"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
Save Passamaquoddy Bay
Thursday, 2006 June 22
Gary Guisinger, Media Coordinator (207)853-0696
Linda Godfrey, 3-Nation Alliance Coordinator (207)853-4123
Robert Godfrey, email@example.com
For Immediate Release
Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance community coordinators meet in Augusta today with members of the state's LNG Technical Working Group. Noting that their objective is to protect the shared waters of Maine and New Brunswick, specifically Passamaquoddy Bay, the group released the contents of the Report on Potential Economic and Fiscal Impacts of LNG Terminals on the Whole Passamaquoddy Bay, popularly called "The Whole Bay Study".
The 3-Nation Alliance retained the research group Yellow Wood Associates of St. Albans, Vermont to undertake the six month study. This is the same company that authored a similar study for Harpswell, Maine which was credited, along with local grassroots opposition, with the defeat of a proposed LNG terminal operation in the southern Maine city.
The Alliance raised US$55,000 from over 700 individual contributions to commission the study, which will be available in its entirety on the group's website <www.savepassamaquoddy.org> and in those affected communities with libraries.
"The developers who are proposing these LNG operations in Passamaquoddy have not presented the public with a full range of information," said Linda Godfrey, coordinator of the 3-Nation Alliance. No research on the economic implications to the whole state, to Washington County or to the communities circling the bay has been conducted by them. There are two sides of a ledger sheet, and the towns as well as the whole state have not had the kind of information this report will provide. In other parts of the world, community citizens are actually bringing legal suits against their governmental officials because decisions were made hastily, without taking actual effects into account."
"This is a very deep issue, one that could change life as we know it around Passamaquoddy Bay. It is not something to take lightly, and this is why we felt a report of this magnitude is needed. All of us in the Alliance would much rather that our investment was going to support art centers, food pantries, summer camp programs for area children, research on sustainable alternative energy, but unless we learn the realities of the LNG issue, life here could change forever. As Jaques Cousteau said, "You protect the things you love," and LNG threatens not only our environment, it threatens our children in their schools, people in their homes, existing economies, water access, a variety of ocean species, property, and taxes. We simply have to have this information," Godfrey concluded.
Starting the meeting by defining community, communities of concern, choke points, doglegged transit, and citizen involvement, the 3-Nation Alliance quickly moved into a series of summaries related to the start-up and status of the proposed LNG operations from the perspective of community members at Pleasant Point, Perry, Robbinston, Eastport and from the Canadian perspective. Each summary focused on developer actions, citizen involvement, governmental functions, and community responses in the four areas of greatest interest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency overseeing the LNG permitting process. The summaries also focused on the areas where the State of Maine has veto power over an LNG operation - submerged lands, air and water quality, coastal zone management, environmental justice, religious and civil rights, and existing economies.
Shanna Ratner, President of Yellow Wood Associates that produced the report was on hand to discuss results. Ratner honed in on six specific questions of most interest to local residentsquestions:
The answers to these questions are presented in summary and in their entirety in the report which was made available to the public via the group's website at 1:00 p.m. ET as the meeting began.
For a list of state staff attending the meeting, contact Uldis Vanags, State Planning Office and coordinator of the LNG Technical Working Group at (207)287-5763 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The 3-Nation Alliance noted that Thursday's meeting was exactly 2 years to the date from the day in 2004 that Governor John Baldacci sent a taxpayer supported plane load of state employees to Pleasant Point to announce to the tribal community that their homeland had been targeted by developers for a proposed LNG terminal. The tribal members believed on June 22, 2004 that they would be meeting with tribal leaders, to learn about what had only been rumors of the proposed development to that point, and were surprised to see state of Maine representatives filling the Tribal Courtroom. This visit by state officials is seen as the start of the two-year process that has created such controversy in these small bayside communities.
The Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance members referred to several facts, establishing that additional LNG terminals are not needed in the United States, and that corporate greed and lack of governmental planning and leadership are what is driving what has been called a national "Gold Rush" to gain approval for LNG operations.
Quoting from a February, 2005 LNG Community Awareness Workshop held in Washington, D.C., Alliance members noted that the first presentation of that workshop was given by Hal Chappelle of the National Petroleum Council. Chappelle said, "NPC's study estimated that 7 to 9 LNG import terminals are needed in the US, Canada and Mexico." Chappelle spoke at 8:45 a.m. and was followed at 9:00 a.m. by Robert Cupina, Deputy Director for Energy Projects for FERC. Cupina announced that as of that date FERC had approved 7 LNG facilities for construction, and that 4 additional projects were in the pre-filing stage and 8 more applications had been received. FERC announced on June 15, 2006, three additional terminal projects and expansions of two other LNG import facilities. "Here we are in June, 2006 with 98 projects proposed -- a clear indication that it is the oil and gas industry that is driving this process, and a willing governmental agency assisting them. It is not needed, not wanted, defies common sense, and is not good energy policy," coordinator Godfrey stated. "This whole process should have been over by 9:15 a.m. on February 2, 2005, and all of the community upheaval, resource expenditure, and use of time could have been spent actually solving the nation's critical energy problems instead of spending the billions of tax dollars and personal funds to assist the likes of Halliburton, Bechtel, British Petroleum, Shell, Exxon, and others as they race to belly up to the "profits troughs" at the expense of average citizens," Linda Godfrey said.
"A Market Wire <www.marketwire.com> news release from the LNG industry announced on Wednesday that U.S. LNG imports have fallen by more than 50% since July 2004," stated Robert Godfrey, Save Passamaquoddy Bay's chief researcher and webmaster. "The news release also stated that during the same time period, U.S. LNG import capacity has expanded to 400% more than is needed. It's time to stop this expensive, socially destructive nonsense," said Godfrey. "LNG is a greedy industry, with a sympathetic and pandering federal agency out of control. It needs a Lou Dobbs or a 60 Minutes to expose it," Godfrey concluded.
Referring again to The Whole Bay Study, due to...
...Save Passamaquoddy Bay alliance members called upon Governor John Baldacci; and federal legislators Snowe, Collins, and Michaud to declare that the communities of Passamaquoddy Bay do not want this type of development in the bay. Further, as each of these governmental leader's -- as well as FERC Commissioner Brownell -- has said, if a community doesn't want these operations, they don't have to accept them. The Passamaquoddy Bay community doesn't want them. It's time for the LNG developers to leave.
A media conference will be held on Friday, June 23rd in Eastport, Maine to release the results of the six month study. The study’s lead investigator and President of Yellow Wood Associates, Shanna Ratner, will be present to speak about the process and results.
The media conference will be held at 10:00 ET at Fishermen’s Wharf, next to the large Fisherman Statue by the parking lot in downtown Eastport.
Representatives of the 3-Nation Alliance will also be present to update the public and release data on areas of particular concern.