Monday, September 28, 2009

Premier Shawn Graham restates NB's position on LNG in the Bay of Fundy's Head Harbour Passage

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Cobscook Bay, Head Harbour Passage, and West Isles - Tim Foulkes Photo

Canada Controls Head Harbour Passage.
Premier Shawn Graham

I am writing to clearly restate the Province's position with respect to the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay.

The province's position remains unequivocal: we oppose the proposed locating of an LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay because of its impacts on New Brunswick.

Our environment would be negatively affected, the tourism and environment-based economy of the region would suffer, and the safety and security of the region could be compromised.

There are more than 6,000 New Brunswickers who live along the LNG vessel transit route, some within 800-1,000 meters. As Premier of New Brunswick, I have a sovereign and legal duty to ensure that the interests and concerns of our residents are taken into account and defended by all appropriate means as these projects move through all regulatory processes.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is one such process.

We remain fully engaged as an intervener at FERC in order to ensure that the Commission and its staff are fully apprised of New Brunswick's position and the negative impacts that would accompany the proposed facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay.

As an intervener in this process, New Brunswick has a forum to submit evidence to the Commission emphasizing these impacts.

In preparing our recent extensive submission to FERC, we assembled detailed information from 10 different government departments which, taken together, present a powerful picture of how New Brunswick would be adversely affected by LNG facilities being located in Passamaquoddy Bay.

However, our submission to FERC does not mean that we recognize that agency's authority over these New Brunswick issues.

This fact was clearly stated in our recent letter to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff which accompanied our submission. "[T]he impacts and issues identified in this report fall squarely upon New Brunswick and are within the jurisdiction of my province to review, analyze and address. It is not within the scope of the Commission's authority to address and/or propose mitigation for these impacts and issues... We will be the sole and final decision-makers in assessing how to best protect our people, economy and environment."

Furthermore, as it has also been clearly stated in the past, the Province of New Brunswick does not recognize any authority of FERC over Canadian waterways and FERC itself has recognized its limitations in this regard.

Decisions on where ships are allowed to transit fall within the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada alone.

Canada's current and historical position is also clear: LNG tankers would not be permitted to navigate the Canadian waters of Head Harbour Passage.

The recent conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers held in Saint John was an excellent example of regional neighbours working together for the common good.

While our strong relationship with Maine should not be interpreted as support for LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, we will continue to cooperate on energy projects in the Northeast which will benefit citizens of both jurisdictions.

Premier Shawn Graham represents the riding of Kent.

Comments (1)

Excellent. Together with the recent statement from Ottawa by Greg Thompson and the continued stance of local politicians at St. Andrews and elsewhere around our Quoddy Region, this solidifies the position that has been in place for two years or so.

Congratulations, this was really needed at this time as Maine and US politicians make their position clear to THEIR constituents and the broader public. Unfortunately, their public pronouncements have contained incorrect statements that have created the wrong impression. To reiterate the Canadian stand at this point was vital.

I agree, when we work together we all win ... provided we stop the bullying and ALL treat the needs of our partners with respect and understanding. This has not been true during the course of this LNG debate. Hopefully things will change and we can, together, recognize the real value of Head Harbour Passage, West Isles and Cobscook Bay; an international treasure as seen at

Art MacKay

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