Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ENERGY: Save Passamaquoddy Bay asks FERC to dismiss LNG application

St. Croix Courier, Dec. 30, 2010

CALAIS – Three LNG opponents have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to dismiss Calais LNG’s application.
Earlier this month, Calais LNG withdrew its permit applications with the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) but said it fully intends to re-file them Dec. 17. Arthur Gelber of Calais LNG requested a further delay by FERC in deciding whether to continue processing the company’s application.
In a letter to FERC, Ronald A. Shems, a lawyer for the Three Nation Alliance - made up of Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) in both Canada and the US as well as Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon (We Take Care of Our Land) - said that in Calais LNG failed to inform FERC the company had withdrawn all its applications for necessary state permits three days before it filed its application with the federal agency.
“Failure to pursue state permits (an incomplete application) means that critical information will be absent from public review during the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process as well as potentially from the commission’s public interest determination. The commission will not be able to take a hard look at, much less base a decision on, relevant factors.”
Shems goes on to point out that Calais LNG withdrew the applications because it lost title, right or interest (TRI) in the land on which the proposed import terminal would be built and added that this has not been re-established.
Likewise, he said, the company lost and has not since re-established financial capacity to pursue the project. Both TRI and financial capacity are required by the State of Maine for necessary state permits. Shems said the company also failed to comply with outstanding technical requests from the state at the same time.
In the state proceedings from July to December, he said the company requested five delays, repeatedly representing to the BEP that it was close to finding a financial resource to replace GS Power Holdings (a Goldman Sachs subsidiary).
“Each representation was (an illusion). The last effort in this regard was to announce that GS Power Holdings’ interest had been sold to two employees of CLNG, both of whom lack financial resources.”
Shems said this project has lacked financing for six months and essential property interest for three. For these reasons, he said, the Three Nation Alliance requests that FERC dismiss Calais LNG’s applications from FERC dockets since taxpayers’ funds should not be expended on a project without basis.
Ronald Rosenfeld, MD, has also written to FERC saying that Calais LNG’s request should be denied as “it seems inappropriate for the commission staff as well as for the public to continue to devote time and resources to this project.”
To claim there are “new” managing members and that this is a reason for delay, obscures the fact the “new” managing members have been involved with the project since its onset, he stated.
“At present, Calais LNG does not have property on which to build the project and does not have the financial capacity to move forward. There seems little reason for the FERC process to continue.”
Calais LNG agents did not respond to interview requests.
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