Monday, October 02, 2006

Two Editorial Opinions on the Broadwater Proposal

The New London Day had a strong editorial yesterday in reaction to the Coast Guard’s report on the safety of the Broadwater LNG terminal proposed for Long Island Sound. Its conclusion, although it doesn’t use this term, is that Broadwater will require a substantial public subsidy to keep it safe and that, for the time being at least, there’s little proof that the subsidy is justified in terms of need:

The Coast Guard points out that it doesn't have the resources to manage the risks it identifies, including possible collisions with the LNG tankers in the channels they would traverse….

To protect against such risks, the Coast Guard is proposing a security zone a square mile and a half around the LNG platform, and protective zones around the tankers while they are transiting the Sound. These would be two miles in front, a mile behind and 750 yards to either side the tankers.

The Coast Guard report says it isn't equipped to enforce these requirements on its own, and points out that Broadwater alone cannot protect against fire and other risks. These tasks will require additional help from state and local agencies. Because the tankers will pass through Rhode Island and Connecticut as well as New York waters, all three states will need to be part of the planning and reach an agreement with Broadwater over how the costs will be shared….

These social, environmental and economic costs make it particularly incumbent upon the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the body that has the final word on this proposal, to carefully consider whether there is a need that trumps the clear ecological danger posed by the Broadwater plan. A study commissioned by the Fund for the Environment asserts there is no such need, and that existing or planned LNG facilities elsewhere in the Northeast will meet the region's energy needs. Too much is at stake for the federal government to make this decision based on speculation.

Newsday, on the other hand, opines that the Coast Guard report proves that the Broadwater facility would be safe. It adds, though, that safety isn’t enough:

The comprehensive Coast Guard report settles one key question: safety. Whether a liquefied natural gas facility belongs in the Sound remains a legal, political and public policy question yet to be answered.


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