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The Connecticut Post: Long Island Sound still endangered

Article Last Updated: 07/02/2007 10:00:33 PM EDT

Three recent environmental reports demonstrate the harsh reality that Long Island Sound remains an endangered waterway that will continue to take billions of dollars to clean up.

To our mind, those are three more good reasons why federal regulators need to reject development of an industrial use of the Sound — namely creation of a floating liquefied natural gas terminal on the New York side of the Sound about 11 miles off the Branford shore.

Let’s make one point clear: The studies are aimed at the environmental quality of Long Island Sound and not the controversial, first-of-its-kind Broadwater terminal, a joint effort of Shell Oil and TransCanada Corp.

However, the studies underline that the Sound as an estuary waterway remains in a very precarious state despite decades of federal and state efforts to revive it.

One of the reports, a federal assessment of estuaries in the nation, rates the Sound in poor condition, with vast contamination of its fisheries and its sediment. Similarly, a Long Island Sound Study report says there’s been progress in addressing the Sound’s problems, but there remains the need to curb development and pollution runoff along the Sound.

The third report comes from the state Council on Environmental Quality, which, too, raises warning flags about the stalled progress in cleaning up the Sound in recent years.

Given these reports and the nature of the floating liquefied natural gas terminal and the supertankers that would service it,

questions certainly can be raised about the environmental efficacy of adding a large-scale industrial operation atop the Sound.

We are cognizant that the New York metropolitan region is in need of greater clean energy alternatives (and natural gas certainly is a clean energy). However, it’s the location of this plant that is troubling and has been ever since it was first proposed.

It’s not only troubling to residents on this side of Long Island Sound but also to residents on Long Island, where all eight of Long Island’s state senators in the New York legislature recently wrote to Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who has yet to take a position on the project, voicing environmental concerns.

If only officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who seem inclined to steamroll most energy projects, would only listen to the people who must live with them. Let’s hope FERC officials at least peruse these new environmental studies before they complete their own final environmental impact statement on Broadwater.

http://www.connpost.com/ci_6285079?source=most_viewed

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