A developer of a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Maine said it expects to refile its application with Maine environmental regulators after it picks a new route for a pipeline to serve the facility.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in late September rejected Downeast LNG's proposal to run a section of a 31-mile pipeline through the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Washington County, ME, saying that it was "inappropriate," said Ted O'Meara, a consultant on the project.

The FWS finding means the company no longer has "title, right or interest" in a portion of the natural gas sendout pipeline route that Downeast LNG proposed in its application, the company said. It further means that the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) no longer has the ability to proceed with the processing of the application, it noted.

O'Meara said Downeast LNG expects to refile its application with the BEP in the next few months when a new pipeline route is found. "We're looking at different alternatives now."

Downeast LNG last month sought permission from the BEP to withdraw its application on the LNG terminal, citing the unresolved issues surrounding the Moosehorn refuge and the need to include additional information from the state Department of Marine Resources in its application (see NGI, Sept. 24). The BEP denied the request.

But the "Moosehorn decision [by the FWS] forces the issue," said O'Meara, and should clear the way for Downeast LNG to refile an application with a new pipeline route.

The Downeast LNG project has faced its share of problems over the past couple of months, putting it next to the embattled Weaver's Cove LNG facility planned for Fall River, MA, in terms of the level of opposition. O'Meara disagreed, however. Weaver's Cove is an "entirely different kettle of fish."

The Downeast LNG project, which still is awaiting approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would consist of two storage tanks, a regasification facility and a pier to receive LNG carriers, according to the company. It also would include a pipeline that would connect the terminal to the existing Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline that runs from Nova Scotia, Canada, through Maine to southern New England. The proposed terminal would have storage capacity of 320,000 cubic meters, with an output capacity of 500 MMcf/d and peaking capacity of 625 MMcf/d.

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