Tuesday, June 30, 2009
- Graham touts N.B. tax cuts at Moncton business meeting
- Premier Shawn Graham is hoping New Brunswickers will begin pumping their newfound tax savings into provincial businesses.
- More at CBC
25 June 2009 * Vol. 5, Issue 4
Ø Following the lead: Why the public sector can not and should not lead the charge for the Atlantic Gateway.
| Plugging In: New Brunswick & Maine pitch international energy corridor |
To read more, click here.
Click here to read the joint news release from both governments.
Follow this link to read the news story from OilWeek magazine.
| Making it happen: |
"There are no borders in
"The Northeast Energy Corridor would create a path to market to increase our region’s supply of secure, reliable and clean energy; attract investment; and create new economic development opportunities. It will also significantly accelerate the development of wind energy resources in both
To read the complete speech, click here.
To the Policy Research Initiative we say, “Welcome to Atlantica!” The PRI issued its final report entitled The Emergence of Cross-Border Regions Between Canada and the United States.
The report finds that higher bilateral trade intensities underline how much more the economies of neighbouring provinces and states now depend on each other. As well, analysis using a socio-cultural index shows that the northeast and northwest coastal regions are especially characterized by shared values. The socio-cultural values of Atlantic Canada are closer to those of the
To read more, click here.
| In this op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, Perry Newman, founder and director of Atlantica Group, and an |
To read this op/ed, click here.
Click here to read more.
Following the lead: Why the public sector can not and should not lead the charge for the Atlantic GatewayIn
To read this Commentary, click here.
Central Nova Tourist Association
Who would have thought that people from all over the country would flock to Five Islands, Nova Scotia to run or walk through the mud? For the third year in a row, the response from people wanting in on the NOT SINCE MOSES event has been astounding.
A truly unique experience, participants will either run 10K or walk 5K along the bottom of the sea around the Five Islands, in between 15 meter tides coming in and out of the Bay of Fundy. Children can also take part in the Basket Run which is 100-500 meters along the shore and in the mud.
Although the 500 spots for this event taking place July 27 & 28th have already been filled, you are still able to put your name on a waiting list in case of any cancellations. Another way that you can be a part of this unique experience is to volunteer. Many volunteers are needed for this event and being involved is sure to be a memorable and fun experience.
The Basin Fund, which will receive the net income from this event, will also be accepting donations from the public. The Basin Fund, throughout the upcoming year, provides small grants for education for local kids, small business assistance, art and music programs and other seeding projects in the region.
For more information on this event, visit www.notsincemoses.com. For more information on other events taking place in the region, visit www.centralnovascotia.com.
More at: http://www.capebretonpost.com/index.cfm?sid=265173&sc=701
Monday, June 29, 2009
From the Telegraph Journal - Published Monday June 29th, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Repsol signs Canaport LNG natural gas deals
NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - Repsol (REP.MC) has signed natural gas supply deals from its newly built Canaport liquefied natural gas import terminal in New Brunswick, company executives told Reuters Television on Thursday.
Vice President of Repsol Energy North America Vincent Morrissette said that despite recession-driven falls in U.S. gas demand, the market in the Northeast is strong and buyers are queuing up.
"We have signed a few deals and we have a lot of interest from our customers," Morrissette said. "We are actively discussing and negotiating longer-term transactions."
He said that Repsol, responsible for marketing the gas from Canaport into the United States, is targeting to sell 200,000 to 400,000 decatherms per day of gas from the terminal, possibly increasing over time depending on demand this winter.
One million decatherms is the equivalent of heating about 5 million homes, he said.
Canaport LNG, a partnership between Repsol (75 percent) and Irving Oil (25 percent), is expected to receive its first cargo of LNG on June 22, said Benjamin Palomo, Repsol's Executive Director of LNG in the same interview.
Repsol's Bilbao Knutsen LNG tanker left Trinidad earlier this week heading north to Canaport. It will act as a test cargo before commercial deliveries begin in July.
SLACK U.S. DEMAND
The tanker will arrive at Canaport as U.S. natural gas stocks hit record highs for this time of year. North American gas demand has tumbled while domestic production has increased, leaving the market oversupplied and inventories abrim.
