EDITORIAL: Floating A New Idea
by Westchester County Business Journal
May 15, 2008
The news on Broadwater Energy's proposed floating liquefied natural gas platform in the Long Island Sound arrived one-two in April. Early in the month, New York prevailed against the LNG plant via its coastal regulations and, no surprise, later in the month Broadwater said it is appealing.
The battle lines are drawn, but they need not be.
The solution is to use Plum Island as an LNG port.
Plum Island is within the political bounds of Long Island's town of Southold. It is off-limits to the public and has been for decades. It's where the government runs tests on nasty animal diseases like hoof-and-mouth. The island's main notoriety came from author Nelson DeMille, who a few years ago concocted a thriller about shady doings there.
A third bit of news in April was that the federal government wants to abandon Plum Island in favor of more advanced facilities on the U.S. mainland, possibly near the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Remote Plum Island - accessible only by government-run ferry from Orient Point at the tip of Long Island's North Fork and with no resident - has become too antiquated for modern techniques, according to news reports. Homeland Security - which did not exist for most of Plum Island's existence - is weighing in on the move. The government professes confidence it can keep the genie in the bottle if the Plum Island culture dishes migrate to new facilities.
The LNG delivered to Plum Island should go to Long Island. Connecticut would benefit by diverting Long Island-bound gas from the Iroquois Gas Transmission System from that pipeline for Connecticut's use.
The Iroquois pipeline crosses the Hudson River at Hudson in Columbia County Its big regional generating plant - Athens Gen - is in Greene County. And the tip of Long Island is way more than an afternoon jaunt on the family boat. Those points appear to sideline Westchester in the proposal we are putting forth. But we have a crystal ball and we can see that LNG opponents in the eastern Sound will try to draft their western Sound friends into the protest under a "United Sound - No Gas" banner. We suggest community residents, sailors, visitors and representatives in places like Rye, New Rochelle, Pelham and Mamaroneck stay out of the dispute. Rhode Islanders are closer to the LNG proposal; let them take a position if they want to.
The wailing and gnashing of teeth about the proposed plant seems to come from people who believe electricity originates at their wall sockets. In today's energy universe, everyone is asked to give - some even to make the ultimate sacrifice on the oil-rich dunes of the Middle East.
And, no, we are not advocating polluting the Sound. Whether the platform floats or is on Plum Island - and we are firmly in the corner of those who believe the plant must be built - we trust our environmental regulations will secure a safe, clean site.
Opponents, including Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Hell and New York's Gov. David Paterson, are pandering to so-called environmentalists, who are often hypocritically blind to their own energy use and comfy lifestyles. Aren't we supposed to be using natural gas until everyone's rooftop is a cold-fusion solar reactor that emits only rainbows?
We are on the cusp of a new, unknowable era in energy It would be wise to begin crafting solutions to demand such as the one being offered by Broadwater or we should start getting used to waking up to no electricity.
(C) 2008 Westchester County Business Journal. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States