Northeast LNG Projects Navigate between Scylla and Charybdis

Both the Weaver's Cove Fall River, Massachusetts project and the now-three LNG projects proposed for Maine's Passamaquoddy Bay continue to battle local and regional opposition.

Recently, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission took delivery of two commissioned reports that predicted that the Weaver's Cove LNG project would cause major traffic backups and hurt Rhode Island's marine and tourism economies.  Weaver's Cove has stated that the reports were based on flawed assumptions.  Weaver's Cove earlier this month also saw Mass. Governor Mitch Romney notify FERC of changed conditions surrounding the development of the terminal as a result of the inclusion of a provision in the recently passed federal transportation bill that mandates preservation of the Brighton Street Bridge.  It was intended that the bridge would be replaced with a drawbridge to accommodate LNG tankers that would be blocked by the existing Brighton Street Bridge.  Additionally, the U.S. Navy has asked FERC to reconsider its approval of Weaver's Cove, claiming that tankers passing through the Narragansett Bay area would interrupt testing of underwater weaponry.  Weaver's Cove immediately responded, asking FERC to deny the Navy's filing outright, because it was out of time.  The recently passed Domenici-Barton Energy Policy Act requires FERC to consult with the Pentagon on the siting of LNG facilities; whether that new law will come into play is not currently known. (Docket No. CP04-36, et al.)

In Maine, a third proposal for an LNG facility along the Maine side of the Passamaquoddy Bay has been advanced, causing several Canadian opponents to call for Ottawa's Prime Minister Martin to take action.  The opponents seek a declaration from the Prime Minister that LNG supertankers will not be allowed to cross Canadian waters to enter the Bay.  To date, none of the three proposed facilities has received the necessary regulatory approvals to proceed with the development of their respective projects.