Friday, October 26, 2012

LNG: Ooops! Downeast LNG stumbles again.

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE Room 1A

Washington, DC 20426

eFiled on 2012 October 19

Re: Downeast LNG, Docket Nos. CP07-52-000, CP07-53-000, and CP07-53-001 Inappropriate Boilerplate Submission to FERC

Dear Ms. Bose,

On 2012 October 12 Downeast LNG filed responses to FERCʼs September 11 & 13 Information Requests (Accession Nos. 20120911-3001 and 20120913-3024). Included in those requests were inquiries into the proposed 20-foot-tall vapor fence specifications, and into how Downeast LNG would maintain those vapor fences.

In Accession No. 20121012-5103(27695846), in the very first paragraph, under 1.0 Purpose/Applicability, Downeast LNG claims it would install its vapor fence to ensure that natural gas concentrations of a certain level are contained within the EcoEléctrica facility.

Downeast LNG has obviously and carelessly pasted boilerplate text from a completely unrelated LNG project into its response to FERC. The EcoEléctrica LNG terminal near Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, is very different from the proposed Downeast LNG terminal in Robbinston, Maine. The settings and safety issues are different.

It is an offense to FERC, to the LNG industry, and to public safety that Downeast LNG has confused its

own application with the conditions at the Puerto Rico EcoEléctrica LNG terminal.

Save Passamaquoddy Bay suggests that Downeast LNG has demonstrated a lack of professional competence in its application, and that the applications be denied.

Save Passamaquoddy Bay

A 3-Nation Alliance

(US • Passamaquoddy • Canada)

PO Box 222 • Eastport, ME 04631


Robert Godfrey

Researcher & Webmaster

LNG: Ooops! Downeast LNG stumbles again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OPINION: Removing dams .. beware the toxic legacy beneath the beauty.

Mill pondTens of thousands of old dams in the eastern U.S. no longer power machinery, but they still hold the toxic legacy of the agricultural and industrial expansion of non-indigenous settlers. A team of Earth scientists has found that, as the decrepit dams are removed, they release stores of lead, phosphorus, copper and other chemicals into the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways.

Even small streams could be turned into a source of water power for grist, flour, saw, and other types of mills. Sediment samples from mill ponds behind dams in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, showed the march of development across the area. During the 18th century, iron ore mining and paper mills began to deforest the region. The runoff left sand deposits in the ponds with traces of iron slag and charcoal.  From: Old dams hold a toxic legacy, Analysis by Tim Wall , Fri Oct 19, 2012 07:54 AM ET

The current talk about removing the Mactaquac dam begs the question … What does lurk beneath the surface and what energy losses will we incure? Perhaps its time to rethink conventional environmental management? Art MacKay

OPINION: Removing dams .. beware the toxic legacy beneath the beauty.

Monday, October 22, 2012

EXPLORE: History in Stone at Campobello

Slideshow. Click to advance or wait.

Three of these images are of a large boulder on the shore near Campobello’s Mulholland Point Light. The boulder appears to be sedimentary rock, similar in appearance to the rock found in the Red Beach area. Note in the close-up images of the boulder red arrows pointing to a series of holes and metallic objects. The objects are “feathers and wedges.”

Feathers and wedges were used (and still are today) to split stone into smaller pieces. First, using a hammer and hand-held drill, a series of holes were bored into this boulder along a line of desired split. Tight-fitting metal feathers were inserted on either side of each hole. Metal wedges were then inserted between the feathers and, in sequence, the wedges were repeatedly tapped along the line of feathers and wedges until a piece of the boulder broke off along a line of desired split.

It appears that in this last instance the hoped-for split did not take place, as the feathers and wedges remain in the rock. Interestingly, other splits were successful. Other pieces of stone split from this boulder were used in the stone foundation of Mulholland Point Light.

Harold Bailey

EXPLORE: History in Stone at Campobello

Saturday, October 20, 2012

LNG: Downeast LNG persists in its application for a Passamaquoddy Bay Terminal - Time for FERC to reject the last outstanding application.

From tourism to whales to cotton-tail rabbits Downeast LNG doesn’t understand Passamaquoddy Bay. It’s now long past the time for FERC to reject the last outstanding application to place an import LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay, a process that, if it weren’t so serious, would be a comedy about how the dead keep walking.

Just how crazy this process has been is well documented at Below is the essence of our concerns relating to marine life in the area taken from an analysis of the Environmental Impact Statement provided to FERC by DeLNG. The full commentary can be read at: or below.