However, Canaport is confident of attracting future demand as Canadian reserves that serve the U.S. Northeast deplete and demand picks up in the coming years.
"We take a long-term view. This is a project for the next 25 years and probably thereafter,"
More at: http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN1839390620090619
Friday, June 19, 2009
Kimberly D. Bose,Secretary
Re: docket CP07-52 , this comment is sent in support of the request to motion for an expanded public comment period on behalf of Nulankeyetomonen Nkihtahkomikumon, Save Passamaquoddy Bay – Canada, and SPB – USA.
I contend that the Downeast LNG EIS is incomplete and lacks critical information. The extension will allow time to compile and submit new data and analyses, without which FERC does not have the foundational information needed to make a rational decision and judgement.
My name is Arthur MacKay. I am a biologist and have worked professionally in the Gulf of Maine area since 1961. I have been the principal investigator for numerous studies, including a detail resource inventory for the entire coast of the NB side of the Bay of Fundy and the adjacent Maine shore, the area currently in question. My resume is extensive and can be reviewed online. I am not a member of Save Passamaquoddy Bay – Canada, nor a member of their Board of Directors and all submissions made by me are as a private citizen.
I have been involved in preparing and contributing to many environmental assessments including the Point Lepreau Nuclear Power Plant, the Coleson Cove Generating Station, the proposed Pittston Refinery at Moose Island, the Q&M Pipeline proposed Sable gas pipeline route, and many aquaculture applications in Maine and New Brunswick. My clients have included provincial and state governments, federal governments in Canada and the United States, and individuals and private organizations in these countries as well as abroad. The scope of my work has included alternate energy, aquaculture, fisheries development, community development, and marine assessments including invertebrates, fishes, birds, marine mammals and plants. Currently, I am retired but actively involved in several research projects. I also maintain several websites including www.bayoffundy.ca, ilovequoddywild.blogspot.com, and fundywhale.blogspot.com.
I recognize that Downeast LNG has spent many months and substantial monies preparing their Draft EIS. I have reviewed this document and find, among other things, that it is lacking in many areas including:
*an understanding of the basic operation of the Quoddy Ecosystem, its components and interactions,
* the constituent species that occur in the Region and their importance to the ecosystem and the resource industries that draw upon them,
* the local benthic nutrient pump that is so vital to the Northern Gulf of Maine,
* the occurrence of important plankton,
* the true impacts that industrial water use will have on vital biota, and
* the socio-economic impacts of this development on the existing resource-based industries.
Firstly, the scope of the document does not follow currently acceptable ecosystem focus now promoted by both American and Canadian professionals including the Gulf of Maine Council. In some cases, the status of a plant, animal, or social element is underestimated because the study focus is restricted to the immediate area surrounding the proposed development. In other instances, it appears that the references are so broad that they do not apply well to the reality of this region. The Quoddy/Cobscook Region is widely recognized as a vital ecosystem that is known to have the highest biodiversity of any area of similar size on the entire Canadian coast and is home to approximately 3,000 marine species as well as many listed and endangered species. It is unique as outlined in the online slideshow at: http://www.bayoffundy.ca/LNG/slideshow .
However, there is no “dotted line” or border - the ecosystem occurs in our two countries with over 3/4 of the productive environment occurring in Canada, creating the apparent disparity that motivates Maine-shore support of this and other local LNG proposals; unfortunately while ignoring the well developed “eco-economy” in Canada.
It is my considered opinion that the consultants were not familiar with the area in question and, moreover, that they relied on selected and questionable sources for much of their information; particularly endangered and listed species, fisheries activities throughout the ecosystem, plankton distribution and impacts of waters used for various activities, etc. But particularly, there is a lack of credible information on the vital planktonic resources, marine fishes, marine birds, and marine mammals of this area, the species composition, distribution and potential impacts relative to proposed tanker and tug activities, as well as impacts from construction and operational activities and designated “significant places”. We are attempting to provide professional information on this topic for FERC in response to the EIA, but it is proving difficult within the available time frame.
The absence of important whale records from Head Harbour Passage, West Isles, and the adjacent areas where LNG traffic will pass, is a glaring omission. Since the announcement of the EIA, we have been scrambling to gather together data on marine mammal occurrences through recent years to the present. This was part of our activities in any event, but the time frame allowed is just not adequate to properly assemble a professional document. We are attempting to provide professional information on this topic for FERC in response to the EIA, but it is proving difficult within the available time frame.
It is my sincere wish to provide FERC with the detailed and supportable data and information that it will require to make a proper and professional judgement of the Downeast LNG EIA. What can be gathered will be sent within the existing time frame, but I believe that FERC wishes the best and most professional documentation available and I respectfully request that you consider the motion for extension of the date for submission so that such information can be made available to you.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
ROBBINSTON, Maine — If a public meeting Tuesday evening on a proposed local liquefied natural gas terminal had been an election on the project, it would have been approved in a landslide.
Of the 25 people who spoke at the meeting, which federal regulators held to gather public comments about Downeast LNG’s proposal, only four had anything negative to say about it. Approximately 120 people total attended the meeting held at Robbinston Grade School on Route 1.
Most of those who voiced their opinions to federal officials had comments similar to those offered by Lubec resident Felicia Newman, an environmental program manager who used to work for Louisiana Pacific in Washington County but now works for Verso Paper in Bucksport.
“I certainly am in favor of the project,” Newman told officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and US Army Corps of Engineers. “We really need the economic development.”
Gwen Clark, a Robbinston native who attended college in Iowa, said she moved back to eastern Washington County because she missed being near the water. She said she has had many kinds of jobs in order to live in the area and has a daughter in school in Bangor who would like to move back home.
“I would like to see something in this area that is going to bring young people back,” Clark said. “Our youths are leaving because they can’t afford to stay here.”
Tuesday’s meeting was not an election, however, and how much longer the project might take to be approved or denied by FERC is unknown.
The purpose of the meeting was for FERC to gather public comments about a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, on Downeast LNG’s proposal that the agency released last month, according to FERC Environmental Project Manager Shannon Crosley. The comments, both those submitted orally Tuesday and those submitted in writing before July 6, will be incorporated into the final EIS, which FERC likely will release in September, she said.
Crosley said she is unsure when FERC’s board of commissioners might take up the proposal to give it their final vote. The commissioners set their own schedule, she said.
To move ahead with construction, Downeast LNG will have to get permits not just from FERC, but also from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, to name a few, the federal officials said.
Carl Sapers of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, had another entity to add to that list. Sapers, a member of the Canadian chapter of anti-LNG group Save Passamaquoddy Bay, said Downeast LNG will have to get permission from the Canadian government before any LNG deliveries can occur in Passamaquoddy Bay.
Sapers suggested that this was not likely to happen, since the federal Canadian government and the provincial New Brunswick government both have said they oppose allowing LNG tankers to navigate through the waters of Head Harbour Passage, which connects the Bay of Fundy to Passamaquoddy Bay.
Alan Moore of the Coast Guard told Sapers that the U.S. State Department believes Canada cannot prevent LNG tankers from transiting Head Harbour Passage. He said his agency and FERC are moving ahead with their review of Downeast LNG’s proposal based on the State Department’s position.
Robert Godfrey, a Save Passamaquoddy Bay member from Eastport, briefly addressed federal officials. He said that the draft EIS had “numerous broad omissions and errors” that he planned to comment on in writing before the July 6 deadline.
Madonna Soctomah, a Passamaquoddy tribal elder from Pleasant Point, also spoke against the proposal. She said industrialization is to blame for pollution in the world.
“I would not exchange a paying job for good health,” Soctomah said. “LNG does not provide what we need in this area for our land and for our children.”
Officials in Calais, with competing LNG firm Calais LNG, and with the Sunrise County Economic Council all expressed support for the Downeast LNG terminal, which would be built in the village of Mill Cove.
Harold Clossey, the economic council’s executive director, told officials that the project would be good for Maine and for the region, but especially for Washington County. He said the county cannot afford to have so much of its jobs tied up with relatively few employers such as the Domtar pulp mill in Baileyville, which just resumed operations again after temporarily laying off hundreds of people.
“We can no longer be a one-trick pony,” Clossey said. “We strongly urge FERC to approve this project.”
