From: Arthur W. Cleaves, Director
A number of concerns have been presented about having a LNG facility in Maine. These concerns center around the following: Safety, Security and Regulation. In each case I believe that Maine is able to support such a facility with limited government intervention.
Safety - LNG has a remarkable safety record in that over the last 30 years there have been no deaths or serious injuries associated with the product in the United States. As I discovered LNG in not an explosive concern as when it is being released it dissipates prior to any likelihood of conditions that would support an explosion i.e. product must be contained to become explosive and if product is leaking it is not contained. Additionally as a flammable concentrations have to be in 5% to 15% vapor range to support ignition/fire. Additionally, through 49CFR section 193.2059, each facility must to develop a vapor exclusion zone of 2 1/2%. By using this percent there is an area created around the facility double in size of what could be threatened in the event of an incident. Both 49CFR and 33CFR have extensive regulations dealing with safety and planning. Interviews have been held with fire officials where LNG facilities are located they have a greater concern about other type fires and shipboard fires then a LNG fire. In cases where spills have occurred again the FD stands by and waits for the material to dissipate even in case of up to 20,000 pounds. Much of the concern also is whether this could be a terrorist target and based on the findings that as neither an explosive or flammable hazard it is unlikely that terrorists would find these facilities as an target of opportunity. Much is the same for vessels that carry LNG, being double hulled they are not susceptible to the same type of attack that damaged the USS Cole.
Security - LNG is a tightly controlled industry where security has always been a concern due to the incorrect public perception of the risk. Again both 33CFR and 49CFR have extensive sections dealing with types and amount of security. Additionally each facility has a security plan developed in conjunction with the USCG and the Captain of the Port (COTP). Since 9-11 the USCG has been mandated to escort vessels to their berths through the various channels they utilize. From here the requirements for security are covered by the CFR's. There is an opportunity to work with the COTP to ensure that security is present at all phases of the operation and due to 33CFR section 127.701 it is the responsibility of the facility to ensure that all safety and security procedures are in place. '
Regulations - LNG facilities are already covered by a number of regulations and standards: 33CFR Part 194 which covers waterfront facilities, 49 CFR Part 193 which covers LNG facilities, National Fire Protection Association (59A O l) also has standards relating to safe handling of LNG and finally through the USCG under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 they have responsibility of escort and security zones. With the amount of Federal regulation in place Maine may simply opt to continue following the Federal laws or may want under Maine's Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) implantation choose to have LNG designated to be covered by the EPCR.A requirements with the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) having oversight. At the present time the SERC does have oversight of some 1500 reporting facilities of which about 400 have an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) that is covered under existing state laws in regards to planning. Many of these facilities actually handle substances that are much more lethal then LNG and this oversight has worked well for the last 15 years.
We believe that the prospective facility owners are willing and able to provide resources at the local level that should provide for the public protection in the event of an incident. This includes training, equipment and perhaps staffing of a small Fire Department in Harpswell. Training would involve not only specific LNG training (24 hours) but also training (24 to 40 hours) for the other types of hazards that will be at the facility along with the mutual aid departments that assist Harpswell. The equipment needed would be based on a assessment of the existing equipment and what may be needed to supplement that equipment. If this facility became an EPCRA facility as part of the EPCRA law the facility is responsible for ensuring that equipment is available. Staffing will be more difficult to address as each existing facility is different in where it is located and what existing public safety was/is in place. Options could include anywhere from two to six individuals based on what was developed through the security plan as designed by the COTP and the State of Maine. There should be no direct costs to the state as much of the handling of response will either be through the USCG or local resources.
Finally, public perception should and can be addressed through Local Emergency Planning Committees who function as part of the State's EPCRA program and presently deal with these same issues on a regular basis with our existing chemical facilities.
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