The primary elements of the “Quoddy Ecosystem” showing the proposed traffic route from the Fundy shipping lane to St. Croix Estuary and indicating the various proposals for LNG terminal development that have been considered or have made application to FERC. An alternate tanker route has been proposed through the Grand Manan Channel.

The Quoddy Region is well-known as a distinct ecosystem that encompasses St. Croix Estuary, Passamaquoddy Bay, Western Passage, Cobscook Bay, Head harbour Passage, West Isles, Grand Manan Channel, Owen Basin, and offshore areas reaching to Point Lepreau and Grand Manan (Buzeta,, 2003) as shown in Figure 1. As can be seen from this aerial view, most of the ecosystem lies within Canada; although the Passamaquoddy Bay shore and Cobscook Bay form an integral and important part of this system. The shipping lanes into and out of Saint John Port are shown in the background. This clearly illustrates the considerable difference between a well-established, straight-in, commercial service route and the convoluted route into the proposed terminal at Robbinston, Maine.

While I have a number of comments and criticisms to make about the DeLNG EIS as it relates to marine mammals and whales in particular, I was pleased to see that the EIS takes note of and recognizes the threat to listed endangered species and moreover recognizes the tight confines that exist in the Head Harbour to Passamaquoddy Bay portion of their proposed tanker route. The EIS correctly identified the conflicts that will arise. However, it is not sufficient to simply state that their operation is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of marine mammals. The proximity to endangered species that are protected under law in both Canada and the United States makes this a questionable venture. Breach of law becomes inevitable under these circumstances and, if, as we are all fond of saying, we believe in the rule of law, it makes no sense to test the obvious with an inappropriate sighting of a facility that could easily be placed elsewhere and out of harms way.

Like you, I am aware of the splendid efforts that are being made to avoid contact with right whales that
cluster around the shipping lanes into Boston and the Bay of Fundy. But, Head Harbour Passage is quite different. This is a narrow, pipe-like, passage that is full of whales, seals, fish, plankton and people and into which we will be inserting a huge ship the size ofthe QE2. Trust me, the passage at Green Island Shoal off Casco Island will barely accommodate an LNG tanker at low slack water. One minor little twist or tum in these turbulent waters and we will all be faced with an interesting problem.

During the Pittston oil refinery hearings, it was, in fact, the whales that led governments in the United States to tum down that proposal together, of course, with Canada’s scientific risk analysis on Head Harbour Passage and their firm position that still exists today. We are not being stubborn. We know what a special gift this place is and we know what we stand to lose!

No comments: Links to this post

POLLUTION: It's been 8 years and St. Stephen is still polluting the St. Croix River -Time for action has passed.

Some of the human waste that has been deposited into the St. Croix River daily from the Town of St. Stephen

The St. Croix Estuary Project, and Atlantic Coastal Action Program, organization first identified dangerous levels of pollution in 2004 and each succeeding year tracked the improvements at a set of established sites from St. Stephen to St. Andrews. I recent article in the St. Croix Courier outlined the latest results and, sad to say, there has been little or no progress in cleaning up these dangerous and illegal sites of pollution.

It’s long past time for St. Stephen to get its act together. And where are the regulators … both Provincial and Federal. This is a Canadian Heritage River and shared with the United States … although that seems to be of little significance.

Here is a link to all of the relevant reports from 2004 to 2008. Additional years are available and will be uploaded soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

MYSTERY: And the Mystery Vine on Tim Foulkes' Mountain is ...

Sean Blaney wrote:

Hello Tim and Rick,

This is an exceptionally robust colony of Fallopia cilinodis (=Polygonum cilinode), Fringed Bindweed. The shape of the basal lobes of the leaves (truncate, or sort of “squared off”) is a useful distinction in comparison to Fallopia scandens (=Polygonum scandens). The latter species is relatively uncommon in NB, being found only in quite rich floodplain soils and very rarely along the margins of saltmarshes on the Northumberland shore. The bright red stems (which are not always present, especially when the plant is in low light) are useful in distinguishing the plant from non-flowering Hedge Bindweed (Calystegia sepium), which is remarkably similar in general growth form and leaf shape. A close examination of the nodes, where the leaves join the stem, would reveal a fringe of hairs encircling the stipular sheath (called an ocrea in this family). That is also distinctive for the species from all other similar plants, and it is what gives the species its common and scientific names. Fringed Bindweed is a generally fairly common to common species throughout the province and is native to our region. It occurs in a variety of habitats but does well in clearcuts, forest openings and floodplains.


Sean Blaney

Sean Blaney, Botanist & Assistant Director

Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre

PO Box 6416, Sackville, NB. E4L 1G6. 

