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St. Andrews Citizens Will be Burning!

© Art MacKay, 2009, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, January 10, 2008

The US Coast Guard's recently released Waterway Suitability Report, prepared for the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Downeast LNG application, will have the residents of New
Brunswick's premier resort area burning again.

When, on the heels of Quoddy Bay LLC's earlier proposal at Sipyik, Downeast LNG first introduced
their plan to construct an LNG terminal and storage facility directly across the St. Croix River from St.
Andrews at Robbinston, Maine, the citizens of that resort town and the greater Quoddy Region rose as
one to denounce these developments and made their position clear with submissions to FERC and
government officials in both Canada and the United States, Impressive, passionate, packed public
meetings and protests were held. Subsequently, Canadian opponents to the LNG plans have been
supported at every political level in Canada. Conservative Prime Minister Harper and local Member of
Parliament Hon. Greg Thompson have publicly and in closed session with President George Bush,
expressed their firm position that tankers will not be allowed through Head Harbour Passage, the
essential waterway that they consider to be internal Canadian waters and, in the long term, too valuable
and hazardous a waterway to be used by supertankers. This was a similar position to that taken about
30 years ago when the Pittston Company of Greenwich, Conn. applied to turn Eastport and Moose
Island into a gigantic oil refinery and tank farm, threatening fishing, tourism, marine life, and whales
including the endangered north Atlantic right whale.

In previous responses to Quoddy Bay LLC, the US Coast Guard stated that the participation of the
Canadian government was paramount to their release of a similar report for Quoddy Bay LLC and it
was withheld. This is not the case with the Downeast LNG proposal. In this case, while the report
requires Canadian consultation by Downeast LNG, the USCC has chosen to assess Canadian waters
without the approval of Canada, an interesting move that causes great concern in a contest that, more
and more, seems to revolve around testing Canadian sovereignty and, not incidentally, Canadian

As can be seen in the accompanying chart taken from the USCC Waterway Suitability Study, St.
Andrews citizens can now see that they are within the hazard zone for this development. A similar
study for Calais LNG will, undoubtedly, duplicate this scenario, but will move Zone 3 more deeply into
the town as tankers move up the St. Croix River.

The USCC defines these zones as:

• Zone 1 (red) - 500 meter radius with resultant fire and severe thermal radiation hazards. By
definition these are areas in which LNG shipments occur in relatively narrow harbors or
channels, or ships pass under major bridges or over tunnels, or come in within 500 meters of
major infrastructure such as military installations, commercial/business centers, or national
• Zone 2 (yellow with black line) - from 500 to 1600 meters with less severe thermal radiation
hazards to public safety and property. These are areas of broader channel widths, larger open
harbors, or over 500 meters from major critical infrastructure elements.
• Zone 3 (yellow) – from 1600 to 3500 meters with potential pockets of flammable vapor. These
are areas where LNG traffic and deliveries occur approximately 1.6 kilometers from major
infrastructure or in large bays or open water. The thermal radiation risks to public safety and
property are significantly reduced.
While thermal risks may be reduced with distance, MIT Professor Emeritus James Fay , points out that
the actual zone of impact, the area were fires are ignited and people suffer serious burns, may be
greater than the distance used in the report. He states that, "for all credible spills, including terrorist
attacks on the storage tank and LNG tanker, the danger zone for humans extends almost 4 miles from
the terminal site" or about 2.5 kilometers, and life and property will be lost from so-called collateral
impacts. This greater distance envelopes all of St. Andrews and the ability of fire departments may be
non-existent since their facilities are within the real zone of impact and these professionals may well be
immobilized by an event itself. the nearest assistance would be St. Stephen and St. George.

As for bringing tankers through Head Harbour Passage, this is a red herring. Of course it can be done.
It's about risk analysis and the real question is just how long will it take to have an accident and at what
cost? Since LNG tankers can only enter and leave during the day, at slack tide (if that truly exists in
some areas along the route), when the visibility is more than 2 miles, and the wind is less than 25 mph,
then the number of days when access is available will be severely limited. In fact, these data are
available and it is a wonder that they have not been required for the USCC report and company
submissions to FERC. Imagine the financial impacts to Downeast LNG and its leader Dean Girdis
during those delightful years ... like the one when fog held to the West Isles for more than 30 days and
30 nights. At $100,000 a day, layovers adds up! Passamaquoddy Bay and key fishing areas of
Campobello Island could well see numerous gigantic tankers stacked up waiting to move.

Foget the hazardous passage and the old sow whirlpool, layovers will be substantial and local boats
will be unable to pursue fishing, whale watching, and recreational activities during passage and while
at anchor or at the terminal. The eco-economy of Quoddy will be effectively shut down. Since the
arrival of tankers is "secret" due to fears of terrorism, local operators will have little time to respond
and will be forced to the side by armed gunboats, as the are in Boston Harbour. What a delightful

Unless the new administration in the United States recognizes the folly of agitating their neighbours,
best friends, and largest trading partner, the first LNG explosion may be coming soon, much sooner,
than anticipated by the LNG promoters. A once interesting and functional "international community"
that drews upon the abundant natural resources of this unique Quoddy ecosystem, has been split
asunder by these LNG development proposals. In spite of the plethora of carpetbaggers who have
wandered through Charlotte and Washington Counties, some folks have never stopped looking for the
knight on a white steed; the saviour who will bring economic salvation to an area of perceived poverty.
The sad truth is that the wealth required to provide a truly sustainable future for all of the citizens of
Quoddy has always been here for those with eyes to see.

They will forget their old laws; they will barter their country for baubels. Then will disease eat the life
from their blood. (Hanisse'ono. The Evil One from Iroquois legend.)


Art MacKay is a biologist, writer, and artists with over 40 years professional experience in the Bay of
Fundy and northern Gulf of Maine. He is the author of many reports and articles about these