Save Passamaquoddy Bay

Save Passamaquoddy Bay
3-Nation Alliance

Alliance to Protect the Quoddy Region
from LNG Development

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


News Release

2012 March 20



Robert Godfrey
Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-nation alliance
(US, Passamaquoddy, and Canada)
PO Box 222
Eastport, ME 04631
(207)853-2922 (Old Sow Publishing)

FERC Verbally Abuses Public

On 2011 December 20, Save Passamaquoddy Bay emailed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) webmaster regarding insulting wording on the FERC website (see below). To-date, four months later, no one at FERC has acknowledged receipt of the email, and the offensive wording remains.

FERC's website page on Public Concerns regarding LNG terminal siting ( states:

Most the (sic) controversy deals with:

  • Dangers of LNG vapor clouds;
  • Gas quality specifications of LNG;
  • Question over who has primary jurisdiction over LNG in California, the State or FERC?;
  • Btu heat content issues;
    Mexican nationalization issues;
  • If the Hackberry policy should apply to capacity expansions, or even initial capacity, of existing LNG terminals; and
  • Many Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) concerns. [Emphasis added by SPB.]

Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher and webmaster Robert Godfrey said of the FERC statement, "'NIMBY' is used to insult and marginalize opponents of projects, regardless of project appropriateness. FERC's use of 'NIMBY' in referring to public concerns is patently offensive. FERC forgets that it is working for the public, not the applicants, and owes the public a correction and an apology."

Godfrey went on to say, "Conspicuously absent from FERC's list of public concerns is FERC's and LNG applicant's use of false information. For instance, FERC and applicants claim that unconfined LNG vapor cannot explode, even though the 2004 Sandia (Sandia National Laboratories) Report to the Department of Energy cites research demonstrating such events can occur (U.S. Coastguard China Lake Tests – 1978 [Parnarouskis et al. 1980] [Lind and Witson 1977]).

"FERC did not mention," he continued, "misleading or incomplete information issued by FERC and applicants, such as stating that:

"1) LNG vapors can only combust when in a vapor-to-air mixture of 5–15%, implying that it is difficult to ignite or explode — even though LNG vapor is significantly more flammable than gasoline vapor. Gasoline vapor is flammable when the vapor-to-air mixture is 1.5–7.6% (a 6.1% flammability range). LNG vapor has a 10% flammability range — nearly 4% more flammable than gasoline;

"2) LNG does not burn or explode — when exactly the same is true of gasoline, and everyone recognizes the hazardous nature of gasoline.

"FERC also did not list as a public concern the fact that LNG terminal applicants inappropriately stamp 'CEII' (Critical Energy Infrastructure Information) or other equally restrictive classification on non-qualifying documents filed with FERC. Doing so keeps those documents from reaching public scrutiny," he said. "However, inappropriately restricting documents as non-public results in no punitive consequences to the applicant, effectively encouraging that abuse. Such treatment by FERC violates the public trust.

"Even the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) terminal siting best safe practices indicate some applicants' sitings are inappropriate, yet 'NIMBY' is applied to public opposition in agreement with SIGTTO best practices. SIGTTO represents virtually the entire world LNG industry. Thus, FERC also marginalizes and insults the industry's own best advice regarding safe terminal siting," he said.

"FERC should represent the facts in a fair and evenhanded manner, and should treat all parties with equal respect. FERC should cease categorizing public concerns as 'NIMBY,' and FERC staff owe the public an apology," Godfrey concluded.

The original email sent to FERC on 2011 December 20:

From: Robert Godfrey <>
Date: 2011 December 20 3:02:46 PM EST
Cc: Daniel McAdam <>, Patrick Woodcock <>, Gail Kelly <>, Carol Woodcock <>, Marcia Gartley <>, Monica Castillanos <>, Rosemary Winslow <>
Subject: FERC's use of "NIMBY"

Dear FERC webmaster,

I noticed on FERC's webpage regarding Public Concerns about LNG...
...the use of "Many Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) concerns."

I point out that NIMBY is a pejorative term used without substantiation in order to insult and marginalize opponents to projects — even when those projects are inadvisable.

NIMBY's use on the FERC website supports the popular belief that FERC is in big energy's pocket. The term's use is inappropriate. Please remove it.

Thank you.

Robert Godfrey
researcher & webmaster
Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance
(US • Passamaquoddy • Canada)
PO Box 222
Eastport, ME 04631
(207)853-2922 (my office at Old Sow Publishing)

CC: Daniel McAdam, DOE Office of Inspector General
        Sen. Olympia Snowe
        Sen. Susan Collins
        Rep. Mike Michaud

Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) is an alliance of citizens from the U.S., the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Canada, who oppose siting LNG industrial facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay, and who advocate adherence to world-recognized LNG terminal siting best safe practices as published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO). SPB advocates creative-economy, tradition-based, and tourism-based economic development for the international Passamaquoddy Bay area.



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