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Hello? Seems we're back in the race. See Terri's words below and vote now at: http://www.Votemyfundy.com
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Lessons not learned: 1999 Toll Road Mistakes Vs. 2009 Self Sufficient Road Mistakes
Revealing What NB Road Construction May Have In Common With Liberal Political Heavy Machinery
Francis McGuire about Rural De-Population: “We could let it happen or we could accelerate it.”
Before we get to the rumours lets take a look at some brutally factual Liberal words that are about a road that leads to a fantasy destination. A place that is absolutely disgraceful and degrading to the rural people of this province. But what the Self Sufficiency Task Force does not understand – is that it’s never about the destination, it’s about the journey. And in their blind haste to reach their destination the Liberals have left compassion for the people on the side of the road.
Compassion, fairness and public priorities have all been recklessly abandoned for a stubborn, ego-driven conceptual policy that is destructive for the majority of New Brunswickers. If you don’t think so then just think about yet another example – In the March budget our government cut approx. $60 Million on the backs of the people – and now is on the verge of using $50 Million of our money to bail out an ailing road-building company. Why …? So that road builder can be an instrument of acceleration perhaps?
Claiming that de-population of the north and other small communities is a trend that cannot be stemmed, Francis McGuire told the Telegraph Journal editorial board about de-population: “We could let it happen or we could accelerate it. You can make the Mirimichi a commuter town with a good four-lane highway and what’s wrong with that? As long as they are making money and going to spend it at Walmart.”
So now that you’re reminded of the words – ask yourself – are the recent Liberal Government budget cuts the acceleration process that Mr. McGuire so arrogantly referred to? And what Shawn Graham is referring to when he announced the $900 Million road job between the Mirimichi and Moncton just several weeks ago? The road that they think will help you make money to spend at Walmart?
It is often said about rumours: They may not be true – but where there’s smoke, there is fire. But the above quote is not rumour. It was said by Francis McGuire back in early 2007. McGuire is a major player in the Liberal Political Machinery which also includes Frank McKenna, Alan Graham, Doug Young, Robert Tozer and others. At the time of the above remarks he was the spokesperson for Shawn Graham’s Self Sufficiency Taskforce. Currently he is the Chairman of NB Power, which in recent months has become the de-facto cheerleader in the Energy Hub game.
On the first of April The Gristmill asked the question – Is the government going to bail out a contractor just to prop it up long enough so that the Brunway Group road building consortium (which includes Atcon and Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin) can bid on the four-lane project between Waweig (St.Stephen) and LePreau, NB?
Back in April we were reporting on a rumour. But since that time it has persisted and grown within the province’s road building circles, department of transportation circles, political circles and media circles. The buzz has grown so loud that the people in these circles are almost guaranteeing this long-time rumour is now a virtual certainty.
So what is this virtual certainty…? Atcon construction, lead by Mr. Robert Tozer of the Mirimichi will get a $50 million bailout from the Liberal government of New Brunswick.
There are a couple of alleged uses for this funding. Apparently, Atcon, the big construction, bridge component fabrication, and plywood manufacturing concern has fallen on relative hard times. Some big projects in Alberta have slowed or stopped altogether. The Atcon payroll has declined from 1000 to less than 200. The company’s financial position has deteriorated significantly to the point where its ability to qualify for bid bonding has disappeared. Hence its longtime financial backer, the TD Bank, will not play ball anymore. Rumour has it they’re holding in access of $200 Million of Atcon debt. Even the presence of Frank McKenna on the board of directors of the TD Bank can not loosen the purse strings these days. Rumour has it that it’s actually causing the TD bank a lot of grief over the matter.
So it appears that the people of New Brunswick are going to be throwing another $50 Million in the direction of Mr. Tozer and Atcon. This is an outrage to top all outrages. It’s a fact that Mr. Tozer has been a beneficiary of many millions of the NB people’s money in the past for the steel fabrication plant located at the former CFB Chatham air force base and the plywood mill. Word on the street is that none of this has ever been payed back.
What is this, another episode of “Weekend at Bernies” — a dark comedy in which the main characters prop up a dead rich man for an entire weekend so they can have a weekend of fun and leisure and avoid being killed by a hit man themselves? Why would we throw another $50 Million at this situation? It can’t be to save jobs, because the 200 or so remaining workers could go to work for other companies in a heart beat. No … It would be more accurate to just blame it on old fashioned, hard core cronyism.
