Thursday, November 5, 2015

LNG facility off coast slammed at NY and NJ hearings

Hundreds of people crowded a hearing at the Long Beach Hotel on Monday night to voice their opinions on a controversial plan to build a liquefied natural gas import facility roughly 16 nautical miles off Jones Beach, Matthew Ern reported in the LI Herald.
Port Ambrose, the facility proposed by Liberty Natural Gas LLC, would consist of a series of underwater pipelines and buoys that would facilitate the processing and pumping of tens of millions of gallons of natural gas through the Transco natural gas pipeline, which runs from South Texas to New York.
The company would need federal and state approval to build the terminal in federal waters, and Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie are both expected to weigh in on the project. Either one of them could bring the planning to an end with a veto.
The governors will have their first opportunity to rule on the proposal on Friday, and the window will close on Dec. 21, though the project’s opponents have expressed the hope that Cuomo will reach a decision soon. If neither governor acts, the project will move forward.
Hundreds of residents, environmental groups and local officials presented near-unanimous opposition to the project throughout four hours of testimony on Monday. State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford and all five members of the Long Beach City Council spoke out against it. County Legislator Laura Curran, who was unable to attend, sent a representative to speak on her behalf in opposition as well.
At a hearing held last night in Eatontown, NJ, Wayne Parry reports for AP:
Opponents...blasted the plan Wednesday as a dirty, dangerous boondoggle, while supporters hailed it as a source of cheap energy that will lower home heating bills in winter.
At the first of two New Jersey public hearings on the plan, environmental groups lined up against it. Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, said, "It is now time to put an end to this harmful, dangerous and unnecessary project."
"They call it Liberty Natural Gas, but with this project, it's the opposite," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "Patrick Henry famously said, 'Give me liberty or give me death.' With this proposal, we may get both. If there is a storm or accident, this is a giant bomb off our coast."
"The area that they are proposing to use is important fishing grounds for fluke and squid," added Capt. James Lovgren of the Fisherman's Dock Co-Op in Point Pleasant Beach. "Generations of fishermen have been working these areas for 300 years. Putting an LNG terminal on traditional fishing is taking money out of fishermen's wallets and into the pockets of a greedy gas company."
In addition to concerns over an accident or terrorist attack, environmentalists say, the terminal is not needed because the U.S. already has large supplies of domestically produced natural gas.
But Liberty says the project will help by bringing additional gas supplies to the New York metropolitan area during periods of peak demand, including extreme cold snaps. The company says the facility will be used solely to bring liquefied natural gas into the country and not to export it, as many opponents fear.
Roger Whelan, the company's CEO, said the federal review "confirms that the project is needed, the location is safe, and the impacts to the environment are minimal."
Capt. Steven Werse, an official with the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, said the project will help the maritime trades.
"This project creates good paying, local jobs — the kind of jobs you can raise a family on, the kind of jobs that are worth having," he said. "This project will also reduce energy costs for working families during the cold winter months."
First proposed in 2008, the plan is proposed for federal waters 19 miles off Jones Beach, New York, and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a previous version of the proposal in 2011, and opponents want him to do so again. The governor, a Republican presidential candidate, has not said whether he will. But in a 2011 speech, Christie said, "My opposition to this will continue for as long as I'm governor."
A final hearing will take place tonight in Eatontown. Details below.

November 5, 2015
Public Hearing on Port Ambrose LNG import facility 
Sheraton in Eatontown, NJ 
Open house: 4:30 - 5:30 PM 
Hearing: 6PM to 10PM
Click here to RSVP.

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