not very concerned about the possible impacts of Downeast LNG on families around Passamaquoddy Bay.

* The legal concept of innocent passage, both under customary maritime law and under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), provides for determining when conditions are non-innocent. Claiming existence of an "irrevocable" right of innocent passage is pure fabrication. But, even if irrevocable innocent passage under UNCLOS were to exist, the US could not claim that right since the US has repeatedly rejected joining the UNCLOS treaty.


Maine Voices: PUC must proceed cautiously when investing in pipeline infrastructure [Op-ed] — Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME

We cannot afford to circumvent an open and measurable process for the sake of expedience.

The price of natural gas in New England is substantially higher than what consumers in other parts of the country pay. In large part, that’s because pipelines in southern New England are full. There’s no room in the lines for any more gas. That’s not the case here: Maine has plenty of pipeline capacity.

The Maine Energy Cost Reduction Act, part of the omnibus energy law, allows the state of Maine – specifically the Public Utilities Commission – to enter into contracts to purchase a total of 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, not to exceed $75 million annually. (To put this in perspective, Maine now uses 150 million cubic feet per day.) The cost of these contracts will be borne by Maine’s electric ratepayers.

Initiatives proposed by the six New England governors to invest in more pipeline infrastructure would allow Maine’s electric ratepayers to help address what is clearly a regional problem while sharing the risks with ratepayers in other states. That sounds like a better deal than potentially saddling only Maine’s ratepayers with future costs that will yield many more benefits for our neighbors in Massachusetts and Connecticut than for us.

Already, three large utility companies based in southern New England have proposed a plan “that would enable the delivery of adequate gas supplies” to fuel the region’s electric power plants.

At least two major energy companies – experienced players in the natural gas industry – are proposing pipeline expansions in New England. Following signals from private-sector decision-makers and observing regional market participants would make sense and, perhaps, could further diminish the risk to Maine ratepayers. The rigor of private-sector investment may help shape decisions by public officials, especially since some will no longer be around as Maine ratepayers struggle to pay for these decisions. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: This is a curious opinion from once-head of Maine Department of Economic & Community Development under Gov. John Baldacci — the same governor and economic development officer that pressed to expedite LNG import terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay while ignoring LNG's safety, economic, cultural, and environmental impacts.


2014 May 12

New Brunswick

One more time: New York and Vermont run away from natural gas while embracing it [Blog] (May 2) — The Barrel, Platts

[D]ata from Bentek, a unit of Platts, shows that the Canaport LNG facility in New Brunswick, which ships natural gas into New England, has seen its LNG imports plunge to 106,000 Mcf/d this year from 215,000 Mcf/d last year. And the facility opened just about the time the Marcellus was starting to boom, so it’s never come close to its capacity of 1.2 Bcf/d.

Even more startling is the fact that in the last 30 days the Niagara border point between Canada and New York, near Niagara Falls, has transported exactly zero natural gas. But that’s not because of a mechanical problem; the Marcellus has led that once-significant delivery point to trend toward zero for several years. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Canaport LNG is operating at a mere 8.8% of capacity (106,000 Mcf/d ÷ 1.2 Bcf/d; where Mcf/d = thousand cubic feet per day, MM = million, B = billion). The sky above Downeast LNG is collapsing around Dean Girdis's ears.

Passamaquoddy Bay

US Chamber of Commerce Can't Handle the Truth

Despite SPB having notified the US Chamber's ‘Project No Project’ website multiple times over several years that Quoddy Bay LNG and Calais LNG were tossed out of permitting by FERC, the US Chamber blatantly refuses to correct the information it provides to the public.

Quoddy Bay LNG, Maine (as of May 12) — Project No Project, US Chamber of Commerce

STATUS: Suspended

Webmaster's comment:Quoddy Bay LNG is not ‘suspended.’ Although FERC did suspend Quoddy Bay LNG on 2008 Apr 25, the federal agency subsequently dismissed Quoddy Bay LNG from permitting 2008 Oct 17. Quoddy Bay LNG is dead.

Calais LNG, Maine (as of May 12) — Project No Project, US Chamber of Commerce

STATUS: In progress with opposition

Webmaster's comment: Calais LNG is not ‘in progress’; FERC dismissed Calais LNG from permitting on 2012 April 4. Calais LNG is dead.


Aguirre offshore gasport project gets LOR from U.S. Coast Guard — LNG World News

Excelerate Energy recently received the Letter of Recommendation (LOR) from the United States Coast Guard for its Aguirre Offshore GasPort Project (AOGP) located offshore Puerto Rico.

