North America LNG / LPG News
Conn. Business Owner Urges Support of Broadwater
by Richard Lee, The Stamford Advocate, Conn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
February 12, 2008
Connecticut's attorney general has pledged to continue fighting plans for a natural gas terminal at the western end of Long Island Sound, but the owner of a Rowayton-based maritime consultancy said fears about the project are overblown.
Rowayton resident William Gray, president of Gray Maritime Co., has said the facility would pose no threat and reiterated statements he made last February in a column that appeared in Lloyd's List, a worldwide shipping journal.
"Quite simply put, LNG is neither explosive nor a pollutant, and it is badly needed by the country and Connecticut," said Gray, adding that he does not represent Broadwater Energy, developer of the proposed floating terminal.
Broadwater Energy is a joint venture between TransCanada and Shell U.S. Gas and Power.
Plans call for construction of the $700 million platform to start in October 2009 with operations starting in December 2010. It would be 9 miles north of Long Island and 10 miles south of Connecticut, within New York state jurisdiction.
Gray, who in 1989 was named vice chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Tanker Design Committee and is a lifetime fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, formed his consultancy in 1994 and in 1996 did Intertanko's U.S. Port & Terminal Safety Study.
He stands by his stance in the 2007 article he wrote for Lloyd's List.
"LNG is easily the least dangerous and environmentally benign hydrocarbon liquid," he said, calling some opponents to the project "scare mongers."
Navigating Long Island Sound would not prove a problem for ships carrying liquefied natural gas, said Gray, a former U.S. Navy officer who has spent more than 30 years in the tanker industry.
Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a report, which said the project would create no major environmental impact.
In response, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has urged New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to join her in opposing federal approval of the plan.
The federal commission could issue a license for Broadwater as early as mid-February, but the license cannot take effect until the project clears New York state approvals.
Opponents have claimed that the terminal, which would be linked to the Iroquois gas pipeline, would be a security risk, and that the ships serving the terminal could terrorist targets.
Despite Gray's belief that LNG transport would be safe in the Sound, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Greenwich resident, has threatened to sue New York state if it allows the project to move forward.
"I'm steadfastly opposed to Broadwater because of its severe environmental impact and security impact," he said. "We are committed to sink Broadwater in the courts, if necessary."
Should FERC approve the project, Connecticut is likely to appeal, he said, adding that he is not surprised by Gray's support of the project because companies like his could benefit.
Meanwhile, Broadwater plans to proceed and has stepped up its marketing campaign.
"Everybody has had the opportunity for a good 18 months to give their input, raise questions and provide other data sets," said Broadwater spokeswoman Froydis Cameron, who expects FERC officials to cast their votes in the first half of this year.
The project would comply with the New York state Coastal Zone Management Plan and meet the state's air and water requirements, she said.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Stamford Advocate, Conn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States