The bottom line is that this ongoing rumour is turning out to be real. That the civil service paper work is done and the only minor roadblock at this time has to do with a personal guarantee from Mr. Tozer that he is not happy with. But apparently within the next few days or weeks this thing will happen. And the Shawn Graham government is waiting until the last day of the legislative session to announce it.
The truth is in the old adage: where there is smoke, there is fire.
So here are a few more rumours to fan the fire:
* The $50 million bailout may go towards cleaning up some of Atcon debt which includes: TD Bank; Caterpillar Financial so they’ll release the hold they have on his heavy equipment; $3 Million to Alliant; Payment on outstanding cost of an airplane bought from IRVING. Also the lighter debt load may help Atcon to get construction bonding from its bonding company again.
* Frank McKenna, Doug Young and another former transportation player from the 1990’s may own shares in MRDC – the consortium that built and maintains the four-lane between Fredericton and Moncton. And one of only two or three consortiums to bid on the Waweig to Lepreau four lane job.
* Frank McKenna and Alan Graham (Shawn Graham’s father) may be in the process of purchasing Modern Construction. Andrew Graham (Shawn Graham’s brother is a top manager at Modern Construction).
* The Modern Construction purchase could somehow be linked with Atcon to otherwise prop up Atcon. More likely is that the sinking ship would take Modern down with it.
* Alan Graham has been a special consultant with the Irving Group for several months. Alan Graham is also a consultant to Robert Tozer. Alan graham has been appointed to the National Energy Board by MP Greg Thompson. Payback for the Bayside Quarry closure decision?
* Federal dollars have already been allocated to the Waweig to Lepreau project in the form of Atlantic Gateway funding. But since the provincial government is pushing for the project to be a Public Private Partnership no public money will be spent right away – possibly not until project completion which may not be until 2013. Consequently the Federal Gateway money has been diverted by the provincial government to be spent in northern NB. MP Greg Thompson is extremely agitated. Suppose it’s just coincidence that the provincial government recently announced $50 million for the Belldune port players which includes Rayburn Ducette.
* The consortiums that will be the likely finalists to get the chance to bid on the Waweig to Lepreau job include the Brunway Group (Atcon) and MRDC. Dexter Construction out of Nova Scotia has a less likely chance to be in the running.
Rumours ...? Maybe. But they’re all swirling in a big way among a lot of people. And where there’s smoke – as we’ve seen before – there often times is a lot of fire. Now the smoke is beginning to surround a small group of individuals who have had too much influence on public policy in this province for far too long.
In any event the NB people should be seriously concerned at such a concentration of ownership and/or control by the Liberal Heavy Machinery that will be building, maintaining and owning the public transportation system in this province. Perhaps some of these rumours may help the NB public see the ominous web that has entangled the province over the past 20 years or so. The same web that has produced such concepts as The Reality Report, The Self Sufficiency Task Force, The Finn Report, and the Energy Hub.
The things being talked about these days are doing more than begging questions. They are beginning to shine a light far too brightly on a vortex of political power in this province that stretches back 20 years.
And the old adage rings true. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
We just hope that the people of New Brunswick can begin to see things for what they really are – who the players are and where the money is going. There is more money flowing in New Brunswick right now than there ever has, but who are the beneficiaries? Between the Atlantic Gateway funding and the Stimulus spending and the Provincial Government’s multi-million dollar self sufficiency pet priorities – our money is flowing free and easy. Yet the Shawn Graham team felt it necessary to cut government garages, ferries, provincial parks, car registration notices, library assistants, teacher assistants, senior’s drug plans, doctor’s wages, and a whole series of other areas. Why …?
Lets just say – they’re accelerating towards a fatal head-on collision.
Lekhaim from the Gristmill
ROBBINSTON, Maine — A group that opposes the development of liquefied natural gas terminals on Passamaquoddy Bay is asking federal regulators to extend the public comment period on a proposed terminal in the village of Mill Cove.
