Saying Downeast LNG "jumped the gun" in its race for permits, a group of concerned residents and organizations this week has called on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to reject the company's application to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Robbinston, ME.

In filing a motion for denial with the board, intervenors Nulankeyutmonen Nkihtahkomikumon (We Take Care of Our Land) and its individual member-intervenors, Save Passamaquoddy Bay-U.S. and its individual member-intervenors, Fundy North Fishermen's Association, and Fundy Weir Fishermen's Association say that in its race to capture a portion of the highly competitive natural gas market, Downeast LNG has failed to meet the basic requirements put forth by state regulators. Those thresholds exist to avoid "wasting time and scarce public resources in reviewing applications designed merely to gain speculative marketplace advantage," the residents note.

The motion would not preclude Downeast LNG from refiling a future application. Downeast LNG is one of more than 17 U.S. competitors vying for limited development licenses to establish LNG import terminals along the East Coast. The Downeast LNG project is expected to initially consist of a single 160,000-cubic-meter LNG storage tank (possibly a second), processing equipment, a new pier and several small support buildings. Once built, the facility would receive one ship a week on average, carrying about 125,000 to 138,000 cubic meters of LNG, or about 2.6-2.8 Bcf of gas.

Downeast LNG and rival project Quoddy Bay -- a proposed 2 Bcf LNG import terminal on a Native American reservation at Split Rock, ME -- have also run into opposition from Canada, which formally protested any Maine LNG plans in February to prevent the passage of tankers off the coast of New Brunswick (see Daily GPI, Feb. 16). Attorneys for Quoddy Bay LNG LLC late last month called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to bar U.S. transportation of natural gas from a proposed Canadian LNG terminal until the Canadian government has withdrawn its threat to block U.S.-bound LNG tankers from traversing its waters (see Daily GPI, March 27).

The concerned residents group called on the board to reject Downeast LNG's application based on:

"In sum, Downeast LNG has failed to demonstrate that it has met any of these three requirements for BEP to go forward at this time with further application review," the group said. "While it is up to Downeast LNG to decide whether to participate in the permit race, participation before the BEP must be according to Maine law, and presently it is not."

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