DEMAND AN EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND ADDITIONAL PUBLIC HEARINGS!
Although the construction of a deepwater LNG port between Jones Beach, NY and Sandy Hook, NJ could adversely affect millions of Americans, the Maritime Administration, which is in charge of the project, has announced that it will only hold two public scoping hearings on the plan. That’s the minimum allowed by law. And although the sponsor’s application runs to over 4,000 pages (of which 1,500 have been made public), it’s only giving the public until July 23rd to submit written comments on a complex, highly technical and incomplete application. (Various federal agencies have identified more than 150 “data gaps” in the documents supplied by Liberty LNG, the project’s sponsor.)
What can you do to prevent this travesty:
- TAKE ACTION! Ask the Maritime Administration to extend the comment period and schedule more public hearings.
- TAKE ACTION! Ask your congressional representative to contact the Maritime Administration and support your request. This is critically important. Federal agencies are more likely to heed congressional representatives than the general public.
- Attend the Public Hearings. Comment on the proposed LNG port – and be sure to tell the Maritime Administration that its limited public comment period and limited public hearings are inadequate and unfair!
One hearing will be in Long Beach, New York on July 9th. The other is in Edison, New Jersey on July 10th. See our homepage for details.
PREPARING COMMENTS FOR THE HEARINGS, OR TO BE SUBMITTED IN WRITING
The two public “scoping” hearings are supposed to identify all the potential impacts that need to be considered in assessing the project. Many of these adverse impacts were identified by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when he vetoed an earlier version of the project. (Liberty LNG’s new “Port Ambrose” proposal is smaller and even closer to Long Island.)
The governor’s veto and the data gaps document can both be useful in framing comments. Impacts include:
- Safety and security: An LNG port located in a densely populated area could become a terrorist target. An accident could endanger nearby communities and disrupt shipping in and out of the Port of New York and New Jersey. (See veto.)
- Water contamination: Wastewater and regasification effluent will contaminate marine waters. Accidental spills are a threat. (See veto and data gaps 63 and 71.)
- Air contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. (See data gap 10.)
- Impacts on marine life: Both the connecting pipeline and the deepwater port may negatively impact marine life. (See veto and data gaps 22,34,40-43, 45-47, 54-56, 58, 69, 70, 72,73, 130, 131 and 134.)
- Impacts on tourism, recreation and local communities. The pipeline, LNG port, and the surrounding exclusion zone could disrupt shipping, recreational activities, and commercial fisheries. (See veto and data gap 22.)
- The development of renewable energy sources will be stifled. Whether the port is used to import LNG from abroad, or to ship fracked gas overseas, an LNG port encourages continued reliance on fossil fuels at a time when we need to be developing wind, water and solar energy supplies.
- The proposed LNG port is in the middle of an area identified by the New York Power Authority as the potential site of an offshore wind farm. (See data gaps 84. 85 and 88.)
- There is no need for a natural gas import terminal. Shale gas extraction (fracking) is producing more natural gas than the domestic market can readily utilize. In fact the U.S. is now producing so much gas that the industry plans to export almost half our gas overseas. (See data gap 120.)
- A LNG port is likely to lead to more fracking. Although the port sponsors claim that their facility will be used to import gas, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act was amended in December 2012 to give port owners the right to export, as well as import, oil and gas. A LNG port off Long Island would be perfectly situated to export fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale to Europe and Asia. If that happens, then fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be ramped up, and the pressure to frack New York might prove to be irresistible.
Written comments can be submitted to:
U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management Facility
West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Refer to docket number USCG-2013-0363.
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