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New York Times: The Week on Long Island: Easement for Gas Plant Is Opposed by Suffolk

Published: December 3, 2006

Suffolk County is raising objections to Broadwater Energy’s application for an easement on state-owned land under Long Island Sound for a proposed floating gas plant and connecting pipeline.

County Executive Steve Levy, an opponent of the project, said the easement, if granted, would mean the loss of 950 underwater acres to Broadwater, a partnership of the Shell Oil Company and the TransCanada Corporation. He said the easement would add to a proposed 1,722-acre security zone in surface waters around the plant and along routes used by tankers delivering liquefied natural gas.

“Here we have a private entity saying, ‘Give us 950 acres of the precious Long Island Sound so we can generate a profit,’ ” Mr. Levy said. “We think it is unwarranted.” He said the gas was unneeded.

In objections filed with the New York State Office of General Services on Nov. 15, the county argued that the application was premature because Broadwater lacked approval for the plant from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The county also said the easement would violate a county law enacted earlier this year barring such plants from the Sound.

John Hritcko Jr., Broadwater’s senior vice president, said that the application had been filed in a timely manner and that the state routinely granted easements for gas pipelines and electric cables. “This is consistent with all other pipelines and cables that cross the Sound,” he said.

The easement would cover the floor of the Sound along the 22-mile route of the proposed pipeline. Thomas A. Pohl, a lawyer in the Office of General Services in Albany, said that three Long Island towns, Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington, and the Connecticut attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, had also filed objections to the easement. Mr. Pohl said the office had not begun its reviews.
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