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Associated Press: New Orleans court OKs Shell’s offshore LNG terminal

NEW ORLEANS A federal appellate court in New Orleans has ruled against a coalition of environmental and fishermen groups that sought to stop the Shell Oil Company from building a liquefied natural gas terminal off Louisiana’s coast.

The 5th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals says the U-S Department of Transportation “did not act arbitrarily or capriciously” when it issued a license for the terminal. The ruling was dated yesterday.

The three-judge appeals panel included Judges Patrick E. Higginbotham, W- Eugene Davis and Carl E. Stewart. Davis wrote the opinion.

Since 1993, when a slew of L-N-G companies looked to the Gulf of Mexico as the next frontier, the development of offshore terminals has become a burning topic.

Fishermen and environmentalists held rallies, protests and sponsored forums depicting the L-N-G terminals as “fish killers.”

Opposition to the facilities has derailed several projects. The latest came today with the announcement by Alabama Governor Bob Riley that ConocoPhillips has withdrawn its application to build a terminal off that state’s coast.

Shell, though, beat its competitors by submitting its application for a license before the outcry got rolling. The ruling clears the way for the company to pursue the project.

Shell insists that its facility, called Gulf Landing L-L-C, will not harm the Gulf’s fish stocks and marine environment. The company reissued that pledge today.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press.

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