Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is hoping that a little Long Island hospitality will soften Connecticut's opposition to the Islander East pipeline that would bring more natural gas across that state and the Sound to Levy's constituency.
He received acceptances from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and an array of New York state and local government officials for a regional energy summit July 24 in Hauppauge. Representatives from National Grid, the Long Island Power Authority and environmentalists also will attend.
The event is pegged to the April rejection by New York State of Broadwater Energy's liquid natural gas barge proposed for the middle of Long Island Sound. Both state governments oppose the project. Broadwater is appealing the New York decision. Its defeat would mean the loss of the added gas supplies it would have brought to Long Island.
In a "save the date" notice for his summit, Levy said, "We need a dependable supply of clean energy to meet our growing demand and keep prices down. In particular, it is our hope we can work together to overcome the differences between New York and Connecticut officials over the proposed Islander East pipeline."
Although Blumenthal will be outnumbered by Long Islanders at the session, Levy says the intent is not to gang up on him. "It will not be a confrontational meeting," Levy said. "We're going to be very respectful of the fact that the attorney general is giving us the courtesy of having this sit-down, which we think is important to provide a breakthrough."
That has proved elusive so far. Feelings run deep in Connecticut about possible environmental damage from the pipeline proposed by National Grid and Spectra Energy, yet the Long Island Regional Planning Board has named Islander East a "project of regional significance," with a potential for positive impact.
Michael White, the board's executive director, said in a statement, "This proposed project will deliver a clean and efficient way to heat homes and businesses, and fuel power plants, while also integrating the natural gas transmission systems between New England and New York and enhancing access to virtually every major supply basin in North America."
Copyright (c) 2008, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.