"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2007 June 8
SPB Exposes LNG Ships' Thermal Hazard Zones
It took three months and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-nation alliance (SPB) successfully obtained navigation charts of Passamaquoddy Bay showing the thermal hazard zones that would accompany LNG ships into the bay, should any of the proposed LNG terminals be permitted. The documents had been submitted by Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG to the US Coast Guard (USCG) for Coast Guard use in determining the suitability of the waterway for LNG ship traffic.
SPB submitted a FOIA request to the Coast Guard for release of the documents on February 7. USCG lawyers finally approved release of the documents three months later. SPB copied the documents on June 4, and has made them available on their website.
The documents consist of nautical charts of the Passamaquoddy Bay area, with transparent color overlays depicting three "Zones of Concern" that equate to Thermal Hazard Zones. Thermal Hazard Zones are areas adjacent to LNG ships' routes in which people, property, and environment could be destroyed or damaged in the event of an LNG release from a ship. Hazards include fire, burns, explosion, cryogenic freezing, and asphyxiation.
Three Zones of Concern -- Thermal Hazard Zones
Zone 1 extends to 500 meters (1,640 feet; under a third of a mile) from the ship. Within that zone -- all within the water surrounding the transiting ship -- an LNG pool fire would essentially destroy everyone and everything. LNG vessel crew members, crews of vessels attending to the ship's passage, and emergency response personnel who might be within the zone would be at risk of losing life.
Zone 2 is the area between 500 meters to 1,600 meters (virtually 1 mile) from the ship, and includes all of downtown Eastport, as well as large areas of residences, businesses, government agencies, and services. The zone would include at least some of those same assets at Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation, Campobello Island, and Perry. An LNG pool fire at the ship would likely result in 2nd-degree burns to unprotected skin within 30 seconds. Fire, cryogenic freezing, explosion, and asphyxiation are also hazards within that zone.
Zone 3 extends from 1,600 meters to 3,500 meters (2.17 miles) from the ship. In the event of a catastrophic LNG release, and if there were no initial ignition of the LNG vapors, vapors could drift within this zone, presenting burn, fire, explosion, and asphyxiation hazards.
The three zones encompass virtually all of Eastport; all of Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation; and large portions of Campobello Island, Deer Island, Perry, Robbinston, and all of downtown and a major portion of the residential area of St. Andrews.
"It's essential that the public and local governments have this information available to them, since they're the ones the LNG developers are putting at risk," stated Robert Godfrey, webmaster for SPB.
The documents can be downloaded from <www.savepassamaquoddybay.org/announcements.html>.