Photo Credit: Tim Foulkes

MYSTERY: And the Mystery Vine on Tim Foulkes' Mountain is ...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MYSTERY: Strange Vine on Tim Foulkes' Mountain - Can you identify it?

Here is something new to be seen in the wilderness on Tim Foulkes’ Mountain (aka Simpson Hill.) located just starting up Yellow Jacket trail from branch to Cedars trail.

The first photo is an overall view of the vine that has “taken root” near the broken top of a very tall  (30 ft) stump of an old poplar tree (second photo) which is leaning over so that the tendrils of  the vine have descended to the ground along the trunk of a fir tree, last photo.

These are not Tarzan compatible but could be fun for fairies, pixies, etc. I have not been up this part of the Yellow Jacket trail since early spring, but feel that this must be all one season’s growth!

It does not have any nasty razor wire type barbs like some vines from the deep south, so am inclined to leave it, even if it is an invasive species. Who knows what forest critters may be enjoying it?

Any ideas?

Tim, From September 2009

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MYSTERY: Strange Vine on Tim Foulkes' Mountain - Can you identify it?

EARTHQUAKE: Fundy Earthquake rumbles on through to Maine and New England.

Quake rumbles through region, By Jordan Graham

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - Updated 12 hours ago

An earthquake centered in Maine sent tremors rippling from Montreal to northern New Jersey last night, prompting the phones to “ring off the hook” at the National Weather Service and causing some in the Hub to wonder which coast they were on.

“My children were texting me. They said, ‘come home now!’ ” said Melanie Wernick, 51, of Wellesley, who left the opening of restaurant 75 on Liberty Wharf because her kids, 11 and 12, were scared.

“It felt like a piano dropped,” said Craig Dembeck, 51, of Detroit, who was in his hotel room in Boston’s Seaport District when the quake hit. “I wasn’t nervous … just a little bit.”

The tremor — 4.6 on the Richter scale — was centered southwest of Lake Arrowhead in Maine, 20 miles west of Portland, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The news blasted out on social media quickly, with some tweets declaring “Earthquake in Brookline. Building just shook like mad!” and “I’m just south of Pilgrim and it shook the house, so they probably felt it there too.” That person was referring to the nuclear power plant in Plymouth.

Others in Boston were oblivious to the quake.

“I can’t believe it actually happened, how did we not feel that?” said Kate Sweltz, 24, of Brooklyn, who was in the Seaport District.

The quake struck at 7:12 p.m., according to the USGS.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said “phone lines down in Maine. Our switchboard lit up. No damage in Boston reported at this time.” The closest community to the epicenter was Hollis Center, Maine, three miles east.

Hollis Selectman Dave McCubrey started to go running outside to help what he thought must have been a car crash or explosion when he realized it was an earthquake.

“You don’t get earthquakes in Maine,” he told the Herald. “I thought a tractor-trailer had either crashed in to my house or the gas station blew up. It was that bad.”

Despite the shaking, McCubrey said his home was not damaged, and he has not heard of any injuries or significant damage.

“It gave everybody a scare,” he said. “The good news is that nobody got hurt.”

McCubrey said people in town are already making jokes about the quake on Facebook.

“The way the economy is, we don’t need anything broken,” he added.

The last earthquake to be felt in the Boston area was in August 2011. A 5.8 magnitude quake based in Virginia shook downtown Boston, forcing the evacuation of several skyscrapers. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

OPINION: Protecting the Bay of Fundy ... your myth or your reality?

One Reason to Protect the Bay of Fundy

Really, there is little to say that this photo doesn’t say …future generations deserve our best efforts to preserve this special place … for them.

Hopefully we will be able to move this website forward in a manner that will help us all develop respect for this special gift … the Bay of Fundy. Please tell your friends about and follow us on Facebook where we have 2 pages … Fundy Wonders and Fundy Tides. Ask your friends to join or just cheer. We need numbers to ensure our voice is heard.

If you have a Fundy story, announcement, opinion or something you want folks to know about, why not send it to us? Just click on “Your Story” in the menu bar and fill out the details. We will consider publishing your work.

Photo by Art MacKay

OPINION: Protecting the Bay of Fundy ... your myth or your reality?

EARTHQUAKE: Another Fundy earthquake rumbles on through.

CTV Atlantic

Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 12:00PM ADT

A mild earthquake rumbled through the Bay of Fundy Tuesday morning.

According to Earthquakes Canada, the quake measured at 2.1 on the Richter Scale.

It happened around 4:30 a.m., roughly 66 kilometres south of Saint Andrews, N.B.