In a motion to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dated June 4, Save Passamaquoddy Bay argues that the current public comment period is not long enough for people who live in the area to weigh in on Downeast LNG’s proposal. The current 45-day comment period on the firm’s draft environmental impact statement, which is set to expire July 6, should be extended for another 90 days beyond that date, according to the document.
“The comment period comes at a time when workers in seasonal industries such as fishing and tourism — the predominant industries in the region and which stand to lose the most from this project — are wholly occupied with their livelihoods,” the group’s attorneys wrote in the motion.
FERC has scheduled a public meeting on the draft environmental impact statement for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, at the local elementary school, which is located on Route 1.
Rob Wyatt, Downeast LNG’s director of environment and permits, on Monday characterized the request as a delaying tactic by Save Passamaquoddy Bay. He said there is nothing substantially different in the environmental impact statement from what the firm submitted to the state in 2007. Downeast LNG ended up withdrawing its state application later that year, with the intent of refiling it at a later date, so it could have more time to gather information and iron out details about the proposed terminal and 30-mile pipeline that would connect the terminal with an existing pipeline in Baileyville.
In an e-mail, Bob Godfrey of the anti-LNG group on Tuesday disputed Wyatt’s claim that the draft EIS is not substantially different from its 2007 state application. He wrote that the draft EIS contains information from numerous government agencies that either is new or “is presented in a new way.”
Godfrey also said that Downeast LNG has delayed its own project. He said the firm has drawn out the overall review process by submitting its state application two years ago and then withdrawing it.
“When it became apparent they would likely have their application denied, they withdrew from the state process,” Godfrey wrote. “They now have to start that process over and have yet to make their application to do so.”
The two men also disagreed about the degree to which the residents of eastern Washington County support or oppose Downeast LNG’s proposal.
Godfrey said thousands of people on both sides of the border live within a potential federally recognized hazard zone that would be created by the construction and operation of the terminal. Many of the project’s supporters, Godfrey wrote, live outside the potential hazard zone area.
Wyatt, however, said people in the area support the project because it would create good jobs. With the recent closure of the Domtar pulp mill in Baileyville and the poor economic state of the fishing industry, he said, people in Washington County are looking for other kinds of work to help boost the number of jobs in the region.
“The folks at Domtar don’t have jobs, the fishermen don’t have jobs,” Wyatt said. “The people are tired of it.”
Wyatt said the only supporting documentation SPB provided to FERC along with its motion is from Shanna Ratner of Vermont-based Yellow Wood Associates, which in 2006 issued a study funded by SPB that predicted LNG terminal development in Washington County likely would have an adverse impact on the region’s economy.
“We’re going to keep moving forward,” Wyatt said. “We’re hoping FERC will not grant the extension.”
LNG proponent banks on 'innocent passage'Published Saturday June 6th, 2009
ST. STEPHEN - Canada will allow liquefied natural gas tankers through Head Harbour Passage, Downeast LNG founder and president Dean Girdis is predicting.
Opponents of three proposals to build LNG terminals on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay take heart from the Canadian government's stance that it will not allow tankers through the strait between Deer Island and Campobello Island.
However, Canada has no legal grounds to stop "innocent passage" by commercial shipping and will, in the end, co-operate with the United States Coast Guard to get LNG tankers safely through Canadian territorial waters into the bay, Girdis said.
"Assuming there's no major impact identified €¦ I don't believe the Canadian government will stand in the way," he said.
Foes say that Canadian opposition will stop the LNG projects even as they move toward American regulatory approval.
Girdis relies on the opinion of Prof. Ted McDorman of the University of Victoria, who concludes that a right of innocent passage exists through this strait regardless of the cargo the vessel carries.
Robert Godfrey of Eastport, Maine, researcher and webmaster with Save Passamaquoddy Bay Three Nation Alliance, says the United States cannot make a legal claim for innocent passage until it ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
"It's just posturing," he said, referring to Girdis' statements. Godfrey does not believe his nation and Canada will go to war over LNG tankers in Head Harbour Passage. Neither does Girdis, but he sees a different outcome than Godfrey.
While Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, MP for New Brunswick Southwest, says Canada will not bend, Girdis says it will.
