Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tote That Barge

As Far Away From Long Island Sound As Possible

Broadwater, the folks who want to float a liquified natural gas (LNG) facility 9 miles off Long Island's north shore -- pluck in the middle of the Sound -- took reporters on a field trip yesterday to the proposed site.

Broadwater said the proposed floating natural gas tank is safe. The tankers that will visit the station and ply the waters of Long Island Sound are safe. The environment, and the delicate ecosystem of the pond, are safe. And Long Islanders, from the lobstermen to landlubbers, have absolutely nothing to fear. Its perfectly safe!

Apparently, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concur with Broadwater. The proposed Liquified Natural Gas Terminal sitting in the open waters of Long Island Sound, just offshore from hundreds of thousands of folks like you and I, is safe.

Hmmm. Didn't FERC certify Three Mile Island as "safe?" We wonder whether FEMA has a plan to evacuate when, heaven forbid, "safe" turns out to be not so safe.

Is the Broadwater terminal really safe from all possible causes of failure, whether by design, by disaster, or by accident?

Hey, they said the Hindenburg was "safe" too, didn't they?

Look at it this way. You have this gigantic propane tank sitting in the middle of the Sound like, well, like a duck on steroids. What if there was a terrorist attack? How about a natural disasiter, such as a hurricane? A tanker mishap? Or maybe a faulty valve or other technical malfunction?


What happens when -- not "if," but "WHEN" -- something does go terribly wrong at the Broadwater Liquified Natural Gas terminal anchored precariously in our Long Island Sound?

Man, that will be one helluva Bar-B-Q!

Sure. In theory, the proposed Broadwater facility is safe. On paper. The odds of an accident, an attack, or, dare we say, a leak (pitty the poor baymen) are remote.

Its not even unsightly -- unlike LIPA's proposed windfarm in the works for the south shore of Long Island, whose turbines will, if nothing more, forever change the Atlantic seascape.

Still, do we, as Long Islanders, want to take that risk?

We think not.

The benefits of an LNG facility literally in our backyard swimming hole aside [and we haven't been convinced that there are any real benefits for Long Island], the risks are simply too great to take that chance.

Frankly, this isn't even one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Braodwater proposal is fraught with danger and undue exposure for the entire region. Imagined doomsday scenarios are frightening enough -- even to those who do not scare easily -- that we do not have to postulate the unthinkable "what ifs" in concluding that this project should be nixed.

Civic and environmental groups, including the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, the Long Island Citizen Action Network, and the New York League of Conservation Voters, have lined up in opposition to Broadwater. Newsday, in a front page banner, once referred to Broadwater as "SHOREHAM AT SEA."

We, at The Community Alliance, join in that chorus.

The Governor, the legislatures of the State and Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, and the good citizens of Long Island -- not to mention Connecticut -- should all stand fast and SAY NO TO BROADWATER!

There is enough volatility here on our island without adding a liquified natural gas terminal to the mix.
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Click HERE to read, The Living Legend of Superman: Miracle Monday, Chapter
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1944: CLEVELAND, OHIO (pictured above)
This incident virtually stopped all development of the LNG industry for 20 years. The accident incinerated one square mile of the city. The spill that created this blast was approximately 5 per cent of the volume held by a modern LNG tanker. The explosion destroyed 79 houses, two factories, and 217 cars. Its heat reached 1000 degrees, killed 130 and injured 275. It also left 680 people homeless.

1971 LNG ship EssoBrega, La Spezia LNG Import Terminal
This is the first documented "LNG rollover" incident. The tank developed a sudden increase in pressure, and LNG vapor discharged from the safety valves and vents. The LNG did not ignite. Rollover” refers to the rapid release of LNG vapors from a storage tank caused by stratification. The potential for rollover arises when two separate layers of different densities due to different LNG compositions that exist in a tank.

An explosion occurred within an electrical substation at the Cove Point, MD receiving terminal. LNG leaked through an inadequately tightened LNG pump electrical penetration seal, vaporized, passed through 200 feet of underground electrical conduit, and entered the substation. Since natural gas was never expected in this building, there were no gas detectors installed in the building. The natural gas-air mixture was ignited by the normal arcing contacts of a circuit breaker resulting in an explosion. The explosion killed one operator in the building, seriously injured a second and caused about $3 million in damages. Although the NY fire Department listed this as a non-LNG accident, LNG was involved and a major factor in the resulting damages.

1988: Boston Spill Accident
30,000 gallons of LNG spilled in an accident in Boston. A vapor cloud hung around for hours due to the fact that there was no wind. By an act of a greater power, the gas did not ignite.

January 2004: Algiers LNG Plant Accident Caused By Gas Vapor Leaked From Pipe (source: Mobile Press Register)
A newly released document provides important insights into the chain of events that led to the January explosion of a liquefied natural gas facility in the African nation of Algeria. Several scientists who specialize in LNG research said the document indicates that a similar accident could occur at LNG plants like those proposed for Mobile Bay and elsewhere in the United States.

A PowerPoint display titled "‘The Incident at the Skikda Plant: Description and Preliminary Conclusions’ indicates, instead, that a large amount of liquid gas escaped from a pipe and formed a cloud of highly flammable and explosive vapor that hovered over the facility. The cloud exploded after coming into contact with a flame source.

"‘The fact that there was a vapor cloud is huge," said Bill Powers, an engineer based in California who has studied LNG terminals, siting issues for both onshore and offshore proposals. "We don't know if it was an LNG vapor cloud or an LPG cloud or a mix of both, but, either way, it means it is the kind of accident that could happen here.’"

Powers also felt it was noteworthy that Halliburton had conducted a major renovation of the Skikda plant in 1999, updating all of the key safety equipment and computer systems.
A Halliburton Co. Web site touts the revamped LNG terminal as a model of modern American workmanship.

Debris was flung four miles away from an LNG explosion at an industrial park 20 miles outside of Belgium. Fifteen people were killed and 120 injured, many severely burned.

2005: LNG Tankers Leak
A fleet of new ships built for BG and other companies to meet Britain's growing energy needs by bringing in liquefied natural gas (LNG) from abroad has been hit by leaks and safety scares. The problem is worrying the industry because no one has yet discovered what the exact causes of the problems are and there are fears of a design problem that could affect up to 20 vessels.

As was first reported by ABC Northern Territory, as of May 11, 2006 a Conoco Phillips plant in Darwin is still leaking gas from its LNG plant. This news comes after more than two months from the time the problem was first identified.

Source in this report: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); California Department of Energy; Surfer Magazine; Applicance Magazine; www.lngdanger.com; Guardian Unlimited; The Center for Energy Economics, Austin Texas

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