If you have ever been to Washington County, Maine and driven around on the back roads you will agree with me when I say much of that County is dirt poor. In fact, statistics show that in many ways it is much worse off than Northern New Brunswick. It is suffering steep population decline, low rates of literacy, high rates of poverty and it is mostly cut off from the economic growth found in southern Maine.
So that’s why I have some sympathy for folks calling for LNG plant (s) in the County. I realize the the tourism considerations on the Canadian side and am also sympathetic to those (however, I am not as sympathatic to the environmental concerns – the Saint John LNG plant has a fives greater population density than the proposed sites in Washington county should anything go wrong. Besides, as someone from Washington County recently said to me, New Brunswick didn’t ask for Maine’s permission when it decided to refurbish the Lepreau nuclear reactor and a serious environmental breach at that facility would certainly wreak havoc on the Maine side as well.)
But I digress.
A story in the Telegraph-Journal today has Bernard Lord vehemently opposed to the Washington County LNG plant while in the same newspaper there is a story entitled Natural gas seen as key to Northern N.B.’s economic future. Northern NB wants the government to subsidize the development of a natural gas lateral through the northern part of the province.
I don’t think we should lose the underlying message here. These are desperate times for places like northern NB and northern Maine. What government leaders don’t seem to understand is that the very survival of many of these communities is at stake.
According to the article, no members of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party attended the forum in Bathurst this weekend that looked at the region’s future.
Woody Allen’s once said that 90% of life is just showing up. Well, for northern NB I am not sure the PCs are even showing up.