New York Rejects LNG Terminal in Long Island Sound
ALBANY, New York, April 11, 2008 (ENS) - The New York Secretary of State has rejected Broadwater Energy's proposal to construct a floating Liquefied Natural Gas terminal moored and moor it in Long Island Sound. The proposal is not consistent with six Long Island Sound Coastal Management Program policies.

New York Governor David Paterson made the announcement Thursday, saying, "One of my goals as governor is to protect Long Island Sound, by preserving it as a valuable estuary, an economic engine for the region, and a key component to making Long Island's quality of life one of the best in the country. Broadwater does not pass that test,"

"Shame on us if we can't develop a responsible energy policy without sacrificing one of our greatest natural and economic resources," said Paterson.

Broadwater Energy is a joint venture between TransCanada Corporation and Shell that proposes to moor a floating LNG tanker terminal the length of three football fields and seven stories high in Long Island Sound nine miles north of the Town of Riverhead and about 11 miles from the nearest shoreline in Connecticut. As many as 156 LNG tankers would enter and exit the Sound to supply the terminal each year. The facility would be surrounded by a security zone to keep the public away.

The governor said it would be the first time in the history of Long Island Sound that a section of open water this size would be handed over to a private company to the exclusion of the public.

"Privatizing open water would be fundamentally wrong," he said, "and serve as a dangerous precedent for industrializing a body of water that people have spent years and millions of dollars trying to clean up."

Governor Paterson said the project does not guarantee low-cost gas to Long Island, and moreover, it is not needed because other alternatives exist.

This frame from an animated video shows the floating terminal on the right and a tanker coming alongside. (Image courtesy Broadwater)

He said the facility and associated pipeline and tankers would disrupt commercial and recreational fishing - disrupting a way of life on the Sound and potentially putting families out of business.

The determination comes two weeks after the bi-partisan Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved construction and operation of Broadwater.

"We are disappointed and concerned with the NYSDOS' decision," said John Hritcko, senior vice president and regional project director with Broadwater Energy. "We specifically designed this project to be consistent with the State's coastal management policies and offered a number of additional commitments that would further enhance the State's coastal resources."

Across the Sound, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell was exuberant about New York's rejection of the LNG terminal.

"This is exactly the news we hoped to hear today," she said, "that New York's Department of State has recognized the peril that the Broadwater project represents. Peril to the reinvigorated Long Island Sound; peril to the underwater environment, to the shellfish beds and lobster population; peril to fish and other aquatic species; and peril to people from a gigantic industrial platform that is a menace to navigation and an enormous, potentially explosive magnet for terrorism."

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had threatened to take Broadwater Energy to court to block the terminal, which has already received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Rell said, "An LNG project called BlueOcean is planned for the coast of New Jersey that would supply 20 percent more natural gas than Broadwater. It would be located in a less sensitive area, closer to New York, subject to less controversy and facing less opposition."

"Anyone who has ever stood on these shores and looked out over these beautiful waters understands that this is no place for a giant industrial barge," said Rell. "This is no place for a floating terrorist target. This is a place to treasure. It is an environmental jewel."

Hritcko says the regulatory process provides the project a number of options going forward and Broadwater will review the specifics of the decision before deciding on potential next steps. "We continue to believe that the Broadwater project, as proposed, is the best option for New York State to meet its growing demand for clean, affordable, reliable natural gas - and does so with no near shore or onshore impacts," he said.

Governor Paterson said his administration will develop alternatives to ensure New York's energy supply. He announced an Executive Order establishing a State Energy Planning Board consisting of representatives from energy, environmental, economic and transportation agencies to write an energy plan.

The state's energy planning statute expired in 2003 and New York has not had an energy plan since, despite the advances in technology, science and the reality of global warming.

To reduce demand, the governor has directed the state's two major power authorities to pursue energy conservation. He announced that the Long Island Power Authority is preparing a $1 billion, 10-year initiative to reduce electricity demand on Long Island and will be issuing an request for proposal for a major source of solar power for Long Island.

He said the New York Power Authority is doubling its conservation budget to $1.4 billion through 2015 to reduce electricity use by government buildings and schools throughout the state.

The governor said his administration will explore how to integrate natural gas efficiency measures into its overall efforts to reduce electricity demand 15 percent below projected levels by 2015.

The governor will begin pursuing increased gas pipeline capacity to Long Island and the downstate region, as well as examining alternative natural gas proposals, including LNG.

"One of my other goals as governor is to address high energy costs," said Paterson. "By both reducing the amount of energy demand, and aggressively pursuing new responsible supply, we can get our state on a path toward lower energy costs, economic revitalization, and a cleaner, healthier environment."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.