A federal district court judge in Maine has dismissed a lawsuit brought by six residents of the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation who were seeking to derail the Quoddy Bay LNG facility proposed for development on tribal land. The judge ruled the residents lacked standing and their claims were not ripe for adjudication.
The six, who formed a group, Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtaqmikon (NN), which means "We Protect the Homeland," are dissenting members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. NN sought a declaratory order and injunctive relief against the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Interior Department for approving a lease to allow LNG project sponsors to investigate the Split Rock site on the reservation to determine its suitability for an LNG receiving terminal.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe has leased the site to the Quoddy Bay LNG project. The judge noted the BIA approval was for investigation purposes only, with the agency advising that any construction would depend on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission completing a favorable environmental impact statement.
Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., in a decision issued earlier this month, noted the group was claiming it would be harmed if an LNG terminal were to be built, "something that may not happen." He said the NN group had focused its challenge on the terminal's ultimate construction, not on any impact from the site investigation.
Further, the challenge was based on the BIA's responsibilities under the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act. Under that act BIA is responsible only to the tribe that owns the site.
The NN group is just one of a number of groups protesting the Quoddy Bay project and a rival project, the Downeast LNG project in Robbinston, about 60 miles north on the Maine coast (see NGI, Jan. 16). The Canadian ambassador to the United States also has registered his government's concerns with FERC about the hazards to Canadian communities from the transit of LNG tankers through the Bay of Fundy en route to the proposed LNG sites (see NGI, April 17). Both terminal proposals are in the pre-filing stage at the Commission.
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