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St.Andrews Citizens Will Be Burning

St.Andrews Citizens Will Be Burning

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Published by Fundy Art
This opinion piece examines the real impacts of LNG tanker traffic and exclusion zones on the economy and citizens of the Quoddy Region in New Brunswick, Canada.
This opinion piece examines the real impacts of LNG tanker traffic and exclusion zones on the economy and citizens of the Quoddy Region in New Brunswick, Canada.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Fundy Art on Nov 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/09/2013

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OPINION
St. Andrews Citizens Will be Burning!
© Art MacKay, 2009, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, January 10, 2008The US Coast Guard's recently released Waterway Suitability Report,prepared for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Downeast LNG application, will have the residents of NewBrunswick's premier resort area burning again.When, on the heels of Quoddy Bay LLC's earlier proposal at Sipyik,Downeast LNGfirst introducedtheir plan to construct an LNG terminal and storage facility directly across the St. Croix River fromSt.Andrewsat Robbinston, Maine, the citizens of that resort town and the greater Quoddy Region rose asone to denounce these developments and made their position clear with submissions to FERC andgovernment officials in both Canada and the United States, Impressive, passionate, packed publicmeetings and protests were held. Subsequently, Canadian opponents to the LNG plans have beensupported at every political level in Canada. Conservative Prime Minister Harper and local Member of 
 
ParliamentHon. Greg Thompsonhave publicly and in closed session with President George Bush,expressed their firm position that tankers will not be allowed through Head Harbour Passage, the essential waterway that they consider to be internal Canadian waters and, in the long term, too valuableand hazardous a waterway to be used by supertankers. This was a similar position to that taken about30 years ago when thePittston
 of Greenwich, Conn. applied to turn Eastport and MooseIsland into a gigantic oil refinery and tank farm, threatening fishing, tourism, marine life, and whalesincluding the endangered north Atlantic right whale.In previous responses to Quoddy Bay LLC, the US Coast Guard stated that the participation of theCanadian government was paramount to their release of a similar report for Quoddy Bay LLC and itwas withheld. This is not the case with the Downeast LNG proposal. In this case, while the reportrequires Canadian consultation by Downeast LNG, the USCC has chosen to assess Canadian waterswithout the approval of Canada, an interesting move that causes great concern in a contest that, moreand more, seems to revolve around testing Canadian sovereignty and, not incidentally, Canadianresolve.As can be seen in the accompanying chart taken from the USCC Waterway Suitability Study, St.Andrews citizens can now see that they are within the hazard zone for this development. A similar study for Calais LNG will, undoubtedly, duplicate this scenario, but will move Zone 3 more deeply intothe town as tankers move up the St. Croix River.The USCC defines these zones as:
 Zone 1 (red) - 500 meter radius with resultant fire and severe thermal radiation hazards. Bydefinition these are areas in which LNG shipments occur in relatively narrow harbors or channels, or ships pass under major bridges or over tunnels, or come in within 500 meters of major infrastructure such as military installations, commercial/business centers, or national icons.
 Zone 2 (yellow with black line) - from 500 to 1600 meters with less severe thermal radiationhazards to public safety and property. These are areas of broader channel widths, larger openharbors, or over 500 meters from major critical infrastructure elements.
 Zone 3 (yellow) – from 1600 to 3500 meters with potential pockets of flammable vapor. Theseare areas where LNG traffic and deliveries occur approximately 1.6 kilometers from major infrastructure or in large bays or open water. The thermal radiation risks to public safety and  property are significantly reduced.
While thermal risks may be reduced with distance, MIT Professor EmeritusJames Fay, points out thatthe actual zone of impact, the area were fires are ignited and people suffer serious burns, may begreater than the distance used in the report. He states that, "for all credible spills, including terroristattacks on the storage tank and LNG tanker, the danger zone for humans extends almost 4 miles fromthe terminal site" or about 2.5 kilometers, and life and property will be lost from so-called collateralimpacts. This greater distance envelopes all of St. Andrews and the ability of fire departments may benon-existent since their facilities are within the real zone of impact and these professionals may well beimmobilized by an event itself. the nearest assistance would be St. Stephen and St. George.As for bringing tankers through Head Harbour Passage, this is a red herring. Of course it can be done.It's about risk analysis and the real question is just how long will it take to have an accident and at whatcost? Since LNG tankers can only enter and leave during the day, at slack tide (if that truly exists insome areas along the route), when the visibility is more than 2 miles, and the wind is less than 25 mph,

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