AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Paul LePage said he will meet with natural gas companies over the next few months to see what the state can do to expand use of the fuel throughout Maine. He is convinced natural gas will be the “queen” of energy sources for at least the next decade.
“It was a major topic at our meeting,” LePage said. He met last week in Philadelphia with several other Republican governors to discuss issues and solutions.
The governor said Maine is too dependent on oil for heating both homes and businesses. He said natural gas is plentiful and is an efficient alternative to oil.
“In January, energy is going to be a big push,” LePage said, “I want to talk with the legislature about natural gas infrastructure. We are gearing up now to talk with all of the natural gas companies, we want them to come in and talk to us about what we can do to get them to invest in the state of Maine.”
He said in discussions with other GOP governors, experts and staff from the Republican Governors Association, it was clear to him that every state will have a different solution to its energy needs. He said Maine should also invest in more hydro power but said natural gas is a fuel that can immediately help deal with the high cost of energy in the state.
He said the construction time for a natural gas fueled electric plant is far less than building a new hydro dam, or other building other methods of generating electricity.
“The energy alternatives here in Maine are very different from those in other states,” LePage said, “we know the cheapest source right now is coal, but that will not work here because we would have to truck it in.”
He said his administration wants to explore ways to encourage expansion of natural gas in the state for multiple uses. Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, the co-chairman of the legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee agreed with LePage but said the legislature changed laws this past session to help that expansion.
“We made changes that would help the Kennebec Valley Gas [Co.] with their proposal for a pipeline from Richmond to Skowhegan,” he said. “And we made changes to help with the plant in Woodland that wanted to tie into the gas pipeline up there.”
Fitts said the major obstacle to expansion of natural gas in the state is the expense of the pipelines to distribute the gas. He said there has to be an “anchor” user of large amounts of gas to help pay for the major pipeline.
Last week, the town of Madison proposed a competing pipeline along the same route as the Kennebec Valley Gas Co. Both would connect to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline that transports gas from Nova Scotia to New England.
Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, the democrat lead on the committee, said he is “all ears” to any proposals the governor may make to encourage more development of gas pipelines. He agreed with Fitts that the legislature has already changed laws to accomplish that goal and believes it would consider further proposals.
“Natural gas may be the flavor of the month,” he said, “we will see if there is any substance to it.”
LePage said his administration is also looking at helping spur pipeline construction by converting the heating systems at some state facilities, including several of the buildings in the Augusta area.
LePage’s energy adviser, Ken Fletcher, told the budget streamlining task force last week that the administration is considering converting several state facilities from oil to natural gas. He said the Maine State Prison is one candidate for conversion where it takes about 390,000 gallons of oil to heat the facility.
He said natural gas, even if it is trucked to facility instead of delivered through a pipeline is cost effective for a large user like the prison.
“Ideally we would have all the natural gas pipes to where we want them,” he said. “But we can get there by going with trucked LNG.”
Natural gas is distributed to both companies and individual home owners in some parts of the state. Unitel serves the Portland area, Lewiston and Auburn and Kittery. Bangor Gas serves parts of Bangor, Brewer, Orono, Old Town and Veazie. Maine Natural Gas serves parts of Windham, Gorham, Bowdoin, Topsham and Brunswick.
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Dear Ms. Bose,
On 2010 December 17, Accession No. 20101217-5072, Calais LNG filed to the docket
admitting having lost its title, right, or interest (TRI) to the bulk of its project site on the
previous August 31st. The company also admitted having lost its financial backer, GS
Power Holdings, even earlier, on the previous July 21st.
It has been well over one year since Calais LNG became incapable of continuing its
permitting due to lack of financial capacity and loss of project site. In the interim, the
applicant has made no progress in reacquiring either of those losses. Plus, sometime
prior to 2011 July 13, Calais LNG shut down and vacated its offices.
On 2008 October 17, after Quoddy Bay LNG (PF06-11) had failed to provide technical
answers to FERCʼs questions for one year, FERC dismissed the project from permitting,
without prejudice. Calais LNG is in a similar situation; it is incapable of fulfilling FERC
Calais LNG has made no postings to the FERC docket since December, and that
December posting was an admission of its incapacity that had occurred several months
earlier. Meanwhile, the domestic natural gas supply has burgeoned to a decades-long
Calais LNG, having remained in a state of incapacity for well over one year, Save Passamaquoddy Bay asks that FERC dismiss Calais LNG from permitting, without
prejudice. Should Calais LNG find financing and a project site in the future, it would be
free to reapply as a new project.
Very truly, Robert Godfrey
Researcher & Webmaster
Save Passamaquoddy Bay
A 3-Nation Alliance
(US • Passamaquoddy • Canada)
PO Box 222 • Eastport, ME 04631
cc: FERC Calais LNG Service List
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Elizabeth Thompson, a researcher for Friends of Casco Bay, tests the pH levels of the mud in Mill Cove in South Portland, across the harbor from downtown Portland. Buy Photo
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — They’re called dead muds.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combined with unregulated nitrogen pollution are having a deadly effect on Maine’s shellfish, some researchers say.
Scientists are starting to measure the impact of increasingly acidic waters on coastal organisms, and what they’ve found is alarming. Formerly fertile shellfish flats are becoming uninhabitable wastelands of dreck.
The phenomenon is another threat to Maine’s shellfish industry, estimated to be worth about $60 million annually.
“They call them dead muds,” said Mark Green, an oyster grower and marine science professor at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. “The darker muds and sulfur-rich muds don’t have any clams, and those are the flats that have lower pH levels. Places where historically there have been great harvests that supported clammers for decades, you now see water quality changes that are reflected in the mud.” The more acidic the water, the lower the pH.
In these places, researchers aren’t finding dead or unhealthy shellfish. They’re finding nothing at all. It is a complete eradication.