The company also received the Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Webmaster's comment: Despite the quoted applicant's tenor, a Coast Guard LOR is not necessarily a recommendation for a project; it is a recommendation either for or against a waterway's suitability for a project.


First of six LNG shipments delivered [sic; embarked] at Nikiski (May 8) — Alaska Journal of Commerce, AK

The liquified natural gas tanker Excel sits at the ConocoPhillips LNG facility near Kenai on May 2. It is the first of six planned LNG cargoes to be exported from the plant this year and the first since plant operations were suspended in late 2012 because of local natural gas needs [sic; because of lack of natural gas resources to export —SPB webmaster].

British Columbia

Northern LNG push is 'stealing' Gitxsan chief names, allege leaders (May 7) — Vancouver Observer, Vancouver, BC

Flying in the face of recent LNG press conferences showing smiling B.C. government officials inking deals with First Nations, is a north Central B.C. tribe, where many of its leaders are livid over what appears to be bizarre attempts to fast-track natural gas development.

Several hereditary chiefs with Gitxsan Nation -- whose territory in pristine wilderness backcountry is crucial to a big chunk of the Premier's $78-billion-dollar LNG plan -- are lodging the unusual and serious allegation that many house chiefs are having their names "stolen."

“The chiefs with the main houses are saying ‘no’ to the gas companies. So what do they do? They take the next runner up and say, ‘here’s some money, sign this, and let’s get on with it.’ And that’s illegal material, right there,” said Gilbert Johnson, a hereditary wing chief, on Monday.

“There have been five that are really not chiefs, and they are signing for the chiefs, they’re speaking as that chief, when in reality they are not," said Barnes.

LNG sponsorship of Squamish youth triathlon sparks boycott (May 11) — Vancouver 24 hrs, Vancouver, BC

A group of Squamish parents say they didn’t allow their children to run in a triathlon Sunday because one of the event’s sponsors is a liquefied natural gas company.

Katrin Seibel-Palethorpe of My Sea to Sky — a group opposed to the LNG industry in Howe Sound — said at least 10 parents would not let their children run in the Squamish Youth Triathlon while others wore T-shirts reading “NO LNG” during the race.


Opponents challenge Coast Guard LNG approval (May 9) — Jefferson Public Radio, OR

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will take up Columbia Riverkeeper's case against the U.S. Coast Guard's approval of a liquefied natural gas project on Oregon's north coast.

The conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper has been challenging that conclusion since the letter was released in 2009. The group argues that the Coast Guard should have waited for environmental assessments of the project to be completed – as required by the National Environmental Policy Act –- before issuing a letter of recommendation.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to complete an environmental impact statement on projects they approve that significantly affect the human environment. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is overseeing the review for the Oregon LNG project, but it's not complete yet.

Webmaster's comment: The US Coast Guard did not perform an environmental assessment for the Downeast LNG project, claiming that it changed its own rules, allowing the Coast Guard to pass the environmental responsibilities to FERC.

United States

Federal government fails to inspect thousands of higher risk oil wells, report shows (May 11) — The Patriot-News, Mechanicsburg, PA

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say.

Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.

The bureau has become a symbol of federal overreach to industry groups opposed to government regulations related to oil and gas drilling. Environmental groups say the Obama administration needs to do more to guard against environmental damage.

The report said the agency "cannot accurately and efficiently identify whether federal and Indian resources are properly protected or that federal and Indian resources are at risk of being extracted without agency approval." [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: Yet, the public is supposed to believe that these operations are safe, healthy, and in the public interest.


2014 May 8

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s LNG hopes rest on securing gas supply (May 6) — The Globe and Mail, Toronto, ON

Pieridae Energy Ltd. is pursuing an $8.5-billion (U.S.) plan to build a liquefied natural gas terminal at Goldboro, where Nova Scotia’s offshore gas production is brought ashore. Pieridae has lined up Germany’s E.ON AG, one of Europe’s largest utilities, as a customer for five-million tonnes of gas a year, representing half of the planned 10-million-tonne capacity.

Two other companies are considering floating LNG warehouses, including Canaport LNG, a partnership between Spain’s Repsol SA and New Brunswick’s Irving Oil Ltd. Canaport was built as an LNG import terminal, but with the glut in North American supply, is now seriously underutilized.

But [Pieridae president Alfred Sorensen] faces a major hurdle in Nova Scotia: there isn’t enough natural gas being produced in the Maritimes to support an LNG plant. And there are both pipeline and political challenges to the company’s plan to import gas from the United States.

