Friday, September 22, 2006

The Coast Guard's Broadwater Report: Today's News and Reactions

The A.P.'s Coast Guard-Broadwater story was up on the Courant website before noon:

A giant liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Long Island Sound poses safety and security risks that would require more firefighters, escort boats and other measures to prevent accidents or terrorist attacks, according to a Coast Guard report released today.

The Coast Guard issued a security analysis that does not take a position on the proposal by Broadwater Energy, but concludes that additional measures would be needed to "responsibly manage risks to navigation safety and security risks" associated with the project.

"Based on current levels of mission activity, Coast Guard Sector Long Island currently does not have the resources required to implement the measures that have been identified as being necessary to effectively manage the potential risk to navigation safety and maritime security associated with the Broadwater Energy proposal," the report states.

And Connecticut Fund for the Environment just sent out its statement. Excerpts:

An approximately one-and-a-half-square-mile safety and security zone would be needed to secure the proposed LNG industrial complex and, if breached, an ignitable vapor cloud could travel 4.7 miles from the complex in any direction, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Waterway Suitability Report released today.

"This report shows that the three hazard zones associated with the Shell project could significantly affect important natural resources within 70 square miles of the industrial complex and will impact commercial shipping, recreational boating, and commercial and recreational fishing within Connecticut and New York,” said Leah Schmalz, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs for Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “This proposal raises serious legal issues concerning the rights of the citizens in both states."

... An area around the industrial complex and around each of the LNG delivery tankers would be quarantined, disallowing free use by other citizens or commercial vessels. "The U.S. Coast Guard often calls Long Island Sound ‘I-95 Wet,’ but I doubt that New York and Connecticut would ever consider severely restricting traffic on I-95 three times a week for one corporation’s exclusive use," Schmalz said.

Broadwater would exclude citizens from portions of the Sound and could require them to subsidize safety and security response for the project through local cost sharing. "Allowing Shell to usurp our citizens’ rightful use to portions of the Sound is unacceptable," Schmalz said. "Furthermore it is unconscionable that it also expects us to pay for responses to emergencies arising from their facility or tankers. These two facts alone prove that this project is inappropriate for Long Island Sound."

Read the whole thing here.


Blogger Sam said...

Wow thanks for the posting, Tom. Flks down here in Texas didn't bark much about a few LNG plants but what happens is that there are three tugboats and three escort vessels in addition to whatever Coast Guard patrol is required. The entire area is shut down for several thousands of yards of the LNG tanker, and then maybe a mile or more when the tanker is discharging. So it becomes a changing, moveable security zone.

So what happens if you wander into the security zone?

Well, I've been there and done that, near an artillery range (Maryland) and a refinery (Freeport). Security at first seems real easy and nobody cares. Then a boat with a black and white checkered flag will come out and tell you to get the heck away, over a bullhorn. Then the Coasties are alerted and you hope you are OUT of the security zone by the time they show up.

It is a very unpleasant experience, since many sailors sail and motor in restricted places all the time. But in this case, and since 9-11, they take their job very serously and you could end up in the slammer if you do not cooperate. /Sam

7:17 PM  

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