New Route Planned for Offshore Fla. Gas Ppeline
by Brian Neill The Bradenton Herald, Fla.
June 20, 2008
Bowing to public pressure, Port Dolphin officials say they are rerouting a proposed natural gas pipeline off Anna Maria Island that had threatened a sand source used for beach renourishment.
"We've heard the community loud and clear and Port Dolphin will relocate the pipeline route away from the sand source area," company spokesman Harold Costello told a standing-room-only crowd Thursday at Port Manatee.
Costello also apologized for any failure on the part of Port Dolphin to communicate adequately with the public.
"We want to ask for another chance," Costello said. "We know we can do a better job of communicating. We will do a better job of communicating."
On the eve of Thursday's announcement, members of the Coalition of Island Elected Officials met to discuss the potential impact of the original route of the $1 billion project, planned to start 28 miles off Anna Maria's coast and run inland to Port Manatee.
Leaders had opposed the location of the pipeline because it could have added $55 million to the cost of future dredging for suitable sand in deeper waters to renourish local beaches.
Longboat Key Commissioner Randy Clair said he was pleased with Port Dolphin's spirit of cooperation and its ultimate decision to relocate the pipeline northward to avoid the sand source.
"It's better to work together and not have to spend a lot of money on legal fees to get them to relocate their pipeline route," Clair said.
Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor and Commissioner John Chappie was also encouraged by the announcement.
"I'm very pleased with what they said today," Chappie said. "It's excellent news for all of Manatee County. (The beach) is our way of life out here. It's our environment and the economy."
The Port Dolphin project would allow ships filled with liquefied natural gas to unload their product through discharging buoys in 100 feet of water off the coast. The ships can convert their liquefied cargoes into gas before unloading into the pipeline.
From there, the gas would travel 42 miles to Port Manatee, where the pipeline would link with pipelines feeding the Gulfstream Natural Gas System and the Tampa Electric Company.
Port Dolphin officials said they will work on devising an alternate route.
Manatee County commissioners also applauded the decision and asked Port Dolphin to be open to discussions about other concerns with the project in the future.
"I totally appreciate the dollars attached" to the decision to move the pipeline, Commissioner Jane von Hahmann said. "But there are other environmental issues that we have to have discussions on as well."
Copyright (c) 2008, The Bradenton Herald, Fla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Port Dolphin Project
Port Dolphin Energy LLC (subsidiary of Hoegh LNG AS)
offshore Tampa Bay, FL United States