Draft EIS for Port Dolphin Released
by Sara Kennedy The Bradenton Herald, Fla.
May 01, 2008
Construction of a natural gas terminal proposed 28 miles offshore could adversely affect marine wildlife and habitat and pose "small but potentially significant" risks, a draft environmental impact statement says.
The April 18 report addresses how the Port Dolphin LLC Deepwater Port and a 42-mile underwater pipeline linking it to Port Manatee might affect the Gulf and the Manatee County coast. Officials recommended that if a construction license is granted, special mitigation measures accompany it to lessen environmental damage.
"There are small but potentially significant risks associated with the storage and handling of LNG (liquefied natural gas)," the report noted. However, since the facility would be miles from shore, "the potential for direct impacts is minor," it said.
Construction of the $1 billion facility would produce "minor to moderate" damage to marine life, with minor long-term impacts on commercial and recreational fishing, and boating in a safety zone around the port, the report said.
However, project engineers in December filed an amended pipeline route around Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve in an effort to avoid ecological damage there, the report noted.
The report was issued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration with the assistance of eight other federal agencies.
"This company came and presented to ManaSota-88 they would do the least environmental damage they could, but it appears they're not going to live up to the promises they made," said Glenn Compton, director of the local environmental organization. "It appears there's a lot more environmental damage involved than just avoiding aquatic preserves."
The project has been proposed by Port Dolphin Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Hoegh LNG AS of Oslo, Norway.
The terminal -- the Port Dolphin Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port -- would include two submersible buoys located about three miles apart that would host specially-equipped cargo ships called "shuttle and regasification vessels."
The ships would carry liquefied cargo through an onboard system that would heat it to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, converting it to a vapor. The vaporized natural gas would be transported through a 42-mile pipeline to Port Manatee.
The company said the project would provide a more reliable source of natural gas, less vulnerable to hurricanes. The terminal's buoys are designed to drop to the sea floor during storms.
Port Manatee officials have been negotiating with the company about some aspects of the plan, but have reached no agreement, said Jill VanderPol, communications manager for the port.
Sara Kennedy, Herald business reporter, can be reached at (941) 748-0411, ext. 4500.
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