"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) is not surprised that Downeast LNG (DeLNG) has decided to withdraw their proposed Robbinston project proposal from the Maine state Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) permitting process. “We’re not surprised, yet we’re very happy that the waste of the public’s time and resources on a project that was always doomed to failure may come to an end, and we can all get on to more realistic and appropriate economic and quality of life enhancing efforts,” said Linda Godfrey, Coordinator of Save Passamquoddy Bay.
The DeLNG developer failed to do his due diligence from day one -- Passamaquoddy Bay is not an appropriate place for LNG proposals. Their proposal violates the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) standards for LNG terminal siting. A whole range of SPB experts testified at the July 16-20 BEP public hearings that this clearly is not an appropriate place, and that irriversible damage could occur to our environment. DeLNG’s even attempted to fool the board and the public into granting them an extension to perform the due diligence they should have completed before they even filed their application has become public.
The State of Maine has absolute decision making power in this process -- Governor Baldacci designated the State Planning Office as the department responsible to coordinate the state permitting process, and Commissioner Martha Freeman appointed multiple state agencies to act as the committee. This group has been doing their work at the tax payer’s expense for this entire time. The Board of Environmental Protection was established as the state’s eyes, ears, and brains to look at DeLNG’s proposal as it relates to the environment. The process, requirements, expectations, rules, timeline, laws -- everything about this process has been known to DeLNG. DeLNG has had multiple legal teams, PR personnel, advisors -- all who should have known that they had to follow a process.
DELNG’s case was flawed, and that showed up clearly at the July public hearings. It has led them to fear failure. Nothing more should be read into their decision to withdraw their proposal. They are simply trying to go through another door by saying they’ll reapply. Well, July 16-20 was the time for them to have their data ready, their studies completed, their experts prepared, and their case made. Simply put, they were not ready, and no amount of Ted O’Meara’ s public relations, or developer Girdis’s claims that they are “looking forward to presenting a more complete case” holds water. The public is smarter than that.
If one reads the findings of the BEP’s denial of DeLNG’s latest request to have an extension, to remove SPB’s public witnesses, to delay the BEP‘s work, one can see the real story, not the public relations fluff. All of the facts are on our website <www.savepassamaquoddybay.org> and open for the public to see.
A significant reality -- and the missing fact from The Girdis/O’Meara news release -- is that within the last week Canada has said again absolutely “No” to LNG tankers transiting through Head Harbour Passage. Head Harbour is the one and only route available for large ships into Passamaquoddy Bay. If the developers can’t get in the door, they don’t get in -- period. Canada is a sovereign nation speaking directly to the United State on this matter. The developer mocks Canada’s position, and defies Canada’s right to decide on this issue, at DeLNG’s peril.
In this David and Goliath story, Goliath today announced that he has suffered a deadly blow. This action to withdraw proves it. There is only one possible choice left, and that is for Goliath to find another location for his proposal. The technology he has proposed is old technology, at best. The state of the art is offshore, non-intrusive operations. That’s where DeLNG and its developer peers who are looking at Split Rock and Devil’s Head should go -- offshore.
There are complicated legal issues involved in what happens next. Save Passamaquoddy Bay is pursuing all ways that will stop the costs to private citizens and Maine taxpayers, and end these projects in Passamaquoddy Bay. We are bolstered in our resolve, and clear about our commitment to keep Passamaquoddy Bay free of this proposed industrialization.