“I follow liquefied natural gas news across North America. I’m up late into the evening reading about it, until the sun goes down in Hawaii. I’m very overinformed.”
Bob Godfrey is the “researcher, news aggregator & webmaster” for Save Passamaquoddy Bay, a 3-nation alliance among residents of the US, Canada and the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The group has been working diligently to generate the grassroots resistance needed to stop LNG development in Passamaquoddy Bay. From lobstermen to second home owners to first nations leaders, many different people have contributed to stopping two LNG projects in Passamaquoddy Bay so far. The three LNG terminal developers have spent around $80m on permitting, with no ground broken. “The hydrocarbon industry is a wildcatting industry,” Bob reminds us, “they throw billions around on longshot projects that don’t make any sense.”
The story of LNG proposals in the bay involves many an acronym: from FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that issues permits for such projects, to NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act that requires thorough EIS, Environmental Impact Statements, a process that Downeast LNG has fallen short on in their most recent proposal for a natural gas import/export terminal. It’s in this policy analysis and legislative due-diligence that Bob finds his niche.
“FERC contracted assistance in preparing their EIS to a contractor inside the energy industry. We submitted comments that the proposed site is on top of a significant Passamaquoddy cultural site. They were ignored in the EIS. That’s in blatant violation of NEPA.”
“What keeps me going? Oh, my commitment to the bay, of course.” Bob has long been passionate about the unique ecology of Passamaquoddy Bay, giving lectures on its huge tides and varied inhabitants. Bob’s relationship with the Bay runs even deeper: he is the president of the Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors Association, a notorious whirlpool just off the coast where he lives in Eastport, Maine, where we were sitting with him on the deck behind an artisans’ gallery in the evening light. He gestured outwards across the water: “my artist friend drew a sketch of that island over there with a large LNG ship looming behind it. I knew we had to stop that from happening.”