Congratulations to PM Harper and MP Thompson... We all needed this reiteration of their stand to counter the aggressive pronouncements by American politicians.
Good timing guys!!!
Published Tuesday September 22nd, 2009
Energy PM told U.S. officials tankers won't be allowed to get to Maine facility, MP says
ST. STEPHEN - Canada will not allow liquefied natural gas tankers through Head Harbour Passage, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said Monday.
The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has applications before it from two companies to build LNG terminals on the American side of the Bay, at Robbinston and Calais.
The proponents claim the right of innocent passage to get LNG tankers to those sites through Head Harbour Passage, which is Canadian water between Campobello and Deer islands. Canada claims the right to prevent the vessels from using the passage.
The proponents, and many Maine community leaders, say the projects will provide much needed work in Washington County, Maine. The Canadian government and most leaders on the Canadian side of the bay say the threat to fisheries, aquaculture and tourism outweigh the potential benefits.
American leaders, including Maine Governor John Baldacci and Collins, argue that Canadian governments should place their concerns with the FERC and abide by the outcome.
Canadian leaders, Thompson prominent among them, say that taking part in an American regulatory process would compromise Canadian sovereignty.
"Nothing has changed in the position that we've taken in the past," Thompson said, although he detects a shift in American thinking on the LNG issue.
"I think it's changed in the story line that some of the senators are using," he said. "When they were taking a serious look at some of the sites along the eastern coast of the Unites States of America, none of them stood up and supported the idea of putting them into places along the Maine coast."
American authorities rejected LNG terminals on the Maine coast until they reached Passamaquoddy Bay, washing the shores of Washington and Charlotte counties.
"I didn't hear a peep out of the congressional delegation then," Thompson said.
"We're taking the same position that they have in locations that they consider not safe, or ones that the American people have determined not safe, and where the public doesn't support construction of a terminal," he said.
Canada would not allow an LNG terminal on Deer Island or Campobello Island, on the Canadian side of Passamaquoddy Bay, he said. Canada has no right to stop commercial traffic through Head Harbour Passage, Collins wrote in a recent newspaper column. Collins urged David Jacobson, president Barack Obama's nominee as ambassador to Canada, to press the issue.
At the 50th annual Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group legislators' conference in Charlevoix, Que., the delegates supported her resolution urging each country to participate in good faith in each other's regulatory reviews of seaport facilities.
"The State of Maine should be able to count on Canada's good faith participation in the assessment of any port development proposals that could help meet New England's energy needs and create jobs in Washington County," she wrote.
"In turn, our Canadian neighbors should be able to count on America's good faith participation regarding Canadian projects."
Thompson and Harper, do not agree.
"We believe that it's not a safe location for an LNG terminal, whether it be on the Canadian side or the American side," Thompson said. "We consider Passamaquoddy/Head Harbour Passage internal Canadian waters, and we've taken the position that we've taken for the last number of years. So that has not changed."
See the original article and comments at: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/799102