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New Haven Register ( Connecticut ): State wants more say in LNG plan

Associated Press
02/16/2007

HARTFORD — Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation designed to give the state a louder voice when it comes to security issues surrounding a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound.

But a spokesman for the developer, Broadwater Energy, said Thursday he believes the bills are just a way for opponents to try and derail the project.

The legislature’s Public Safety Committee heard testimony Thursday on several bills, including a proposal that would require Broadwater Energy to gain state approval before hiring a private, armed security force for the floating terminal.

Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, said the terminal is supposed to be guarded by a private security force using patrol boats. He said the state would have no jurisdiction over those security guards under current state law.

“We don’t want someone out there with their armed patrol boats, unless this state … knows who these people are and how they’re qualified,” he told the committee.

Broadwater spokesman Gary Vale said a decision has not yet been made about how the private security force would operate.

“Those final determinations will be made and Broadwater will commit to whatever they are required to do to protect public safety,” Vale said.

Broadwater Energy — a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. — is seeking permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the $700 million terminal about nine miles off Wading River, N.Y., and 10 miles south of New Haven.

Two bills discussed at Thursday’s hearing would require the attorney general and state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to make recommendations to the federal government concerning a security zone around the gas terminal. Any zone and the use of any private security on state waters would have to be approved by the governor and General Assembly under the proposed legislation.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also suggested that state lawmakers consider a permanent tax on any large-scale, permanent project on Long Island Sound, such as the LNG terminal, that creates additional expenses for state and local public safety departments. Under his plan, the state tax department would calculate the annual cost.

Vale said Broadwater will be required to reimburse any local public safety expenses.

Natural gas is shipped in massive refrigerated tankers after being cooled and condensed into a liquid referred to as liquefied natural gas. Under the Broadwater proposal, LNG tankers would dock at the terminal, and the fuel would be warmed up to a gas. It would then be pumped through an existing underwater pipeline system that serves Long Island and Connecticut.

Broadwater officials say the terminal is needed to meet the growing demand for natural gas.

About half of the gas from the proposed terminal would go to New York City. Between 25 and 30 percent is targeted for Long Island, and the rest would go to Connecticut.

Also Thursday, U.S. Rep. Tom Bishop, D-NY, sent a letter to the chairman of the congressional subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, urging him to schedule a congressional field hearing on the effects of liquefied natural gas terminals on the U.S. Coast Guard’s manpower and resources.

©New Haven Register 2007

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