Monday, January 16, 2006

Over the Weekend: Coast Guard Scolds Broadwater; NY Money for Sewage Work; the Orient Point Express; Baykeeper Blog

While other reporters were running around getting silly quotes from politicians about the safety risks of Broadwater’s LNG terminal, Judy Benson of the New London Day dug into the files and turned up some news: The Coast Guard has determined that Broadwater’s safety and security report is inadequate, and has told the company to do it over:

In a Dec. 21 letter to Broadwater, Coast Guard Capt. Peter Boynton indicated that the report was seriously flawed. It provides unusable information, Boynton said, because it is based on LNG terminals with smaller tanks, supplied by smaller vessels with different inner and outer hull designs from what Broadwater is proposing.

Accidental spills would also behave differently. The information, according to Boynton, is based on a Sandia National Laboratories Report that is not applicable to what Broadwater plans. Boynton, as captain of the port of Long Island Sound, is in charge of the Coast Guard's review of the Broadwater plan….

The Coast Guard asked Broadwater to conduct modeling specific to Broadwater's terminal and tankers that would simulate how they would fare in the conditions of Long Island Sound.

Among other problems, Broadwater's report uses weather conditions specific to Baltimore, not Long Island Sound, Boynton said.

Benson also learned that the Coast Guard thinks Broadwater is overdoing it in keeping information from the public for security purposes:

Boynton also said he did not agree with Broadwater's view that the report contained sensitive information that should not be made public.

"Much of the information in the report does not appear to meet the definition of sensitive security information," Boynton said. He asked that the new report be divided into sections that can be released and those that legitimately contain sensitive information.

The Broadwater plant not only would leave the region vulnerable to a disruption of energy because of terrorist attack, it also would make us dependent on unstable political regimes abroad. So argues Joel Gordes, an energy consultant and former Connecticut legislator. In the Hartford Courant, he writes:

In light of this, it is almost unconceivable that we purposely want to further expose ourselves to even greater dependency on the politics of jihadist Islam by increasing importation of LNG. While the availability of that source might continue (and it might not) it would probably be at a higher cost then we would like. That might destroy the economics of the Broadwater project, leaving us with a derelict structure in the Sound that might have to be dismantled at taxpayer expense.

For these reasons, and numerous others, this new facility has not yet passed the sniff test and requires far more scrutiny than it has gotten. Last February, after letting my security concerns be known, I was asked to meet with representatives of the Broadwater project. Armed with 21/2 pages of questions, I managed to ask about a quarter of them. I found their answers insufficient to allay my fears and their attitude dismissive.

$$$ for Treatment Plants ... With all the hoopla last week about New York State’s agreement with New York City on a nitrogen removal plan, I ignored news about state grants to North Hempstead and Westchester County for treatment plant improvements in Belgrave and Mamaroneck, respectively. From Newsday.

The casinos that are making eastern Connecticut’s Indians rich are also making life miserable for some people on Long Island’s North Fork. Residents of Southold are unhappy with all the cars that race through their town en route to the Orient Point ferry, which runs to New London. I think the casino culture is vulgar beyond belief anyway, so I’m biased, but even if I weren’t I’d sympathize with North Forkers. The ferry company, on the other hand, thinks the increased business is just fine. The New London Day.

If you’re interested in the daily musings of the Narragansett Baykeeper, Save the Bay has a new website, up this week, that will include a Baykeeper blog. It's not up yet but when it is it will be at From the Providence Journal.


Blogger long gisland said...

I appreciated your blog...and am wondering whether there are any organizations that you know of which work to combine the efforts of Long Island and Connecticut to protect the Sound...there have been too many disagreements between us neighbors and not enough collaboration on issues we can agree upon

6:17 PM  

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