Dear Rockweed Coalition members,
It is my pleasure to let you know that LD 345, An act to regulate the
rockweed harvest in Cobscook Bay, is now law. Governor Baldacci signed
the bill on June 8.
Please see the following Maine legislature website for details:
This is a huge accomplishment, and while it is not a moratorium, it is
a fine compromise, in my opinion. I'll send out more thoughts about
the details of the bill later, but for now, you can read the details
of the regulations that now govern rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay
at the above web page.
Many thanks are owed to many folks.
- the legislators who supported stricter regulation, such as Sen.
Raye, Rep. McFadden, and the members of the Marine Resources
Committee, especially Sen. Damon and Rep. Percy
- everyone who contacted their representatives in government about
this issue, or who supported educational efforts on this issue by
- anyone who expressed an interest in this issue, and was willing to
spend time thinking hard about how best to protect the rockweed
resource of Cobscook Bay
Thank you for your support and interest.
Robin Hadlock Seeley
LNG proponents, particularly those who stand to gain financially, continue to twist the truth to further their drive to see LNG terminals in the Quoddy Region and counter Canada's position that Head Harbour Passage is internal Canadian waters and LNG tankers are not welcome.
Downeast LNG's recent FERC environmental impact assessment is filled with errors and omissions that suggest that a less than professional group was responsible for its production. At the very least the consultants were unfamiliar with the area.
Here's a few of the current problems:
1. Dean Girdis of DELNG continues to state the right of the United States to evoke "innocent passage" through Head Harbour Passage under the UN "Law of the Sea". This paper tiger continues to be quoted in spite of the fact that the United States has not signed this UN convention and has NO RIGHTS under UNCLOS! Further, if they had signed on, there are rights and obligations that continue to be held by the individual countries. It ain't as simple as Dean seems to think. More particularly, he now states that his proposal rests in the same sovereignty arena as the Arctic, Great Lakes, and Straight of Juan de Fuca!
2. The United States Coast Guard assessed Head Harbour Passage for FERC and reported everything is fine for LNG tankers in direct conflict with the position of the Canadian government. These are Canadian waters. But, in case you didn't know, they come and go through our waters at will and have been reported to overhaul vessels in out Passamaquoddy Bay waters. I am told that this is by agreement. What gives here? Huh? why does Canada not have its coast guard at its border?
3The deadline for responses is early July. this gives very little time to craft complete and professional responses to the document. Save Passamaquoddy Bay has petitioned FERC for an extension since this is the busy season for everyone who works around the Bay in fisheries, aquaculture, education, real estate, and tourism. The two pilots from Eastport have submitted a letter to FERC refuting the busy season. Basically they say that nothing is happening in spite of the active Canadian lobster fishery, the building of weirs, the arrival of thousands of smolts, the launching of whale watching, the preparations of restaurants, B&Bs, Inns and more. To read their statement, it sounds like nothing happens here, so we should all be able to almost instantly bend our time to meet the LNG promoters' schedule.
3. The FERC EIA states: Section 4, Page 261-- "There is no indication that the LNG project would affect any lobster catch results in Canada, as there is little if any lobstering along the LNG vessel route in the waters of Head Harbour Passage." That's a big surprise to everyone who is setting traps along Head Harbour Passage and other deep water locations that they will share with the proposed LNG tanker route. The fishing organizations better get their act together FAST!
Brian Flynn sends the following photos and comments:
The photos below were taken by me at about 4:00 PM on June 2, 2009 (today) on the north shore of Campobello Island (Head Harbour Passage) about a mile west of the East Quoddy Light Station. This is directly along the proposed LNG transit route. Lobster buoys are located all along this shore and lobstering occurs on an almost daily basis. Brian Flynn
4. There's more, but I've got to go work on some whale data! Apparently there are no whales of note in Head Harbour Passage. Huh? This is the most important area in the Gulf of Maine for Finback whales, Harbour Porpoise, and Minkes. Everyone who knows anything about the Bay of Fundy knows this. How could it be missed? Well, Joyce Morrell is heading up a group to get that information together, in spite of the fact that it is well documented. Apparently, it was missed by the professionals who did the EIS. They did get some species listed that hardly ever occur here. Wonder where they got that information? Anyway, the whale watching fraternity better get their act together too!