Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Fundy tides of change threaten to sink Dean Girdis of Downeast LNG

Dean Girdis of Downeast LNG has been spinning and spinning; blaming the Irvings, the government of NB, the government of Canada and anyone he can think of for Canada's stand on the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage when, all along, its been the people here who have sought and received the support from their politicians to protect a sustainable economy based on the most unique ecosystem on the east coast; an economy that employs thousands and brings in 1/2 to 1 billion dollars each year. Well this article by Girdis in the BDN sings the same divisive songs he been singing since this Yankee carpetbagger arrived.

But guess what? Read the comments to his article. His hold on intelligent Mainers is disappearing before his very eyes. Amazing! I have renewed faith and pride in our friends "Ova the riva". Thanks on behalf of everyone over here, eh!!

Time to "put a sock in it" Dean and head home to Washington, DC.


PS. Remember Dean? I think it was the Bangor airport where I told you I would be there to take you on no matter what. Now my friends, lets turn the screws harder on Downeast LNG and Calais LNG. They care not for us and it is truly a battle - winner take all!


Canada expects Maine to be its energy doormat  by Dean Girdis


While Maine is open to being New Brunswick’s energy partner, Canada expects Maine to be New Brunswick’s energy doormat.
New Brunswick has ambitious plans to become an energy hub. It touts its nuclear power plant, oil refinery, hydropower and LNG terminal — boasting on the provincial Web site “We have the infrastructure and distribution systems to deliver this energy to the Eastern United States. We are geographically ideal to reach these markets.”
Ideally located, they might add, as long as they can use Maine to get their energy to population centers in the U.S.
You would think that this would be a great opportunity for Maine and New Brunswick to work together, especially given the long-standing economic and social ties between these neighbors.
Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t really want a partnership. A real partnership would have benefits for Maine, too. Instead, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, MP Greg Thompson and other Canadian politicians are indulging in a totally self-serving double standard when it comes to their opposition to LNG across the border in Maine.
Five years ago, Downeast LNG set out to build a safe and environmentally sound project that will bring many new good-paying jobs to Washington County and create a new source of clean-burning natural gas for Maine and the Northeast. Agreeing with Gov. John Baldacci that no major development project in Maine should go forward without the support of local residents, we sought and received the overwhelming support of the people of Robbinston.
Permitting a project of this magnitude has been a long and difficult road, but we have pushed on, knowing that we have the strong support of local residents and government and business leaders throughout Maine.
In recent months, Gov. Baldacci and Sen. Susan Collins, in particular, have been especially forceful with Canadian officials in asserting the right of all ships — including LNG ships — to transit the international waters of Passamaquoddy Bay to reach Maine ports, and we appreciate their efforts.
All we have asked for is a fair and transparent review of our project based on its merits. That is what we have received from U.S. authorities. In January, we received a favorable waterway report from the U.S. Coast Guard, which said “the Passamaquoddy Bay Waterway is suitable for the type and frequency of marine traffic associated with this proposed project.”
That was followed in May by a draft environmental impact statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, the lead permitting authority, which said that the environmental impacts of our project would be “reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of the applicants’ proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures we recommend.”
But despite the fact that our project is receiving intense scrutiny from federal regulators — much greater than a similar project would receive in Canada — Canadian politicians just continue to say “no way.” Acting like petulant children, they aren’t about to let facts, reason, precedent or even international law get in their way.
New Brunswick Premier Graham tells FERC that our project would negatively affect New Brunswick’s environment, its tourism and its environmental-based economy, as well as its residents’ safety and security (but apparently their industrial ports, nuclear power plants and oil refineries are just fine.)
Even the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. has gotten into the act, telling FERC that Canada opposes the project because of concerns about “navigational safety, environmental and other impacts.”
Well, the Coast Guard already has addressed navigational safety, not to mention the fact that hundreds of large ships safely transit these waters each year to get to Eastport and the Port of Bayside in New Brunswick. FERC certainly is addressing the environmental issues, as will the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.
Honestly, if all of these Canadian politicians were really concerned about navigation, public safety and the environment, there would be no rock quarry or shipping at Bayside, no nuclear power plant a short distance from the Maine border at Point Lepreau, no oil refinery in Saint John.
What they really are concerned about is protecting New Brunswick’s economic interests, because what they really want is a one-way energy highway through Maine that only benefits Canada.
Thankfully, Maine’s leaders are standing up to the shameless hypocrisy coming from New Brunswick and the Canadian federal government, and all Maine people should support them. If New Brunswick wants a real partner, great. If it just wants to walk all over Maine on its way to lucrative U.S. energy markets, let them find another route.
Dean Girdis is the founder and president of Downeast LNG in Robbinston.


