LNG: Researcher warns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the United States that they ignore the lessons of history at their own peril.

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In a formal letter and submission, Bob Godfrey, Researcher and webmaster for savepassamaquoddybay.org warned Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that ignoring Canada’s sovereignty could have far reaching implications quoting an historical reference about another “invasion” as an example. 


01_security_cannon2St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site, St. Andrews, NB, looking southeastward. This historic site would fall within Downeast LNG ship Hazard Zone 3.

Dear Ms. Bose, FERC has continued to process Downeast LNG’s permit applications, even though Canada has firmly and on numerous occasions indicated to FERC and even to the US President, that LNG transits through Canadian waters to the proposed terminal are prohibited. The US Department of State has claimed a right of innocent passage through these Canadian waters, a right that enures only to parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) — to which the US is not a party; thus, no US right of innocent passage exists.

Additional to the United States’ false innocent-passage assertion, being overlooked is the history of dispute in this US-Canada boundary area, and its implications regarding the proposed Downeast LNG project. The US erred in its territorial claims of this region,contributing to eruption of the War of 1812, inspiring the construction of the St. Andrews Blockhouse and cannon defense against US privateering (US-sanctioned piracy) raids of the town — with the cannon aimed toward Maine, even to this very day.

(There) is an op-ed that appeared in the 2013 July 06 Saint John, New Brunswick, Telegraph Journal newspaper entitled, “The non-battle that triggered Confederation.” It tells of an unintended consequence: how armed aggression from civilians in the US against Canadian territory in Passamaquoddy Bay resulted in the confederation of Canada. The parallel to current US Government and Downeast LNG contempt for Canada’s authority over its own territory is unmistakable.

Following “The non-battle that triggered Confederation,” on page 5, is a recent political cartoon from The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, New Brunswick, of a Canadian beaver igniting a “canon” (sic; cannon) .reworks directed at Downeast LNG. The referenced cannon resides at the St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site . The cartoon appears to be the result of FERC Chair Wellinghoff’s recent dismissive letter to Canada’s Ambassador Doer regarding Canada’s sovereign authority to prohibit LNG ship transits through Head Harbour Passage and Canadian waters in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Downeast LNG is thumbing its nose directly in the face of St. Andrews, New Brunswick,Canada. The proposed terminal would literally place part of St. Andrews — ironically including the St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site — within a US Sandia National Laboratories LNG-ship Hazard Zone.

The US fraudulently claims authority to approve Downeast LNG ship transits that would place Canadian citizens, territory, and assets in physical and economic jeopardy, while simultaneously claiming that Canada has no equivalent authority.

The US Coast Guard is well aware of the anti-drug riot that occurred on 2006 July 21 on Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Island citizens, dissatisfied with the lack of anti-drug policing in the community, armed with baseball bats, knives, guns, and a can of gasoline descended upon a local drug dealer’s home, beat the drug dealer and burned his residence to the ground. Islanders took a “creative” approach to solving a problem that was not being addressed to their liking. In a 2007 letter to FERC’s Richard Hoffman, Coast Guard Captain of the Port Stephen Garrity questioned how civil disobedience in the Canadian waterway could be addressed.

History of the Passamaquoddy Bay area provides instructive lessons, in which the US lost. By abusing Canada’s sovereign authority and its citizens’ safety, the Department of State, FERC, and the Coast Guard are demonstrating they have not learned from those lessons. History is being tempted to repeat.

It is in the United States’ best interest to cease its improper processing of Downeast LNG’s applications. At the very least, FERC must deny Downeast LNG’s permits. Robert Godfrey, Researcher & Webmaster


The non-battle that triggered Confederation – Author: Gough, Joseph, Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, N.B] 06 July 2013: A.10.

The federal government is gearing up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confedera­tion in 2017. Along the way, will anyone beat the drums and sound the bagpipes for the crucial non-battle at Campobello Island that helped bring Canada into being?

It might be hard to make a Heritage Minute from the 1866 Fenian Raid. The Irish American volunteers only got part way across the fast-moving and foggy waters between Eastport, Maine and Campobello, New Brunswick. Few shots were fired and no blood was spilled. In most Canadian history texts, the Campobello raid is lucky to get half a paragraph. Yet it was the greatest battle Canada never fought, becoming a catalyst for Confederation.

