The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Liberty Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility has been posted on the U.S. Coast Guard Docket.
The proposed facility would accept import shipments of LNG, treat the gas on site, and then connect with the regional pipeline transmission system.
Public hearings will be tentatively scheduled during the first week of November and expected to be announced the week of October 14, 2015.
New Jersey Governor Christie will have 45 days after the last public hearing to veto the project.
“The real battle to pressure the Governor to stop the Liberty LNG port terminal starts now. This project is unnecessary, unneeded, and dangerous,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This port will further add to climate impacts and increase the frequency of future storms and flooding on our coast by burning the gas. If there is a storm or accident off our coast, this is a giant bomb off our coast.”
“We are calling on the Governor Christie to veto the same project he did four years ago,” said Tittel, who also asked, “but now that he is running for president will he hold New Jersey’s coast hostage for his own national political ambitions? The Governor has taken a lot of money from the Big Oil and Gas fracking industries. We hope he doesn’t sell out the coast for campaign contributions.”
The proposed facility would take shipments of LNG that is extremely volatile and prepare them for distribution. It is a liquid 1/600th the original volume of gas. Having this off our coast would present serious environmental and public health and safety challenges.
“The Coast Guard shouldn’t even release an EIS for this project, they should just stop it,” said Tittel. “We are concerned that the Coast Guard has not looked at the secondary and cumulative impacts as well as safety impacts in their EIS. If there is an accident, it could be catastrophic given the explosive power of LNG.”
“Even worse, there will be further damage from the pipeline that will bring the gas on shore,” said Tittel. “This project jeopardizes the public safety of New Jersey residents and first responders. Patrick Henry famously said, ‘Give me liberty, or give me death,’ however with this proposal we may get both.”
Tittel expressed concern about what could happen if there was an explosion on the offshore rig, during a major storm like Hurricane Sandy.
:In time this facility could be converted for LNG exports and the ships they will use have the technology to do both,” said Tittel. :They have not put in an export application yet, but can do so in the future as the amount of available gas in the United States increases with more fracking. This would result in higher energy costs and more environmental impacts across the region.”
“With 11 gas pipelines currently being proposed throughout New Jersey, it makes no sense for it to be an import facility so we can just export to Cove Point Maryland,” said Tittel. “With fracking in Pennsylvania and all the pipelines being proposed throughout our state, we believe this will turn out to be an export facility. That means our environment will be put at risk to ship the gas to Europe and China.”
“We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) will make it easier to export LNG and turn this import facility into an export facility,” said Tittel. “Under TTP, it will fast track exports of LNG and natural gas as well as limit the right of the Department of Energy to determine if the export is in the public interest. This will lead to more export facilities off our coast and is another reason why the Governor should veto this project.”
In 2011, Christie vetoed a similar proposal by Liberty under adjacent state status under the federal Deepwater Port Act. The Republican governor will have within 45 days of the last public hearing to veto project along with adjoining states. This deadline is expected the week of December 14, 2015.
“The Coast Guard is supposed to ‘guard our coast,’ not open it up to dangerous facilities like the LNG terminal. We need an LNG import facility like we need to import another Superfund site. With natural gas already in the United States, why would we need imports? Instead we should be investing in clean, renewable energy like offshore wind and energy efficiency. Not only will this facility bring in more fossil fuel, but it will slow down New Jersey’s progress toward a renewable energy future,” said Tittel. “The Port Ambrose facility would be sited in an ideal location for offshore wind. We have a clear choice between clean energy and dirty and dangerous carbon fuels. This is the wrong project in the wrong place and the Governor has vetoed it before. We could have windmills off our coast or LNG terminals and oil rigs. That future is up to us, but now we need the Governor Christie to stand up and veto it.”
The final USCG Environmental Impact Statement is attached. The link to the entire project docket folder summary can be found here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;D=USCG-2013-0363
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