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EastHaven Advertiser: Broadwater boils down to security issue

EXTRACT: Broadwater Energy is an entity of Royal Dutch/Shell Inc. and TransCanada Energy. Broadwater Corporation intends to erect a 1200 foot-long, 80-100 foot-high LNG terminal in the center of Long Island Sound in New York territorial waters, 11 miles off the coasts of East Haven and Branford. Ocean going tankers will deliver foreign supplies of LNG to the terminal, to service the Northeast region. The U.S. Coast Guard will have to enforce a security zone around the terminal and escort tankers delivering LNG supplies.

THE ARTICLE

By Rod Meehan, Staff writer 05/08/2007

Legislation proposed to give state a voice
 
REGION – Legislation giving Connecticut a voice over security measures, should the Broadwater liquid natural gas (LNG) floating terminal be approved, and installed in Long Island Sound, was passed by the State Senate, May 2. According to a release issued by the office of State Sen. Len Fasano: “The legislation would prohibit private security forces operating in the Sound without state permission.”

“Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven, East Haven) and Senator Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford) this week applauded Senate passage of legislation intended to give Connecticut a voice in protecting its citizens if a proposal to install a liquefied natural gas terminal 11 miles from shore in Long Island Sound is approved,” stated the release.

Fasano and Stillman co-chair the Connecticut Long Island Sound LNG Task Force. While issues of environmental impact, and the industrialization of the Sound are at stake, the new legislation may hit at the core of efforts to approve the Broadwater initiative.

Broadwater Energy is an entity of Royal Dutch/Shell Inc. and TransCanada Energy. Broadwater Corporation intends to erect a 1200 foot-long, 80-100 foot-high LNG terminal in the center of Long Island Sound in New York territorial waters, 11 miles off the coasts of East Haven and Branford.
Ocean going tankers will deliver foreign supplies of LNG to the terminal, to service the Northeast region. The U.S. Coast Guard will have to enforce a security zone around the terminal and escort tankers delivering LNG supplies.

In its Water Suitability Report issued last Sept., the Coast Guard gave tacit approval of the project given enough resources. While Connecticut has no direct formal role in the decision, state leaders, such as Fasano, Stillman and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, are leading the fight to block the project.

After a round of public hearings about the project, and a high level of citizen response opposing Broadwater, both Connecticut and New York are awaiting a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

According to Bryan Lee, spokesperson for FERC, the Broadwater Energy proposal to build the terminal will stand or fall over the subject of security. “The commission is a neutral arbiter,” said Lee, in an earlier interview. “The Chairman [Joseph T. Kelliher] has been consistent about the need for liquid natural gas (LNG). He has stated repeatedly that security is the paramount concern.”

“If this LNG is installed in Long Island Sound, security will include private forces armed with anti-terrorist weaponry,” said Fasano. “Our government needs to know who these security operators are, what kinds of weapons they have, and what the rules of engagement are.”

“More than that, Connecticut should have the right to approve these security operators, or not,” Fasano says. “We need this bill so that we have the authority we need to protect Connecticut citizens.”

“The issue is, since nobody knows what the impacts of an explosion or fire on an LNG facility is, who is going to control the weaponry,” says Fasano. “We have got to be counted.”

“I continue to hold grave reservations about the Broadwater plan for a floating LNG terminal on Long Island Sound for logistical, environmental, and economic reasons, but I also see an urgent need to move ahead with contingency plans for public safety should this facility gain approval despite our objections,” Stillman said.

“With enactment of this legislation, we’ll know shoreline residents and visitors alike are covered by emergency response plans no matter what town they’re in, and we’ll continue working to ensure Broadwater is going to be responsible for the cost of implementing these emergency plans,” said Stillman.

The recent legislation, specifically, SB 1017, an Act Concerning the Emergency Plans of Operations of Shoreline Communities and the Designation of Liquefied Natural Gas Hazard and Security Zones, requires the State Attorney General to recommend that the U.S. Coast Guard designate a hazard zone.

It further recommends that the federal government designates a security zone, around any LNG located or proposed on Long Island Sound. Such designations would require legislative and executive approval.

In addition, the bill also calls for prohibiting security services from operating in state waters without legislative and executive approval. Furthermore, shoreline communities would be required to include in their emergency operations, plans and provisions for addressing any emergency caused by an existing LNG facility on the Sound. Bill SB 1017 is now subject to further action by the state House of Representatives.

Moreover, according to Fasano, new legislation has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives giving states control over the imposition of LNG facilities within their borders.

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland 2nd), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland 7th), and Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D-Maryland 3rd) have introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives that will give local and state governments the right to veto the location of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility.

The bill would strike a provision in the Energy Act of 2005 that gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority to preempt local and state concerns about the location, construction, and operation of an LNG facility.

“As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I recently conducted a field hearing in Baltimore on Monday, April 23 to examine the safety and security of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and their impact on port operations,” said Congressman Cummings. “I remain deeply concerned about the changes made in 2005 to remove state and local authorities from critical decisions about the siting of LNG terminals.”

“I believe that local and state governments must have a decisive voice in the siting process, because they represent the communities that will be directly affected by the placement of new terminals,” Cummings said.

©The Advertiser 2007

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