by Chris Buchanan, Defending Water for Life in Maine, February 25, 2012
Defending Water for Life has been an active part of the campaign to oppose the proposed East-West highway. A few days ago, one of our allies found what appears to be the link between the east-west highway, the Canadian fracking fields surrounding Maine, and the proposed LPG tank in Searsport.
On either side of Maine, in Quebec and New Brunswick, are multiple huge leases for natural gas fracking. The east-west highway route through Maine links them seamlessly. Therefore, as a private throughway, we suspect that one of the highway investors’ first additional moves will be to run a LNG pipeline, that connects Canadian LNG supplies, and provides even greater returns for the highway investors, in addition to tolls they’d receive from Canadian transport trucks. Peter Vigue of Cianbro announced his vision to use the highway as a multi-use corridor during his presentation to the Transportation Committee during the public hearing on Valentine’s day. As a private throughway, it’d be up to federal and state regulatory agencies to stop this pipeline, since people across Maine will not have a voice.
This larger energy scheme that benefits private investors, but only uses Maine as a throughway, deepens our concerns about how severely the highway will exploit Maine. But there is more. Companies in Canada have started to use gelled propane instead of chemical water to extract LNG. A November 15, 2011 article in Chemistry World states, “’This is a game changer for the industry,’ says Don LeBlanc, principal consultant at Eastex Petroleum Consultants in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who has been involved in shale gas trials with gelled propane in New Brunswick, Canada.”
Fracking businesses have been under pressure for poisoning freshwater aquifers. By switching to a petroleum based product like propane, they are able to extract more LNG, and recapture the propane as a net gain. They add a nerve inhibitor to gel the propane to the required consistency. In addition, propane may be used as an agent to liquefy the natural gas, which makes it possible to store and transport.
From an investor’s prospective, a LPG tank in Searsport is a great idea. From there, they can truck the propane to Canada to use for fracking shale gas. Due to the existing pipeline, there is not a domestic need in Maine for more propane.
This is a highly organized energy triad, poised to make a few people very wealthy at the cost of Maine’s people and the land we need to survive. We were confused why Searsport selectmen were supporting the east-west highway, but now it is clear there is a lot of money involved. Please visit www.defendingwater.net/maine/east-west-highway/ for more information, and write to your representatives before Tuesday February 28th, which is the first day this bill to use public money to fund a study for private investors may come to the floor of the Maine House of Representatives.