Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Quick Look Back at the Start of the Broadwater Issue and the Interest In It

It was purely coincidental that I started this blog during the week in December 2004 that the Broadwater people first went public with their proposal to put an LNG terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound. It has been satisfying that over all the months that have passed, the issue of putting an industrial facility in the Sound was a key one.

Here's what I wrote on December 5, 2004:

To me, the key issue won't be the risk of explosion or the possible effect on lobsters ... but rather the appropriateness of Long Island Sound becoming an indusustrial site. Not the Sound's harbors or cities, mind you, but the Sound itself.

Do we want businesses to be able to establish major industrial facilities on the Sound, and do we want to look at major industrial facilities on the Sound. I argue in my book that it was attitudes about what Long Island Sound was best used for that allowed it to become the place where we dumped our industrial waste and then our household waste (that is, our sewage), which in turn led to the pollution problems we're trying to fix now.

The Broadwater LNG terminal would not be dumping into the Sound, but the proposal embodies an attitude about what Long Island Sound is best used for that hearkens back to the bad old days.

When the New York Department of State issued its decision rejecting Broadwater last week, this was the first reason it gave:

1. Long Island Sound is not an industrial park. It is an Estuary of National Significance designated by Congress 20 years ago.

2. Broadwater would be precedent-setting and would permanently change Long Island Sound from a place used for recreation, tourism, and traditional maritime activities to a place where more on-water industrial development could happen.

Was I unusually perceptive way back then? Nope. Just stating the obvious.

The other thing I wanted to mentioned is my own gauge of how much interest there is in Broadwater. Until last week this blog had been averaging about 325 page views a day, and 200 unique visitors. But with the Broadwater decision looming, the averages for Tuesday through Friday of last week were 473 and 336, with a peak of 579 page views and 405 unique visitors on Thursday. And the number of returning visitors rocketed as well. Proof, if anyone needs it, that when the issue is hot, people want good information quickly.

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Blogger Nan Patience said...

It may be purely coincidental, the start of this blog and your interest in Broadwater at around the same time, or it may not be. If you believe in the David & Goliath version of this battle, you have definitely been one of the many Davids. If it weren't for the internet, the integrity of people on the internet, and the interest of people like you, then Goliath may have won this one. It was a close call, and the miracle of Eliot Spitzer certainly didn't hurt.

When I wanted to know what's actually going on with Broadwater, I'd look here first.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

It's hard if not impossible to gauge the role of public opinion, and the role of newspapers, TV and the internet in forming public opinion. I happen to think that the people at the Department of State would have made the right decision even if we all remained quiet.

But needless to say your nice words are gratifying. Thanks.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Nan Patience said...

You're welcome.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous africa jen said...

I think you accurately describe your readership the last few days before the NYS decision: I visited often for reliable updates. Thanks a bunch for your work.

3:39 PM  

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