North America LNG / LPG News
Broadwater Weighs Appeal; Conn. Governor Parties
by Ken Dixon Connecticut Post, Bridgeport
April 14, 2008
Conn. Gov. M. Jodi Rell threw a little beach party Thursday to celebrate New York state's rejection of the controversial Broadwater liquefied natural gas platform in Long Island Sound.
But she and other top state officials, as well as environmental activists who have fought the proposal for nearly three years, anticipate appeals from the international consortium that wants to build the $700 million LNG platform about 10 miles off the coast of Guilford.
Broadwater was "disappointed" with the defeat and a spokesman said that Connecticut is turning down a chance to save on rising energy costs that are at least partially responsible for about 2,700 state businesses closing during the first quarter of 2008.
Rell, during a news conference at Silver Sands State Park, said New York Gov. David Paterson called her Wednesday night with the good news that the billion-cubic-feet-per-day facility was sunk.
"I can only sum this up in three words," Rell said. "We did it. We did it. We did it and against an awful lot of odds, I'll tell you."
At around the same time, Paterson, in a news conference on the other side of the Sound, said the LNG platform would have set "a dangerous precedent of industrializing a waterway" that generations of people have tried to preserve.
New York's Department of State said the 1,200-foot-long, 82-foot-high platform would create environmental, navigational and safety hazards in the Sound.
"It is a real, true, enormous potentially explosive magnet for terrorism that would be sitting right out here in Long Island Sound," Rell said to a group of about 30 beach visitors and about 20 reporters and photographers.
"Today's decision truly is a relief," Rell said, stressing that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved the Broadwater proposal, failed to see what Connecticut and New York officials found in the way of potential dangers.
She said FERC's assumption that the region would soon need a billion cubic feet a day of gas was overstated and wrong. Under the Broadwater proposal, New York would receive three quarters of the daily 1 billion cubic feet of LNG, while Connecticut would receive about 250,000 cubic feet daily.
Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that there are at least two other proposals for natural gas that would be located in safer spots off New York's Atlantic coast.
"It is truly an example of citizen advocacy at its best," Blumenthal said, detailing a Thursday phone call from Paterson to talk about the rejection of the Broadwater proposal.
"This issue is not over," Blumenthal said. "There's a right of appeal and count on it, Broadwater will take it. We have to be prepared and as relentless in this appeal as we have been in fighting so far, because as sure as the sun is out today, we will see Broadwater go to the United States secretary of commerce."
Broadwater has 30 days to file that appeal, then the commerce secretary would have 220 days to make a decision that could then be challenged in federal appeals courts in either New York or Washington, Blumenthal said.
Gary Hale, a former state senator who is spokesman for Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., said in the state Capitol Thursday morning that the group is "very disappointed."
He said that FERC and security experts with the U.S. Coast Guard thought the proposal would work and that the natural gas is "desperately needed" both in New York and Connecticut.
"It's a major setback for the people of Connecticut, for the businesses of Connecticut and for those who are struggling to get through this recession," Hale said, adding that Broadwater is weighing its legal options.
Hale blamed the defeat on "politics" and Connecticut's apparent "government by press release" at a time when energy prices are hurting school system budgets throughout the state.
Hale said the LNG could help convert the state's coal-burning power plants to cleaner gas-fired facilities.
"Who loses as a result of that?" he said. "People who have respiratory problems, kids in the inner cities and poorer neighborhoods that have higher asthma rates. There will be no press conferences in an inner city today."
Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound, a program of the nonprofit Connecticut Fund for the Environment, hailed New York's rejection of the plan.
"We can and should encourage a considerate and thoughtful discussion about how best to meet regional energy needs without exacting an unacceptable toll on our environment," she said. "Broadwater was simply not the answer to the energy question."
Copyright (c) 2008, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States