Pieridae is hoping to access gas from the U.S.’s giant Marcellus shale gas field, which straddles Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York, and has massive untapped productive capacity.

Spectra Energy Corp. has a plan to ship up to 600-million cubic feet a day of gas to New England and Canada’s Maritimes, but it’s not clear how much of that gas would actually be available for Nova Scotia. … The project would include reversing the underutilized Maritime & Northeast Pipeline, which moves gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore to U.S. markets.

“If U.S. unconventional gas were to be sent to Canada for further export, that could be problematic if seen by opponents of expanded gas exports as getting around U.S. policies,” [New Brunswick-based energy consultant Michael Edwards] said. [Red & bold emphasis added.]

New England

Kinder Morgan selects engineer, readies equipment bids for Connecticut pipeline expansion (May 8) — Industrial Info [Paid subscription]

The project is designed to add 72 million cubic feet per day of gas to markets in New England. [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Webmaster's comment: What? But Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis says adding or expanding pipelines to provide domestic natural gas is nearly impossible, even though he is proposing a pipeline of his own — and even though the natural gas industry is already expanding pipelines in New England.


Dominion confronted with SEC complaint over investor risks in Cove Point LNG export plan (May 6) — Southern Maryland News Net, MD

“As the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay continues to face intensifying community backlash and regulatory delays, Dominion is failing to disclose the full risks to potential investors,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, Senior General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), who filed the complaint on behalf of the organization and an existing shareholder of Dominion. “To sound the alarm, a current Dominion shareholder and advocacy groups are alerting SEC officials with this complaint.”

“The fact is, Dominion still has significant regulatory hurdles it needs to clear before it can even start construction,” said Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney at the environmental law firm Earthjustice. “Dominion may hope it can rush the regulatory process. But rushing the process and overlooking important unanswered environmental and safety questions could create significant risk for the nearby community – and even for investors. An incomplete review of impacts could also invite successful legal challenges – challenges that Earthjustice is fully prepared to bring.” [Red & bold emphasis added.]

Dominion shareholders should slow rush to export liquefied natural gas: Mike Tidwell and Robert Shields [Opinion] (May 6) —, OH

Boom. That is the metaphor of choice for the growth of shale natural gas in the United States in the past few years: a natural gas "boom."….

But “boom” is also the sound of natural gas explosions. Americans have already heard that sound several times this spring. There was an explosion at a liquefied natural gas facility in Plymouth, Wash., injuring several workers. There were gas explosions in Wyoming, West Virginia and New Jersey. In Manhattan, one of the thousands of annual gas leaks turned into a massive blast, demolishing two buildings and killing eight people. A recent federal indictment was a reminder of the blast heard in San Bruno, Calif., in 2010, when a natural gas pipeline ruptured in a residential area, killing eight people, injuring dozens, demolishing 38 homes and seriously damaging nearly 70 more.

Have Dominion's executives considered the full range of risks that their proposed facility would present to the public, to the climate or to the corporation's own share price and long-term well-being? All signs point to no. [Red & bold emphasis added.]


UPDATE 1-Opal, Wyoming gas plant back in service after explosion -Williams (May 1) — Reuters

Williams Partners LP said on Thursday it brought back into service two of the five units at its Opal, Wyoming, gas processing plant that has been shut since one unit was damaged in an explosion and fire on April 23.

The April 23 incident at Opal was the second explosion and fire to shut a Williams gas facility in a month, leading some to worry that incidents like these will make it tougher for the industry to replenish stockpiles drained to critically low levels after a brutal winter.

The company said it is working with regulators to investigate the cause of release and source of ignition.

Separately, Williams said it continues to investigate the cause of the March 31 explosion and fire that shut its liquefied natural gas storage facility in Plymouth, Washington.

The company could not say when the Plymouth facility will return to service, noting the investigation "may continue for several months" while site materials are submitted for analysis. [Red, yellow & bold emphasis added.]

Washington & Oregon

Fixing damaged natural gas tank in Washington to take months, company says (May 7) — (AP) The Oregonian, Portland, OR

PLYMOUTH, Wash. — Williams Northwest Pipeline says crews are still cleaning up after the March 31 explosion and fire that damaged a liquefied natural gas storage facility at Plymouth, which is across the Columbia River from Umatilla Oregon.

The company's Michele Swaner told KONA crews are in the final stages of retrieving liquefied gas from a damaged storage tank.


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