Here's some of the comments. Go here to read everything. http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/127794.html

If the US would sign the International Law of the Sea Treaty, which has been ratified by 158 countries, including Canada, the US could effectively sue Canada under international law. The treaty has been consistently opposed by a number of outspoken Members of Congress, Senator Imhofe most prominently among them, so suit under that Treaty isn't currently an option. The Obama administration has pledged to seek congressional approval of the Treaty.
It would be horrible for Mainers to get our electricity from Canada cheaper . We pay 40% more than the rest of the country now. How does this affect business? We are told we need jobs. But the jobs are short term construction. Business is driven out by the corrupt policies of ME state govt.

ME has an excess of power supply-can produce over 3200 megawatts, but uses only 900 on an average day.Gov Baldaci and ME state govt says we have to get away from foreign oil. Iberdrola out of Spain is funded by Abu Dhabi Energy. They own Central Maine Electric and Maine Public Gas.

Gov Baldaci says we need clean energy and Stetson Mt wind farm is online. But they aren't. There is a bottleneck in Orrington. The power cannot go any further.Stetson II is being built by tax payer money. They have to have the 1.4 billion dollars worth of transmission lines to sell power to Mass.How does this help US. Our power bills go up.A wind farm employs only a few people...and they are from out of state.

Maine has an excess of power supply-can produce over 3200 megawatts, but uses only 900 on an average day.

We need A JUSTICE DEPT. INVESTIGATION INTO ME ENERGY POLICIES AND LAWS. Don't think all the permitting for First Wind when they have no money is exactly legal. The Rollins Project is under litigation, First Wind is broke and still they are blasting and putting in roads. Stetson Mt wind farm is not online but they are selling carbon credits. Kibby wind farm built by TransCanada is not online but they can't sell carbon credits. Different laws for First Wind. Forget the Attorney General's office ...they say it is not their concern.

When are our newspapers going to print the truth? When will they stop transcribing for First Wind and ME state govt.
Gov Baldacci got in a twit when he found out that the west was ahead on wind farms and would be selling power to the east. How does that coincide with we need wind farms for clean energy and to get away from foreign oil? Sounds more like good 'ol boys taking care of each other.

FERC just decreed that the power plants have to pay for the transmission lines in the WEST. Not rate payers. Up front money. Fixed that problem.

Then Gov. Baldacci got all concerny because Canada might sell energy cheaper...kinda' put First Wind , his best buds, out of business.How does that coincide with we need wind farms for clean energy and to get away from foreign oil?

Not to worry , in a few days , it will be announced Canada can't sell to NY and New England. Things just get fixed like that. BDN will report GREAT. We are stuck with corrupt energy policy and high prices. Not in those words. Just look at this editorial. They 'll figure it out to make it look like the good and decent thing to do..Pay high prices.High prices will go even higher ...but don't worry. It's just the right thing to do.
New Brunswick cares about tourism and the environment ....so they don't want the LNG facility . That is just reprehensible. The facility would not give ME jobs. It woud be a few for highly skilled people. Our Coast Guard has had major reservations about safety issues. This is the most useless editorial I have ever read.

