PORTLAND (AP) – Natural gas companies have not lost interest in developing terminals along Maine’s coast, but most industry action is now taking place in Canada where residents have welcomed such projects.

Communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will receive relatively few financial incentives for hosting liquefied natural gas terminals, but it does not seem to matter to the Canadians.

Anadarko Canada Corp. broke ground last week on its Bear Head LNG project on Cape Breton Island. The proposed $500 million terminal is being developed on a 160-acre industrial site along the Strait of Canso.

A terminal proposed by Irving Oil for land it owns near Saint John, New Brunswick, received its environmental permits in August. The company expects to begin construction sometime next year.

Other than increased property tax revenue, Saint John will not receive direct financial benefits such as those that were offered in Maine, said Jennifer Parker, a spokeswoman for Irving.

ConocoPhillips and Trans Canada Corp. offered the town more than $8 million a year in the form of lease fees and tax revenue. But it was not enough to interest voters, who rejected the offer at a March referendum.

Earlier this year, it seemed as though LNG developers were stampeding into Maine, but today only one project remains active.

Quoddy Bay LLC is negotiating a contract with the Passamaquoddy Tribe that would give the company exclusive rights to develop an LNG terminal on tribal lands at Pleasant Point on Passamaquoddy Bay.

Quoddy Bay spokesman Jim Mitchell said negotiations have gone so well that his company is almost ready to submit a preliminary project application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We have held a series of very productive negotiations with the tribe’s lawyer,” Mitchell said. “I think we are very close. We should have a contract by the end of this year.”

But in neighboring Eastport, City Manager George Finch said there is “growing opposition” to the Quoddy Bay Project.

A citizens’ group called Save Passamaquoddy Bay has formed, and Finch said he has been authorized by the Eastport City Council to send a letter to tribal leaders stating city leaders’ concerns about the project’s impact.

But in Canada, proponents say they could not be happier with the LNG projects.

Billy Joe MacLean is the mayor of Port Hawkesbury in Nova Scotia. The town, with a population of about 4,000, is the closest community to the Bear Head project.

“LNG is a constant supply of energy that will attract other industry to this area,” MacLean said. “The big difference between Harpswell and us is that they don’t want it and we do.”



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