Downeast LNG Toxic Contamination & Environmental Justice
St. Andrews and Passamaquoddy Bay, as viewed from the Algonquin Hotel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An organization battling the proposed Downeast LNG import terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay
at Robbinston, Maine
, recently filed comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
regarding toxins that Downeast LNG might introduce into the food supply of Native Americans and the general population in the US and Canada. Save Passamaquoddy Bay pointed to a 1976 University of Maine study that discovered heavy-metal toxins presently undisturbed in the bottom of the St. Croix River and estuary where Downeast LNG has proposed to build a 4,000-foot jetty and pier. Undisturbed, those toxins remain out of the food chain. The Downeast LNG project filings indicate that significant disturbance of the estuary bottom would occur.
Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher Robert Godfrey stated that Downeast LNG’s planned jetty and pier construction could reintroduce those toxins into the water column, contaminating fish consumed by Passamaquoddy tribal subsistence fishers, as well as consumed by the general public. That would be in violation of federal Environmental Justice obligations as represented in President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 12898 of February 1994, and would also violate common-sense public health practices.
Section 1-1 of Executive Order 12898 reads…
“Agency Responsibilities. To the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, and consistent with the principles set forth In the report on the National Performance Review, each Federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States and its territories and possessions, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of the Marian islands.”
“It is clear that heavy-metal toxic contamination resulting from the proposed Downeast LNG project would be contrary to the public health interest,” Godfrey stated, “especially those Native Americans who rightfully depend on a safe, clean natural marine food supply that is unsullied by industrial contamination such as Downeast LNG would possibly cause. This problem should alarm tribal members, the general public, and tribal, state, provincial, and federal health officials.
“Downeast LNG can add this to a long list of obstacles demonstrating their extraordinarily inappropriate site selection. Good sense dictates that Downeast LNG should have — several years ago — proposed a terminal site that is actually appropriate to their project, but they have refused to do so,” Godfrey stated. “Based on this, Save Passamaquoddy Bay indicated in our FERC filing that all involved federal agencies must fulfill their Environmental Justice responsibilities. This means investigating and likely disqualifying the proposed Downeast LNG project, based on the 1994 Environmental Justice Executive Order,” according to Godfrey.
Save Passamaquoddy Bay (SPB) is an alliance of citizens from the U.S., the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Canada, who oppose siting LNG industrial facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay, and who advocate adherence to world-recognized LNG terminal siting best safe practices as published by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO). SPB advocates creative-economy, tradition-based, and tourism-based economic development for the international Passamaquoddy Bay area.