Shell Game Appears Dead In Water
As expected, NY Governor David Paterson said NO to Braodwater, acknowledging the need to increase access to and lower the price of natural gas, but balancing this against the equally compelling cause of preserving the Sound and protecting Long Island.
In applauding the Governor's courageous decision to put the interests of the people before the profits of energy moguls, we still must keep in mind that -- proclivities to say "no" to almost everything, including wind turbines and solar power -- aside, there remains a crisis of consumption that threatens Long Island and beyond.
We have to come to grips, and develop a workable plan, to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, as well as our thirst for gas itself, and use good old American know-how (the kind this nation was founded upon) to come up with alternative energy sources that will be cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and forward-looking. Energy for a 21st century America.
Meanwhile, Broadwater, sinking fast and holding on to an anchor, can appeal to the feds for relief.
Barring a reprieve from Dick Cheney & Friends, however, this deal should be allowed to sink to the bottom of Long Island Sound, never to be raised in these waters again.
Our thanks to Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and to all of you who, through your telephone calls, letters, and e-mails, led the challenge to Broadwater, and helped to save our Sound.
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Paterson nixes Broadwater plan for Long Island Sound
By Tom Incantalupo
Gov. David Paterson made it official Thursday afternoon, denying the neccessary state approval for the Broadwater liquefied natural gas project proposed for Long Island Sound.
Speaking at a news conference at Sunken Meadow State Park, Paterson, who inherited the thorny Broadwater issue when he took over for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, said the facility would not guarrantee low cost natural gas to Long Island. He said it would disrupt commercial and recreational fishing and would, in essence, turn over a section of the sound to a private company at the exclusion of the general public.
Calling energy "our new currency," Paterson spent much of his speech talking about energy alternatives could be developed to replace whatever capacity Broadwater would have provided.
Paterson spoke to a cheering crowd of activists and legislators gathered on the park's boardwalk.
But Broadwater Energy, the joint Shell and TransCanada joint venture proposing the 1,200-by-200-foot floating liquid natural gas processing plant, said earlier Thursday it wasn't giving up -- at least not yet. John Hritcko, senior vice president and regional project director, said in a statement, "The regulatory process provides Broadwater a number of options going forward and we intend to fully review the decision and findings, then evaluate the project's next steps."Those options including appealing the state's rejection to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and going to court.
Broadwater has contended that Long Island and the rest of the region will need the billion cubic feet of natural gas the plan would produce. But Kevin Law, President and chief executive officer of the Long Island Power Authority, said the Island's principal electricity supplier wasn't counting on it.
"Broadwater was never the be-all and end-all for Long Island's energy future," he said, adding that he supports Paterson's decision. He said, however, that altenatives like added pipeline capacity or a liquid natural gas terminal in a different location should be explored.
Project opponents on both sides of the Sound were reveling in a victory Thursday. "I would say this is the end," said Connecticut State Senator Leonard Fasano, (R- North Haven), who head a governor's task force in that study to study the Broadwater proposal.Paterson introduced other speakers who applauded his decision. Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) praised the Governor for "saving" Long Island Sound. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy thanked Patterson for listening about the need to "prevent the industrialization of Long Island Sound."
Levy said he wasn't opposed to natural gas barges in all locations, just the Sound. Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) ageed with the denial of Broadwater and said there was a critical need for a national and local energy policy.
Others were less sanguine. Matthew T. Crosson, president of the Long Island Association, the island's largest business group and a conditional supporter of Broadwater, said, "As proposed, the Broadwater project would have disproportionately burdened Long Island without producing a corresponding benefit to the region...[However] it is now incumbent upon Governor Paterson to clearly state how New York will help Long Island meet its energy needs in practical, low-cost ways that can be achieved in the near future."
Paterson's long-awaited announcement ended weeks of speculation about the new governor's stand on one of the most controversial Long Island projects since the Shoreham nuclear power plant two decades ago.Broadwater Energy had hoped to have the facility in operation in 2011, taking on super-cold liquified natural gas from tankers, heating it to return it to a gaseous state, then shipping west via a new 25 mile-long pipeline to have been laid on the sound floor. That pipeline would have connected with an existing one that runs across the Sound from Connecticut to Northport.
Paterson had been working against a deadline of Saturday by which the state's Department of State had to decide whether to grant a permit for the regassification plant, which Broadwater Energy has contended would increase gas supplies for the region's growing needs and help control price increases.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously voted in Washington, D.C, last month to approve the project, which would have been sited about nine miles north of Wading River. It issued 80 stipulations that the project's designers must take to reduce the environmental and safety impacts of what would be the nation's first floating liquefied natural gas processing plant.
The State of Connecticut, which has opposed the project from the start, last week formally asked the federal energy to reconsider its approval. Connecticut officials also vowed to fight in federal court if their request is rejected.
A consultant's report released in July by the Long Island Power Authority said the billion cubic feet of additional gas from Broadwater would have saved New Yorkers a total of $14.8 billion in natural gas and electricity costs between 2010 when the facility would begin operating and 2020. The report did not promise rates lower than they are now, however -- only lower than what they would have been without Broadwater -- about 17 percent lower in the case of natural gas.
Broadwater opponents conceded the need for more energy but contend that a site in the Atlantic ocean and further from land is preferable to Broadwater's mid-Sound site.
In fact, ExxonMobil and a private investor group each have proposed liquid natural gas terminals in the Atlantic -- east of New Jersey and south of Long Island. Both projects are pending federal approvals.
Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.