Maine Tribe Offers Home for Natural Gas Depot

Plan for LNG Facility on Pristine Reservation Sparks Controversy

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Passamaquoddy tribal governor Melvin Francis stands at the site proposed for the LNG facility.

Passamaquoddy tribal governor Melvin Francis stands at the site proposed for the LNG facility. Fred Bever for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Fred Bever for NPR
Tribal representative Fred Moore walks along the proposed LNG depot site.

Tribal representative Fred Moore walks along the proposed LNG depot site, a deep-water cove in Passamaquoddy Bay less than two miles from New Brunswick's territorial waters. Fred Bever for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Fred Bever for NPR

The drive to bring more natural gas into U.S. markets has touched off fights in coastal communities. Now, the impoverished Passamaquoddy tribe of eastern Maine is offering up a quarter of its tiny reservation, on a pristine part of the coast, for a $300 million liquefied natural gas facility.

The Pleasant Point reservation is picturesque but poor: As many as half of the tribe's 1,600 members are unemployed. Tribal leaders believe a depot for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, will improve those numbers. But some Passamaquoddies — and their neighbors — worry that this high-tech vision might erode traditional culture and the local environment. Fred Bever reports.

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