Earthquakes Canada says tremors are not uncommon in the Maritime region, but the vast majority of them are mild and not felt by residents.

No damage or injuries have been reported.

Read more:

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EARTHQUAKE: Another Fundy earthquake rumbles on through.

Monday, October 15, 2012

ENERGY: Will Fundy Wind Farms really kill huge numbers of birds? I wondered ...

I shared this great Facebook “poster” on my site today and it drew a lot of attention including the declaration that these things kill a lot of birds. Like everyone, I’ve been hearing that over and over … but really I didn’t know if that was true or not. What I did know was that cars, windows and our beautiful old lighthouses kill plenty or birds, not to mention feral and domestic cats, wild predators and activities like aerial spraying, clearcutting and so on.

Anyway, I decided to do a little research and came up with some really interesting stats. If it is true, it seems that wind turbines are the least of our worry.

Man-made structure/technologyAssociated bird deaths per year (U.S.)
Feral and domestic catsHundreds of millions [source: AWEA]
Power lines130 million — 174 million [source: AWEA]
Windows (residential and commercial)100 million — 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]
Pesticides70 million [source: AWEA]
Automobiles60 million — 80 million [source: AWEA]
Lighted communication towers40 million — 50 million [source: AWEA]
Wind turbines
10,000 — 40,000 [source: ABC]

Collisions with wind turbines account for about one-tenth of a percent of all “unnatural” bird deaths in the United States each year. And of all bird deaths, 30 percent are due to natural causes, like baby birds falling from nests [source: AWEA]. So why the widespread misconception that labels wind turbines “bird-o-matics”? I­t all starts with California, raptors and the thousands of old turbines that make up the Altamont Pass wind farm.

In this article, we’ll find out where the statistics went wrong, how thousands of birds do end up flying into wind turbines each year and what’s being done to reduce the number of bird-turbine collisions.

You check yourself. Here’s the links:

Related articles

ENERGY: Will Fundy Wind Farms really kill huge numbers of birds? I wondered ...

Friday, October 12, 2012

ENERGY: More oil shipments to pass through Fundy waters?

Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For decades, the United States has bemoaned its dependence on oil imports. But now, the world’s biggest oil consumer is looking at seaborne oil exports of its own.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is among the companies that have applied to export oil from the United States, with oil-tanker shipments out of the Texas Gulf Coast to refining complexes on Canada’s East Coast one possible destination. This comes as energy companies in Canada also eye Atlantic shipping routes, although some hope to bypass domestic processing facilities and get their oil to India and China.

Exporting oil is a politically contentious issue in the U.S., where politicians repeatedly push for energy independence and exports are highly restricted. Shell’s move, however, is not about independence.

Instead, it is struggling with a backlog of oil in certain areas of the continent – bottlenecks that push North American crude prices below the global benchmark.

“What this is simply showing is the pipeline imbalance in the U.S.,” said Len Waverman, a professor of strategy and global management at University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

“So the reason for exports is the fact we have regional markets in the U.S.,” Prof. Waverman said. “We don’t have a national market.”

Shell’s application is part of an industry-wide rush to deal with the glut of oil hitting the North American market, thanks to expanding production in new and revived oil fields in North Dakota, Texas, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

As the prospects of major pipeline projects to Canada’s West Coast and the Texas Gulf Coast remain muddy, oil companies must find ways to expand their traditional markets or continue to receive a discounted price for their crude.

“We can confirm we applied to the Department of Commerce for licences to export domestic crude oil,” Kayla Macke, a spokeswoman for Shell in the United States, said in an interview Thursday. “Crude oil trades on a global scale, and imports and exports follows supply and demand.”

She said Shell can not yet specify which markets it hopes to reach.

BP PLC and Vitol Group, the world’s largest oil trading house, have also applied for licences, the Financial Times reported. It said the Department of Commerce refused to confirm the existence of licences or licence applications, citing U.S. law. But the newspaper quoted the department as saying exports to Canada had a “presumption of approval.” The paper said BP and Vitol declined to comment

The political debate, however, could extend beyond the United States. TransCanada Corp., for example, has faced regulatory roadblocks in its quest to connect Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Canadians may want to retaliate if Shell and its competitors try to reach refineries such as the Irving Oil complex in Saint John, in their bid to better their bottom lines.

“One might say: ‘Why should oil be going to Canada if the U.S. right now is blocking the XL pipeline?’” said Jack Mintz, a director at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

The political issues could open negotiations for a North American energy strategy, a more “holistic approach,” he said.

