Feds okay natural gas terminal for LIS

March 20, 2008 1:16:40 PM PDT
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday approved a $700 million liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Long Island Sound.It would sit nine miles from Long Island and 10 miles from the Connecticut shoreline.

Environmentalists and many elected officials are opposed, and say it'll imperil the fragile ecosystem in Long Island Sound. Concerns have also been expressed that a terrorist attack on the facility could result in catastrophic results.

The federal approval is just one step. New York officials have yet to decide on issuing permits for the project. Connecticut officials have warned they will fight in court if the project is approved by federal regulators and New York.

Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., wants to build the terminal, which would be 1,200 feet long and 82 feet high. Plans have called for construction to begin in October 2009 and for the terminal to be operating by December 2010.

FERC voted 5-0 to approve the project. It would be the first floating terminal in the U.S. for storage and delivery of natural gas.

Broadwater says the terminal is needed to meet the region's energey needs. They say a New York State study shows there will be a 37 percent growth in demand for natural gas by 2021.

About half the gas from the plant would go to New York City. Between 25 percent and 30 percent is targeted for Long Island, and the rest would go to Connecticut.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had planned to decide in April on whether the state should issue permits for the project. Governor David Paterson has said he may postpone a decision.