The latest in a string of militant Irish-American societies, the Fenians in the 1860s at­tracted many members with military expertise gained in the United States Civil War. They reckoned that harassing British North America (BNA), still partitioned into vari­ous provinces, would aid the struggle back in Ireland for independence from Great Brit­ain.

A grandiose plan propelled their raid on Campobello Island, just off the easternmost point of Maine. According to The Last Invasion of Canada by historian Hereward Senior, the Fenians “hoped to seize and hold a bit of British territory that would become the headquarters of the Irish republic.”

This territorial base would also give them legal “belligerent status.” Fenian vessels could then prey on British shipping without running afoul of American neutrality laws. With­out such status, they were pirates; with it, they were legitimate.

New Brunswick authorities suspected a raid was coming, the British intelligence system being aided by Fenian talkativity. One well-connected Fenian turned out to be a paid in­former for the British Consul in New York. British authorities in turn told the American government about the projected Campobello campaign.

Militia units and volunteers on the New Brunswick border began gearing up for a possi­ble fight. On Campobello itself the Owen family, explorers and chartmakers for the Brit­ish Admiralty (who modestly named Owen Sound, Ontario after themselves), raised a local guard.

By mid-April 1866, an estimated 1,000 Fenians had gathered at Eastport and nearby towns along the border-defining St. Croix River. At the river’s mouth, lightly populated Campobello lay only a nautical mile offshore from Eastport.

The hundreds of strangers carrying guns and knives, some holding military drills along the riverbank, spread alarm along the border. Fears increased when on April 14 an armed party of Fenians made it as far as Indian Island, N.B. A smuggling haven during the War of 1812, this tide-churned stand of trees and sand was not even halfway to Campobello. The group stole a Union Jack and withdrew.

The mayor of Calais, Maine had already offered his cross-border neighbours sympathy and assistance. Now some worried St. Stephen families took refuge there.

The Fenians ferried in more guns on the schooner Ocean Spray, which arrived at East-port on April 17. That same day the 81-gun H.M.S. Duncan arrived from Halifax, joining other British vessels already on the scene.
American authorities themselves moved from monitoring to action. They dispatched a high-ranking general, George Meade, who on April 19 seized the weapons from the Ocean Spray. Gen. Meade warned the Fenians to obey neutrality laws.

Surrounded by forces of order, the Fenians gave it up and headed home – but with a few parting shots. On April 22 two boatloads from the Ocean Spray made another landing at Indian Island, burning down a Canada Customs warehouse and three stores. British sailors dispersed them after a small exchange of gunfire, the only shots fired during the whole venture.

The raid bore bitter fruit for the Fenians. They opposed Confederation, which had seemed uncertain. In New Brunswick, an anti-Confederation party had gained power in 1865, and opinions in Nova Scotia were sharply divided.

But after the Fenian alarm and commotion, New Brunswick voted in pro-Confederates led by Samuel Leonard Tilley. In Nova Scotia, premier Charles Tupper was now able to get the legislature to approve Confederation, which took place a little over a year later.

Quoting once more the late and distinguished Professor Senior, the Campobello venture had “far-reaching effects, as it induced New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to enter Con­federation.”  Though the Fenians were to make future raids, after 1867 they were fighting a larger en­tity. Opposing Confederation, they had helped to create it. And they further strength­ened Canada by making it popular to volunteer for the militia.

May one hope that in the run-up to the big 2017 celebration, the key event at Cam­pobello gets some attention?
Joseph Gough is a member of the Friars Bay Development Association at Campobello.


From The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB, Canada, 2013 July 02, pA4. Canada’s national animal is the beaver, shown here igniting a “canon” (sic; cannon) fuse.


LNG: Researcher warns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the United States that they ignore the lessons of history at their own peril. — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Robert Godfrey, for continuing to “do battle” on behalf of the people of Passamaquoddy Bay – we’re rooting for you to win!
    Hopefully, some day, someone deep in the bowels of FERC will listen and put an end to this damn foolishness.

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