Monday, May 4, 2009

Province softening stance on LNG tankers in Passamaquoddy Bay

Premier Shawn Graham assures the people of Charlotte County of his support in their opposition to LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay. (Art MacKay Photo 2005)

I maintain that the position of the Government of New Brunswick has never been firm and that they have been walking a middle of the road public position with their interest in big business and political power groups taking precedence over their obligation to their constituents.

Unless they have been hiding under a rock these last few years, the Graham Government should be well aware of the position of the people of coastal Charlotte County and the reasons for their opposition to the development of ANY heavy industry in Passamaquoddy Bay, West Isles and Head Harbour Passage. If they are not, they are ignorant of the true enovironmental AND economic importance of this area; not to mention the importance of the natural resources that will become vital as we continue to experience global collpase of the oil industry and increased costs of food distribution.

With the proposed developments in tidal power in Head Harbour Passage the future looks bleak for this national treasure and the near billion dollar economy that this unique ecosystem supports.


Last Updated: Monday, May 4, 2009 | 6:52 AM AT Comments1Recommend2

The New Brunswick government has toned down its rhetoric when it comes to opposing the construction of liquefied natural gas terminals on the U.S. side of Passamaquoddy Bay.

Energy Minister Jack Keir said the province is not opposed to the terminals and will let the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process unfold.

The province, he said, has always backed the regulatory process that will decide the fate of any planned LNG terminals in Maine.

"If the federal government, both federal governments, suggest that it is a safe and reliable terminal then everybody is in agreement on that. But the process has to take place," he said.

The federal government has strongly opposed LNG tankers in Passamaquoddy Bay and Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador in Washington, delivered a diplomatic note in February 2007 to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, citing safety and environmental concerns.

The letter said Canada, to protect the environment, will not permit tankers to sail through the narrow passage between New Brunswick's Deer and Campobello islands.

The government of Premier Shawn Graham said it supported the federal government's position.

"We are opposed to tanker traffic through the Passamaquoddy Bay. And our intervener status will ensure that those concerns are addressed appropriately," Graham said at the time.

The province has enlisted a Washington law firm to intervene in the U.S. regulatory process on behalf of the people of New Brunswick.

Group concerned about tone change

Jessie Davis, who heads Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada, a group opposed to the development of LNG terminals on the bay, said she is surprised at the way Keir describes the province's position.

She said a delegation from her group went to Fredericton to meet with provincial officials two weeks ago.

"They were extremely clear at that time. They strongly oppose the terminals," she said.

Davis said her group has been assured the lawyers working on behalf of the province are still intervening against the terminals.

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