The FERC released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Downeast LNG on Friday. We and anyone interested have until July 6th to submit comments. As expected, the DEIS is compiled from information provided by Downeast. It concludes that while there are some environmental impacts, most can be made insignificant through mitigative measures. We disagree. The document has serious deficiencies and as expected focuses on the area near the proposed project and almost completely ignores Canada and impacts in Canada.

We are in the process of assembling a group of experts, many of whom have testified before on our behalf on this matter. We have a strong case, there are serious questions regarding the need for the project, the available supply of gas, and most important, the inappropriate site proposed. We have a lot of work to do, and the continued support of the Federal and Provincial governments is critical to our success.

If you would like to review the report, the link is:

Jessie Davies, Co-Chair
Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada

Dear Friend

This letter is to thank you for enabling us to continue to do battle on your behalf and to advise you of the current situation. We are now facing not two but three proposed terminals. They are listed below in order of advancement of their individual progress.

1. Downeast LNG:
You will recall this company proposes to construct a terminal at Robbinston, opposite the St Andrews golf course. Upon conclusion of its public hearing before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection [BEP] Downeast requested they be allowed to withdraw their application and reapply at a later date. The request was turned down and we were cautiously optimistic that this huge hurdle would be a considerable nail in their coffin. But it was not to be. In September 2008, the US Fish and Wildlife Service refused their proposed pipeline route which crossed the Moosehorn Wildlife Preserve. Downeast used this as the basis for a further attempt to withdraw their application and, in November of last year, the BEP reversed their decision. Downeast have filed a new pipeline route along the St Croix River and will soon reapply to the BEP. We have not only lost the time and financial resources we spent in the first hearings but must go through this very expensive process again. And of course Downeast, like students who have seen the question papers, are ready to retake the exam.

2. Quoddy Bay LNG
FERC has suspended the application from Quoddy Bay LNG based on the company’s apparent inability to supply information requested by FERC. We do not know at this time if or when they will renew their application for a terminal at Pleasant Point. Quoddy Bay indicates this is just a suspension and that they will supply the required information in due course. They have now withdrawn their BEP application in order to reapply.

3. Calais LNG
This project, close to Todd’s Point, Oak Bay, is behind the other two in the approval process, but appears to have the financial backing of Goldman Sachs and Company. It is slowly gaining momentum.

The Canadian government holds steadfast to its resolve not to allow LNG tankers passage through Canadian waters. Our New Brunswick government is on side and neither local nor national government is providing the information necessary for the Water Suitability Report required by the US Coast Guard before FERC will issue an Environmental Impact Statement. Also, in January of this year the powerful US Government Accountability Office questioned the US Coast Guard’s ability to protect LNG tankers supplying the US.

In September, massed choirs from all around the bay will raise “Voices of the Bay” at a series of concerts to celebrate Passamaquoddy Bay and to highlight the continuing danger to this special place.

Thank you again for your support. Without you, this battle could not be fought.

Yours sincerely
Jessie Davies
Co-Chair Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada

Canada’s Authority to Prohibit Transit of LNG Vessels Through Head Harbour Passage to U.S. Ports
Read the paper written by Jon M. Van Dyke, Professor of Law

Jon M Van Dyke, Profile

For immediate release: July 13, 2007

For more information:
Janice Harvey, Co-chair, SPB/C 466-4033; 529-8838
Carl Sapers, FERC Committee Chair 529-4070
Jon M. Van Dyke - 808-956-8509

Canada’s Right to Ban LNG Tankers in Head Harbour Passage
Defended by Ocean Law Expert

St. Andrews, NB: Canada has the authority under customary international law to regulate or restrict the passage of vessels through Head Harbour Passage based on the nature of the ship or its cargo in order to protect its coastal population and resources. So concludes international ocean law expert Professor Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii.

Canada’s intent to enact domestic legislation to ban LNG tankers from Head Harbour Passage has generated heated reaction from would-be LNG developers in Passamaquoddy Bay, as well as from Maine senators and congressmen. The US State Department has said it considers Head Harbour Passage to be a strait through which foreign ships have a nonsuspendable innocent passage. This has been a longstanding point of disagreement between the two countries, preceding the current controversy by several decades.

Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada co-chair Janice Harvey said their group heard an interview with Prof. Van Dyke by CBC Radio over a year ago, during which he stated he believed Canada had solid grounds for moving forward with a ban on LNG tankers. When Ambassador Wilson’s letter to FERC Chairman Kelliher of February 14, 2007 which stated Canada’s intent to ban LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage generated such vehement protest from the US side, SPB/Canada decided to invite Prof. Van Dyke to elaborate on his statement in the form of an opinion letter. This letter was received in May 2007.

In it Prof. Van Dyke explains why Head Harbour Passage is not governed by the strait transit passage regime created by the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention. He writes, That regime applies only to straits which are used for international navigation between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone [EEZ] and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone.Head Harbour Passage, which is an integral part of the Bay of Fundy, considered by Canada as internal water, does not meet this definition.

In defense of Canada’s position that the Bay of Fundy is internal waters of Canada, Prof. Van Dyke asserts that Canada has established the Bay of Fundy to be a historic bay. The UN Law of the Sea Convention considers historic bays to be internal waters over which the country has complete domestic jurisdiction, and to which rights of innocent passage do not apply (as opposed to a country’s territorial waters or EEZ).

For the same reason, Head Harbour Passage cannot be considered a dead-end strait, through which passage is nonsuspendable according to the Law of the Sea. A dead-end strait is defined in the Law of the Sea as a passage between a part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and the territorial sea of a foreign state.

Finally, Prof. Van Dyke describes the post-1982 Law of the Sea evolution of maritime law which has established many precedents whereby coastal states have put strict conditions and limits on ships and cargoes transiting not only their internal waters, but even their territorial waters and as far out as their EEZ.

Accordingly, according to Van Dyke, Canada has the authority to move forward with a national regulation banning LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage. We have been told by a federal officials that a regulation may be in place by the end of 2007, said Harvey.

Get in the Picture!

New Brunwick Day, Monday, August 6; We hope all our friends on the bay will join us for a massive family photograph on the St. Andrews wharf at 11:00 (Canadian time) to show our support for the battle against LNG in the bay.

12-2:00 For $2 you can enjoy a hot dog, punch and a raffle at Sheriff Andrews House with live music by The Valley Gospel Singers.
2 -4:00  For $2 enjoy cake, punch and children’s craft with live music by The Right Connection.

12-4:30 Tim Isaac Auction at the Fairmont Algonquin;
2:00 SHARP—sale of two wonderful paintings for the benefit of Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada.