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The Hartford Courant (Connecticut): U.S. May Act Soon On Broadwater

By DAVID FUNKHOUSER | Courant Staff Writer
March 15, 2008

The federal agency charged with reviewing the Broadwater natural gas project in Long Island Sound could make its long-awaited final decision Thursday in Washington.

The controversial project is on the agenda of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the panel will hear a presentation from its staff, said spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen.

Even if approved, the project still needs approvals from three New York State agencies to go forward. Opponents in Connecticut, including Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, have vowed to take the matter to court if Broadwater wins approval from federal and New York state regulators.

The soon-to-be governor of New York, David Paterson, said he was considering postponing a decision on the project. The New York Department of State is due to rule by April 11 whether the project meets that state’s standards for the use of coastal resources.

Paterson takes over Monday from Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who will resign from office that day following revelations of his use of a high-priced prostitution service.

“I do not know what [Spitzer’s] decision would have been,” Paterson said at a press conference Thursday. “I might actually ask for a little more time because it’s coming to that point and I really haven’t been able to look at it enough to render a decision.”

Connecticut leaders this week reiterated their fervent opposition. A joint venture of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipeline, the project would moor a 1,200-foot-long barge in the middle of the Sound to process liquefied natural gas shipped across the Atlantic and pipe it to New York and Connecticut.

FERC meets at 10 a.m. Thursday, and the meeting will be webcast live (go to www.ferc.gov, the calendar of events, to find the meeting).

The commission can vote the project up or down, or seek more information, or refer the issue to an administrative law judge if it feels there are legal issues to be resolved, Young-Allen said.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Contact David Funkhouser at [email protected].

Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-broadwater0315.artmar15,0,5394854.story

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