Monday, March 12, 2007

FERC Should Do the Broadwater Environmental Study Again or Reject the LNG Proposal

I argued in the Times a few weeks back that FERC’s environmental impact statement for the Broadwater proposal was woefully lacking – its information and analysis were inadequate, according to virtually every government agency that reviewed it, and therefore FERC should begin work on a supplemental EIS and follow it with a new public review period. Until that happens, FERC should by no means approve the proposal to put a liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

The Broadwater people didn’t like that idea and subsequently wrote to FERC that even though there were lots of unanswered questions, it didn’t matter because the EIS was good enough.

On Friday though we got another example of why the Broadwater people are wrong. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wrote a second letter to FERC (the first was back in January); this one asked a lot of pertinent questions about the safety analysis, the safety zones that would be required around the LNG terminal and the tankers that will supply it, and the worst-case scenarios should their be a leak, a fire, an explosion. (To see the letter, click here, enter “Broadwater” in the text search box, and then look for a March 9 letter from the DEC.)

The basic message of the letter was that the EIS did not provide enough information or explanation for the DEC to be satisfied with its conclusions.

Government agencies would never say this officially but I’m sure some of them are thinking it. FERC needs to stop the bullshit.

If every government agency thinks the EIS is inadequate, then get to work fixing it and let us take a look at and comment on the results.

But if the Broadwater people insist that the EIS is good enough to base a decision on, then by all means make a decision: reject the proposal.

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