Susan Collins voted with bush to fund 2 wars ..without giving a good reason.
Bankrupted the treasury and destroy the constitution. So if she wants the LNG facility , it must be something.
ANYONE who has regular contact with Canadians and the citizens of New Brunswick in particular knows how ludicrous this contention is. Canada has regularly been used as a "doormat" by the USA and they respond with friendship. I much prefer them as neighbors, rather than Mr. Girdis. The "NO LNG" sign remains at the foot of this citizen's Washington County driveway.
What's so wrong with getting energy from Canada? It's a commodity. And they're probably not going to put us over a barrel for supporting Israel.
I 200% agree with Dean Girdis on this issue. We voted for and passed LNG developement in Calais, Robbinston and Perry. If we allow the Canadians to supply our energy needs, we deserve high prices.

First of all I must correct arrogantdan when He/she says we voted and passed LNG in Calais, Robbinston, and Perry. Perry in fact voted against the LNG facility that was proposed for our town. They now have folded their tent and slunk off in the night. As to the Op-Ed comments made by Girdis he should quit whining. He is blaming Canada for all the bad choices his company made when they came here in the first place. His piece is so full of mistakes it would take more time than I have to point them out, so let it suffice to say that Canada is not his biggest problem. He chose an unworkable location ;to begin with, and now the natural gas market has collapsed leaving him and his investors high and dry. Sorry Dean. You need to go back to Washington DC, and since Baldacci is soon to be out of work - you can take him with you.
Actually Dean stays on message and it's getting really annoying since we uncooperative Canadians are more than fed up with being walked over, polluted, denigrated, and spat upon by our enighbours. Actually, it's the citizens of the Quoddy area (Americans AND Canadians) that are opposing the LNG developments in Passamaquoddy and OUR politicians are supporting OUR rights. It has NOTHING to do with Irving or LNG in the right place. We make 1/2 to 1 billion dollar each year from sustainable industries that depend on the environment here and we are not giving that up for some carpetbagger from Washington, DC or anywhere else for that matter.

Put a sock in it Dean and move on like a good little fellow!

PS. If Quebec Hydra (sorry Hydro) takes out NB Power, look out. They will skin you alive as soon as look at you ... they have real terrorists in that province. Check it out on wikipedia.com
Meanwhile the Portland Oil pipeline which for decades send crude to Montreal to be refined into fuel oil, gasoline and other products; to be resold back to the U.S., is getting ready to flow in reverse delivering Alberta shale oil to Portland to be shipped to other regions of the U.S.

Like it or not; the U.S. has benefited from inexpensive energy from Canada; and Maine has simply been the route of least resistance.

Now it's cheap power; and AUGUSTAcrats who think that Maine can beat Mass. and Nova Scotia in producing off shore wind power and near shore tidal power. Ain't gonna happen, esp. since Maine produced Wind Power will cost 2-3x as much as cheap hydro from New Brunswick and Quebec.

My solution has been to welcome them and assess a tariff on every volt, gal. of crude or other energy unit as it passes through Maine and down the Atlantic seaboard.

It's a lot cheaper that way and we make a lot more money.
Stetson Mt , Stetson II and Kibby can just rot into the ground. The transmission lines are not going to be built to ruin ME and send power to Mass. NY is stopping the madness with legislation. Who knows . our lawmakers might read the tea leaves and want to stay in office.
Has the time come for the Bangor Daily News to print the truth?
More sour grapes from Dean Girdis. His project is doomed.

Canada's support would not have saved it, although by opposing the project they helped point out some of its many fatal flaws.

Ultimately the market and new technology pulled the rug out from under the three LNG projects proposed for the Bay (and of course their poor choice for siting them). Such is the fate that so many big talking speculators face when they guess wrong. And then they blame everyone else for their failure.
People from away like to point out how economically depressed Washington county is. We have an opportunity to have LNG facilities and what ever else that spin off from them. I think it would be nice to be able to work for good money and have stable, steady jobs for people of this area. When the pipeline was built to carry Canadian LNG the locals welcomed it with open arms, stores were bustling with activity, heck the contractors even bought local baseball teams uniforms. We need these jobs and I hope the LNG developers dont give up on us and go elsewhere because of all the negativity towards their projects. I want to personally thank Dean Girdis for giving this area a ray of hope.

Photo Credit: TJ

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