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The Associated Press: Feds OK gas terminal between L.I., Conn.

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Mar 21, 1:34 AM ET

WASHINGTON – Federal energy regulators on Thursday approved a $700 million liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Long Island Sound, a facility opposed by the state of Connecticut and other critics who say it would damage the environment and be vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
 
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted 5-0 to approve the terminal, which would be located 9 miles from Long Island and 10 miles from Connecticut. FERC says it would be the first floating terminal in the U.S. for storage and delivery of natural gas.

The 1,200-foot-long, 82-foot-high terminal would be built by Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. that says the facility is needed to meet the region’s growing energy needs.

The project cannot go up without approval from New York officials, who have yet to decide whether to grant it. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he plans to ask for an immediate rehearing on FERC’s decision and will take the state’s arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

“FERC’s decision to approve this environmental atrocity is ill-conceived, illogical and illegal,” said Blumenthal, a Democrat. “FERC never met an energy project it didn’t like. This decision epitomizes the (Bush) administration’s lawless love for Big Energy projects, no matter how dangerous or destructive.”

Blumenthal urged New York Gov. David Paterson to “drive a stake through this monster’s heart.” Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer had planned to decide in April whether New York should issue permits, but he left office in disgrace this week and Paterson has said he may postpone that decision.

FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher said that safety is his agency’s top concern, but the region’s rising natural gas needs are also important.

“Our environmental review shows that without increased natural gas supplies in the region, consumers will experience higher prices and reduced reliability of natural gas supply,” Kelliher said.

LNG is natural gas that has been supercooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing its volume so it can be transported in a tanker.

The study by the Government Accountability Office released last year concluded that more research was needed on the risks of LNG, and found that an accident or terrorist attack on an LNG tanker ship could create a fire so intense it would burn people a mile away. Advocates for building more LNG facilities, however, say they have an excellent safety record.

FERC added what Kelliher called “extensive conditions” to the project. The more than 80 environmental, security and public safety conditions include creating a seven-tenths-of-a-mile safety and security zone around the terminal where commercial and recreational activity would be restricted.

Broadwater spokesman Gary Hale called FERC’s decision “reasonable and sensible.”

“They have input from thousands of hours of efforts from the best scientific minds in the nation, environmentalists, and from the Coast Guard,” Hale said.

About half the gas from the proposed terminal would go to New York City, roughly a quarter is targeted for Long Island and the rest would go to Connecticut.

Hale said Broadwater chose to pursue an off-shore project because it is not near large population centers and thus offers safety and security advantages. A site closer to the coast also would have raised more environmental concerns such as protecting shellfish, he said.

Plans have called for construction to begin in October 2009 and for the terminal to be operating by December 2010, though a court fight could throw that schedule off. Hale said he expects delays but is confident the terminal will be built.

“Some officials have talked about using Connecticut resources to go to court to appeal this, which I feel would be a waste of time and money, but I suspect that will happen,” he said.

The proposed Broadwater terminal would look like a ship and be moored to the bottom of the sound by a tower embedded in the sea floor, allowing it to rotate in response to wind tide and current. It would be linked to the Iroquois gas pipeline.

In January, the staff of FERC concluded that the project would have no major environmental impact but made many recommendations for mitigating potential problems.

The report cited minimal to moderate problems that could result from the disturbance of the seabed during construction, air emissions from the vaporization of the liquefied gas, and threats of leaks from ship collisions, groundings or even terrorism.

On the Net:

Broadwater: http://www.broadwaterenergy.com

FERC: http://www.ferc.gov

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080321/ap_on_re_us/lng_terminal

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

1 Comment on “The Associated Press: Feds OK gas terminal between L.I., Conn.”

  1. #1 nimby1
    on Mar 23rd, 2008 at 21:32

    According to Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand. If this an accurate forecast what can be realistically expected from the Broadwater energy project?

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