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Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Tom and Natural Gas

Tom (or is it T.I.B.S.) - I am hoping to visit the fine Blue State of Maine this summer. Perhaps you can help me support the local Harpswell economy by buying some lobster from their fisherman. I will bring Utz potato chips, Dominion beer, and some barbeque. But I want only Harpswell lobsters. As far as your flatulence cell, you may be on to something that might work up there and in Vermont. Some places allow the capture and use of methane from capped waste dumps, some don't. Cows make a lot of it.

Despite the Maine population wanting to remain all granola and Vermont-like, believing that they only use wood and bio-based fuel and wind mills to heat and power their homes, the truth is, that as recent as five years ago Maine was consuming 5.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year.

The town of Harpswell Maine was approached by a joint venture between ConocoPhillips (CP)and TransCanada to build and operate a Liquid Natural Gas port and facility that would supply natural gas to the Northeast states not Canada. The proposed site was a brownfield that was a former Naval Fuel storage depot. Prior to any operating license being granted, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would have to perform an emergency preparedness and response and safety analysis, which includes an analysis of terrorism threats. As a result, proper measures would have to be taken, either by the companies or the town, to ensure that the proper emergency and safety measures are in place.

The Governor, State Legislature, and Congressional delegation supported the project. The towns people rejected the project by a 55 to 45% vote. So be it. I won't shed a tear for New Englanders when they continue to complain about the loss of manufacturing (natural gas is the preferred fuel by industrial facilities and electricity generation. Industry likes to site plants close to the source.) or the high costs of heating their homes or operating their businesses.

And the fact remains - the American people want cheap gasoline, natural gas, and electricity. They want their goods, services, products and businesses to benefit from the same. And its okay if they continue to produce oil and gas in Texas, Louisiana, and the Rockies, but no where else. And especially don't ruin my ocean views (Mr. Cronkite, Kerry, and Kennedy) or drill even thirty miles off my beaches (FL, GA, SC, NC, VA).

Facts about the Harpswell Maine proposed Liquid Natural Gas facility:

Harpswell population: 5,239
Employed: 2,547
Med. income: $40,611
Tax revenue promised by CP to the town: $8 million annually (per capita: $1,527)
Construction jobs: 900 over 3 years
Permanent jobs on site: 50
Other projected jobs: ?

(This is becoming a fun issue for me to tweak the sometimes squishy Tom T.I.B.S. about....)

And I'll pass along to others that you are willing to allow drilling in your backyard.

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