Supertankers Pose No Danger to Bay of Fundy

Monday, October 08, 2007
Proponents of a controversial liquefied natural gas plant in Maine say a study ordered by the Canadian government has found there is no reason to ban supertankers from the Bay of Fundy, as Ottawa has threatened to do if the U.S. approves the project. Downeast LNG said the environmental study found there were no immediate risks of having LNG supertankers go through the Bay of Fundy, part of which is split by the New Brunswick-Maine border, to the proposed plant. Dean Girdis, the Washing-ton-based president of Downeast LNG, said the long-awaited review, done by Ottawa-based Senes Consultants Ltd., found there was no immediate danger of having the 283-metre long ships go through a narrow passage in Canadian waters called Head Harbour if precautions were taken. Downeast wants to build the plant at Robbinston, ME, to connect to the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The LNG would come from plants in the Caribbean and elsewhere, re-gasified at Robbinston and then shipped into the U.S. northeast. The Canadian government ordered the review last year but released it only recently. The government of Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, has also said it opposes LNG tankers going through Canadian waters to the plant. Local residents and environmental groups are worried the tankers could rupture in the narrow passage that is also subject to high tides from the Bay of Fundy. But the 350-page review, which sources said cost the government $200,000, indicated the tankers could safely pass if proper precautions were taken. The report does note there are some risks, including little ability to maneuver out of the way of whales. It added, however, that the expected risk to recreational and commercial fisheries activities will be low. The application for the terminal is before the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Canadian officials were not available for comment. [Source:]

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