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Cablegate: Energy Topics Highlight New England Governors and Eastern

VZCZCXRO2252
RR RUEHGA RUEHMT RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHHA #0065/01 2891710
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161710Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL HALIFAX
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1436
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0643
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHHA/AMCONSUL HALIFAX 1529

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HALIFAX 000065

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ETRD ECON ECIN ENRG EPET SENV TBIO
SUBJECT: ENERGY TOPICS HIGHLIGHT NEW ENGLAND GOVERNORS AND EASTERN
CANADIAN PREMIERS ANNUAL MEETING

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1. SUMMARY: Political leaders from New England and Eastern
Canada gathered in Saint John New Brunswick September 13-15 to
discuss topics such as cross-border energy, the environment,
opportunities within the green economy, trade and pandemic
preparedness. Despite the geniality among the governors and
premiers in this their 33rd annual meeting, a contentious issue
between Maine and New Brunswick over proposed LNG plants caused
some friction outside the meeting room. The State of
Massachusetts will host the meeting next year, although the
Governors and Premiers have not decided on a date or location in
the state. END SUMMARY

2. The New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers
(NEG/ECP) held their 33rd annual meeting in Saint John, New
Brunswick, September 13-15. All five of the Premiers attended,
joined by three of the six New England Governors (two of the
governors sent representatives). Also in attendance were
Canadian Consul General Neil LeBlanc of Boston and AmEmb Ottawa
Economic Minister Counselor Eric Benjaminson although neither
had an official role in the program. The theme of the meeting,
co-chaired by New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham and Maine
Governor John Baldacci, was "Close Collaboration - Stronger
Economies". Consistent with that theme, the agenda focused on
topics that reflected the now traditional areas where the
NEG/ECP have a long history of collaborative achievements:
energy, the environment, opportunities in the new green economy,
trade and a relatively new topic, pandemic preparedness. In all
the leaders concluded their discussions by passing several
resolutions on these topics. Complete texts of the documents
are available online at: www.scics.gc.ca/confer09_e.html.

3. Notable highlights of the resolutions include:

--The Green Economy: Speakers from the private sector told the
NEG/ECP of the significant opportunities in new technologies and
clean energy which prompted the leaders to make a commitment to
foster a transition to the green economy in their own
jurisdictions. (FYI: The Governors and Premiers also made a
favorable reference to President Obama's commitment to this same
issue. END FYI)

--Renewable energy: The leaders resolved to urge their
respective federal leaders to recognize hydroelectricity as a
renewable energy source, a move especially welcomed by hydro
power producers Quebec and Newfoundland-Labrador. Tied in with
the corresponding resolution on the green economy, the NEG/ECP
also acknowledged that greenhouse gas reduction targets will
spur opportunities for developing cost-effective, renewable
energy resources.

--Climate Change: The NEG/ECP also highlighted the progress
made by the cross-border Climate Change Steering Committee and
especially how that was significant given the upcoming U.N.
meeting on climate change in Copenhagen.

--Energy Efficiency: The Governors and Premiers called on their
federal leaders to help promote and fund energy efficiency
programs that address climate change, specifically mentioning
the "cap and trade" system.

--Pandemic Preparedness: For the past 10 years the NEG/ECP has
fostered mutual assistance among their respective jurisdictions
in managing disasters and emergencies. The leaders pledged they
would use this same cooperative resource in preparing for any
widespread outbreaks of the H1N1 virus.

--Open and Secure Trade: The NEG/ECP resolved to promote open
trade policies within the region, recognizing the importance of
trade to their respective economies.

4. Responsibility for hosting the NEG/ECP meetings rotates
among the jurisdictions, and next in line to play host for the
34th meeting in 2010 is the State of Massachusetts. However,
the leaders have not decided on a specific place in
Massachusetts or the date. (One of the factors is when New

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Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham will make his re-election bid
which is predicted to be some time in 2010.

6. COMMENT: Although the governors and premiers were quick to
praise their longstanding cooperative work in critical areas,
behind the scenes there are inevitable issues that arise between
jurisdictions as is the current case between New Brunswick and
Maine. American investors want to build two liquefied natural
gas (LNG) terminals on the Maine shores of Passamaquoddy Bay
across from New Brunswick. Because of local opposition, the
governments of New Brunswick and Canada oppose the projects, and
Canada has also asserted that it can bar LNG tankers from
transiting Canada's Head Harbor Passage, the only way to reach
Passamaquoddy Bay. Maine is upset by these assertions, and as
emphasized to Econ Min-Counselor by the Governor himself, is
emphatic in wanting to see the plants get built because of the
boost they would give to an economically depressed area of the
state. Notwithstanding the strong rhetoric on both sides on
this issue, it failed to overshadow the event or dampen the
participants' enthusiasm. In all the NEG/ECP meeting once again
lived up to its billing as an effective tool in cross-border
relations. END COMMENT

7. This cable was coordinated with AmEmbassy Ottawa.
MILLMAN

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