January 18, 2022

Quoddy Bay report finds ‘no major issues’ with LNG safety

PLEASANT POINT – Developers of the proposed Quoddy Bay LLC liquefied natural gas facility on Passamaquoddy tribal land have released a 54-page study that covers safety, security and navigational issues and, according to its promoters, concludes that “no major issues, obstacles or concerns” should keep the project from moving forward.

Dennis Bailey of Savvy Inc., the Portland public relations agency that released the document, said that the report offers “encouragement” for the Oklahoma company to proceed with its pair of proposed projects, the import terminal at Split Rock at Pleasant Point and storage tanks in nearby Robbinston.

The report shows that Split Rock could host as many as 100 LNG tankers a year, an average of two arrivals every week.

The report was prepared by TRC, an environmental and security consulting firm in Houston.

The report is titled: “Preliminary Navigational/Waterways Analysis and LNG Safety Review for LNG Import Facility for Point Pleasant, Maine.”

The terminal’s proposed location is at Pleasant Point, not Point Pleasant.

Notes the accompanying news release: “The report … concluded that the area is well-suited for the importation of liquefied natural gas, and that concerns raised by regulatory agencies can be adequately addressed.

“The waterway is deep, adequately marked, not congested, and wide enough to handle the vessels’ size proposed and frequency estimated,” the report states.

But opponents of the LNG project who have reviewed the report have called it “unconscionable.”

“It is unbelievable what the Oklahoma developers have presented in this document,” said Linda Godfrey, spokeswoman for Save Passamaquoddy Bay, the largest opposition group, which is trying to block each of the three projects for LNG facilities that have been proposed for upper Washington County.

“We all – residents, political leaders, organizations, businesses, school and health officials – need to study this document page by page and sentence by sentence,” Godfrey said last week.

But the report carries some causes for the public’s alarm, too, Godfrey said.

While the report is specific to the Split Rock project, it does not make mention of the Passamaquoddy community at Pleasant Point as a “community of concern” in the portion in which area “communities of concern” – several other area towns and cities – are identified.

Godfrey’s group has organized two public sessions to discuss the report:

. In Perry from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Crohn Center on South Meadow Road.

. In the Eastport area on Saturday, Nov. 5, at a time and place to be determined.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been invited to attend the Nov. 5 session to clarify some of the issues that the developer’s report raises.

The study addresses whether an application of the recently written Coast Guard regulations for LNG tanker safety and security – part of the federal government’s Sandia Report issued in 2004 – could be adequately applied at the Split Rock site.

According to Bailey, the study found that the stringent zones of consideration around the tankers and the terminal studied by the Sandia Report on LNG shipping safety, combined with the Coast Guard’s new regulations, can be “adequately and successfully applied” at the Split Rock site.

Brian Smith, Quoddy Bay project manager, said of the study in a prepared statement, “We believe that this report provides reassurance, not only to our investors and potential suppliers, but to the people of Washington County, that Quoddy Bay will build a safe, modern, efficient facility that will benefit the entire region.”

Not so, Godfrey believes.

“We all can gain some very sobering and shocking information from this report,” Godfrey said. “Our lives, our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives clearly are being put at risk.”

The report lists 18 recommendations for potential safety measures that would be put in place for Eastport and the Canadian communities of Deer Island and Campobello that LNG tankers would pass.

The full study is available at the developers’ Web site, www.quoddylng.com.

It is also found on the opponents’ Web site, www.savepassamaquoddybay.org, along with a glossary of alphabet-terms used within the report and questions for readers to consider.

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