Energy companies are pushing a variety of export options, such as expanding existing U.S. networks, replacing natural gas with oil in an existing line, building new lines such Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline, and turning to rail cars to transport crude. Shell’s export ambitions could add further pressure to major projects such as Gateway.

“Over time, things change and you don’t want to have an opportunity lost,” John Carruthers, president of the Gateway project, said in an interview on the sidelines of the project’s regulatory hearings in Prince George, B.C.

But, he said, Asia will continue to be a desirable market, and the possibility of U.S. exports emphasizes the need for Canada to find another destination for its oil.

With files from reporter Nathan VanderKlippe in Prince George, B.C.

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ENERGY: More oil shipments to pass through Fundy waters?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

EXPLORE: Fundy Highway Inukshuk, Rock Art and Grafetti

There’s something comforting about the inukshuk (or inuksuk if you prefer) that can be seen along all of our highways. These brand new little guys were overlooking the recently opened Trans-Canada Highway at St. David’s Ridge east of St. Stephen, N.B.

Have you got a favourite or some other story in stone like a carving on a mountain, names etched in rock, a strange geological formation, or striking graffiti even (our modern version of pictographs) or even wall art in your town? If so send a photo or two as attachments to an email addressed to fundytides at The subject is the title so be sure to capitalize it and the body is the text where you tell us all what it is, where it is, and when you saw it.

Who knows what spirits lurk here in Quoddy.


PS. Want to know more about rock art? Check this out at Wikipedia and my very, very favourite site Stone Pages.

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EXPLORE: Fundy Highway Inukshuk, Rock Art and Grafetti

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TOURISM: Is it time for St. Andrews and Charlotte County to take a fresh look at Cruise Ships?

The arrival of the cruise ship “The world” in Passamaquoddy waters this week opens up the subject of the future of the cruise ship industry here. Certainly the efforts of developers at Eastport and St. Andrews are to be applauded. Over the last few years the area has benefited from the arrival of several cruise ships. But there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to turn this into the business phenomenon that it could be. Without a suitable port, this development will be spotty at best, unless ...

It seem that it was just a short while ago when Charlotte County entrepreneurs began courting and serving the budding east coast Cruise ship market.


One of the early cruise ships visiting the Bayside Port early in the beginning of the quarry development which can be seen in the background

As more ships were enticed to land at the Bayside Port, enterprising individuals and groups began to provide what seemed to be promising services and exciting tours while more and more people were considering putting their energies into providing shore events and services for the arriving cruise passengers. But then the shoe dropped!

The Province of New Brunswick and, ultimately the Feds, began negotiating with local and American aggregate firms for the excavation of material from the port itself and the Americans won this battle …  beginning a huge €œgive-away€ to our new American neighbours and essentially putting an abrupt end to the developing cruise ship business. All of this when Saint John'€™s cruise ship development was starting to take off and the prospects for the future there and at St. Andrews were uncertain but bright.

The deal that was sold to everyone was that once the aggregate was removed from the northern Port area, a new laydown area would be created that would foster the expansion of the port and other developments such as the cruise ship business. But in the meantime conditions at the Port precluded tourist related activities and the cruise ship development came to a screeching halt and just couldn’t seem to get started again.

Well, we all got suckered on that one. Seems our new corporate neighbour had other plans and they proceeded to gain control of the port and buy up adjacent lands. They continued on and on and the date set for the opening of the new†port laydown area came and went while they continued to use the area to process more and more aggregate from an expanded area and started plans for crossing highway 127 into their newly acquired properties which, they apparently failed to notice, are in the Chamcook watershed, the water source for many rural residents and the Town of St. Andrews. Their plans included the elimination of half of Simpson Hill, an important and popular trail and hiking area with drainage via a local stream directly into Chamcook Lake!

Fortunately,  the American aggregate company at the Bayside Port (aka the Bayside Quarry) received its marching orders ... no aggregate will be removed from the Chamcook Watershed. Keep in mind that considerable political shifts have occurred since this happened and it'€™s not possible to predict the future, but, as it now stands, it seems that the Bayside Port should now be open to expansion into the Cruise ship business and the business community should be working with Port management to ensure that this happens.

Since 1989 over one-million cruise guests have visited Saint John, New Brunswick Canada. It seems we here in Charlotte County made a huge mistake, particularly since we were giving our aggregate away for free in exchange for a few jobs. Perhaps it'€™s time to use the momentum that has been created by our tenacious local developers and get on with developing a cruise ship service industry right here ... right now!

That’s my opinion tonight. Art MacKay

TOURISM: Is it time for St. Andrews and Charlotte County to take a fresh look at Cruise Ships?