North America LNG / LPG News
Conn. Officials Unhappy with Broadwater Decision
by Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, Conn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
March 14, 2008
Connecticut officials for a second day blasted the federal government's ruling on the proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas terminal, with Gov. M. Jodi Rell calling a just-released report by the state's Long Island Sound LNG Task Force "a scathing indictment" of federal regulators' failure to protect the public interest.
Rell, at a Capitol press conference, was flanked by the task force's co-chairmen, Sens. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, and Andrea Stillman, D-New London; Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and other state officials. She said the task force report found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission "failed utterly to consider all the facts."
Instead, it displayed "a singleminded focus on approving the Broadwater platform no matter what the evidence shows."
FERC, in a Jan. 11 ruling, found that the proposed floating regasification plant, which would be in the middle of Long Island Sound, 11 miles off East Haven and Branford and nine miles off Long Island, N.Y., would have limited environmental impact if proper mitigation measures were taken.
But Rell said the LNG task force found that FERC "never performed full analysis" of the potential environmental consequences or the full range of safer, better alternatives that she said would render Broadwater unnecessary. Various alternatives -- some of which are already approved -- would likely meet the energy needs of both states before Broadwater could be built, she said.
Rell said she will reach out to incoming New York Gov. David A. Paterson, who will succeed Gov. Eliot Spitzer when Spitzer's resignation becomes effective Monday. A ruling from the New York Department of State is due April 11.
Rell and Blumenthal both said that agency has expressed serious concerns.
Blumenthal said he was "very hopeful."
Fasano said that projects in the Canadian Maritime Provinces and several locations along the East Coast would provide more than enough natural gas to meet future needs.
Broadwater "clearly is an example of energy policy that's out of control, combined with corporate greed," Fasano said.
Fasano and Stillman both termed "outrageous" a statement Wednesday by John Hritcko Jr., senior vice president and regional project director of Broadwater Energy, that the task force report relied on information from a report "bought and paid for by a Broadwater opposition group."
They said the task force report relied on information collected in 16 public hearings from hundreds of documents.
Stillman pointed out several "failings" of the FERC report, including using old data and "very superficial" geologic reports. She said it "skirted issues of public safety."
Other officials present included Commissioner of Environmental Protection Gina McCarthy, Commissioner of Pubic Safety John A. Danaher III, Sens. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, and John McKinney, R-Fairfield, and Rep. Peter J. Panaroni Jr., D-Branford.
Hritcko said Thursday he had yet to see the task force report and in his previous comments, "I simply expressed concern that the press release cited a study commissioned in 2006 by a Broadwater opposition group and there was no mention of the state's own energy advisers' report, the 2007 Energy Plan, issued by the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board."
That plan "specifically recommended development of natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure including LNG import facilities," Hritcko said.
He said he had nothing to add to his previous comments, which included that Broadwater officials were disappointed "to read such a vitriolic and factually flawed press release concerning a viable proposal to address a critical issue that plagues businesses and working families."
A FERC spokeswoman has said the agency does not comment on cases in which decisions are pending.
Copyright (c) 2008, New Haven Register, Conn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States