Conn. AG: N.Y. Delay on LNG Plant Reveals Flaws
by Gregory B. Hladky, New Haven Register, Conn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
February 11, 2008
New York's decision to delay for two months its ruling on the proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas project for Long Island Sound is another indication of the project's problems, according to a top Connecticut official.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Friday that the delay "shows the very grave difficulties New York is having" in reviewing the $700 million project to put a floating LNG facility in the middle of the Sound.
Blumenthal said he has discussed the delay with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and warned him Connecticut would file legal challenges in the event New York decided to approve the project.
Broadwater officials, however, dismissed the 60-day delay by New York's Department of State as routine. "This is part of the review process and Broadwater expects to continue its dialogue," company officials said in a prepared statement.
Broadwater this week launched television, radio and newspaper ads in New York and Connecticut in an effort to convince residents that the project is environmentally safe and necessary to bring more energy to the region. The New York ads claim individual consumer gas bills would drop by hundreds of dollars a year as a result of the project.
Meanwhile, the new Senate chairman of the General Assembly's Environment Committee, Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, said Friday that he's written to Spitzer to urge the New York governor to block the project.
Meyer is a former New York assemblyman and a friend of Spitzer's who attended the New York governor's inauguration last year.
Noting most of the gas from the Broadwater project would go to Long Island, Meyer said in his letter about environmental concerns with the project should be paramount.
Meyer said there are other proposed LNG projects that offer a better alternative to Broadwater, which he said "would be such a profound violation of the great natural resource of Long Island Sound and its many communities."
Blumenthal said he was assured by Spitzer the delay in New York's decision was "neutral" and wasn't intended either to help or hurt the project's chances for approval.
The Broadwater project would be about 11 miles off Branford and 9 miles from Long Island, putting it in New York state waters. The location effectively removes Connecticut from the formal approval process.
Broadwater wants to anchor a floating platform the length of four football fields in the Sound to receive liquefied natural gas from tankers. The fuel would then be converted to gas and pumped through an underwater pipe to Long Island and Connecticut. But Broadwater officials have made it clear most of the gas would be destined for the more lucrative New York energy market.
Federal energy officials recently approved a report that found the project would have no significant impact on the environment of Long Island Sound, a finding many Connecticut officials dispute.
Copyright (c) 2008, New Haven Register, Conn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States