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Downeast LNG, Robbiston, Maine

STATUS:  In progress with opposition

TYPE: Natural Gas

OPPOSITION:  Canadian government; environmental groups; local residents

PROSPECTS:  Indeterminate

BACKGROUND:  Downeast LNG is a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Mill Cove in Robbiston, Maine.  The 80-acre site will consist of two LNG storage tanks, a re-gasification plant, a pier to receive LNG tankers, and a send-out pipeline connecting to the existing Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.  The facility will have an average output of 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcf/d) of natural gas, with peak output of 625 million mmcf/d.  Downeast LNG was first announced in July 2005, and is projected to cost $400 million.

The Canadian government opposes certain transit in Passamaquoddy Bay, where the project would be located.  Environmental groups, Indian tribes and local residents, including Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon (We Take Care of Our Land), the Town of St. Andrews, NB, and the Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance have opposed the project throughout the approval process.  They argue environmental risk, inappropriate site selection, lack of need for LNG infrastructure, and maritime considerations are all reasons to kill the project.

In October 2007, the U.S. Department of the Interior officially denied Downeast LNG’s proposed pipeline route.  As a result, in July 2008, Downeast LNG withdrew its Maine state permit applications. The company identified a new pipeline route and obtained preliminary approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  The full Downeast LNG project received a favorable Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from FERC in May 2009 and the public comment period began.  At the time, a Final EIS was scheduled for September 2009 with FERC Certification anticipated by December 2009.  Downeast was also planning to re-file its Maine state applications in late 2009.

However, in the 13 months since receiving a Draft EIS from FERC, the Downeast project appears to have stalled.  Downeast LNG has not yet answered certain technical questions posed by FERC in the Draft EIS.  The project’s website has not been updated substantially since mid-2009.  FERC’s analysis of the Downeast LNG project, however, continues in earnest.  In September and November 2010, FERC sent letters requesting additional information from Downeast LNG to help FERC move toward a final decision on an EIS.

SOURCES:  Downeast LNG: http://www.downeastlng.com/;
MaineBiz: http://www.mainebiz.biz/news44958.html;
Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance: http://www.SavePassamaquoddyBay.org/;
Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon: http://www.WeTakeCareOfOurLand.org/

Last Updated:  November 23, 2010