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Maine tribe's LNG plan opposed

HARPSWELL, Maine -- Opponents of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at the Passamaquoddy reservation at Pleasant Point plan to challenge last month's vote authorizing tribal leaders to press ahead with the project.

A group called We Take Care of the Homeland met Friday with citizen groups that successfully defeated an LNG project in Harpswell. Former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter took part in the strategy session.

"We oppose the destruction of our homeland and our belief system," said Vera Francis, a group spokeswoman. "There just has not been ample time to consider the real cost, the real price that we would have to pay to host an LNG terminal."

Francis said her group will file a petition with leaders of the Passamaquoddy Tribal Council to seek a new vote.

Craig Francis, legal adviser to the tribe, said tribal leaders took the 192-to-132 public opinion vote as a mandate to negotiate an agreement with Quoddy Bay LLC, the Oklahoma-based group that proposed the project.

He said any attempt by the opposition group to block the negotiations, which began about two weeks ago, would be futile.

"The public opinion is clear. This project is going to happen," Francis said. "The opposition is a dollar short and a day late. There is nothing they can do now."

Quoddy Bay is seeking permission to build the terminal on a 42-acre site at the Pleasant Point reservation. Developers said the project could create up to 1,000 construction jobs and more than 50 permanent jobs.

Quoddy Bay's project surfaced after voters in Harpswell rejected a plan to develop an LNG terminal. Residents feared that the terminal, the tankers it would attract, and the underwater pipeline needed to convey the gas would destroy fishing grounds and the town's character.

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