New York Tells Broadwater its Environmental Analysis Isn't Good Enough
Coming just weeks before the state is scheduled to make a final decision on Broadwater’s application, the letter says that Broadwater’s analysis of the environmental impacts of its LNG terminal is inadequate, and its plans for mitigating some of the environmental problems the terminal would cause in the Sound are weak. And it concludes that even if mitigation methods are strengthened, it might not be good enough.
Citizens Campaign for the Environmental got a copy of the letter and distributed it and a press release late last night. Here are a couple of excerpts (I’ve posted the letter below):
We find that the application lacks details on applicable DEC and EPA requirements, requirements we had previously told Broadwater to address….
… Projected exceedences of the SO2 PSD increments and PM2.5 standard indicate that an air permit could not be granted at this time….
Regarding the seabed pipeline, the project proposes to leave the pipeline trench open, allowing it to backfill passively over time. The Department believes that cable and pipeline trenches do not fill in naturally in all locations, as field evidence increasingly indicates, and that these open trenches present unnecessary negative impacts to aquatic biota. Accordingly, the Department objects to the open trench proposal and reiterates its position that the trench should be backfilled after pipeline installation to restore pre construction bottom topography, and eliminate negative impacts. Before the Department can determine whether to issue a WQC it will be necessary for Broadwater to more thoroughly explore and evaluate the facts and science associated with trenching alternatives including backfilling techniques.
Last, the project as proposed presents significant adverse impacts to the Long Island Sound aquatic environment and fishery through the entrainment and impingement impacts of the FSRU and LNG carriers. There are design changes suggested below to reduce this impact, but even with these changes the project=s effect on the fishery will be significant. Further assessment and consideration must be given to additional changes and mitigation measures relative to this impact. …
Here’s how CCE characterizes the letter:
“The letter was fairly scathing of the Broadwater project with regards to not only the environmental impact but it indicates that Broadwater has been displaying corporate arrogance by disregarding New York States repeated requests for accurate information,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “This letter is a terrific step in the right direction for our side. It illustrates the State is doing their due diligence and standing their ground to the corporate King Kong of Shell Oil. The Governor should be seeking advice from these state agencies and the DEC message is loud and clear.”
The issues identified in the letter are all issues that CCE has also identified over the last three years of the Broadwater battle. “The battle has never been about energy but rather about protecting the Long Island Sound,” Esposito concluded. Governor Spitzer and the New York State Department of State are due to release their decision no later than February 12, 2008.
9:50 a.m. update: The Suffolk Times has a story about the state's response, here.