Gov. says no to Broadwater plan

April 10, 2008 1:13:55 PM PDT
New York Governor David Paterson said Thursday the state won't approve putting a $700 million liquefied natural gas terminal the size of the Queen Mary 2 in Long Island Sound.Paterson joins Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell and nearly every elected official on both sides of the sound who oppose the project, known as Broadwater.

"The fact is, Broadwater is behind us," Paterson said at a news conference, prompting applause from a crowd of about 200 politicians, environmentalists and Long Island residents. Nearby, families enjoyed balmy weather and played on the beach.

Foes claim the terminal could imperil the ecosystem; Paterson said it "would scar Long Island Sound." But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded last month that the project would have no major environmental effect on the region.

Opponents also say a terrorist attack there could be catastrophic.

Broadwater Energy, a joint venture of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., still could appeal to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"We are disappointed and concerned," said John Hritcko, Broadwater's senior vice president and regional project director. "We specifically designed this project to be consistent with the state's coastal management policies and offered a number of additional commitments that would further enhance the state's coastal resources."

The consortium had been running a high-profile public relations campaign that included TV, radio and print ads, extolling the region's need for natural gas and claiming energy bills for Long Island ratepayers would drop $300 a year. Opponents said consumers' bills would not actually drop, but conceded they might rise more slowly if the LNG terminal were approved.

"Thousands of consumers and businesses believe that Broadwater is the right project, in the right place at the right time, to bring additional new natural gas supply to an area that is desperately in need of clean, affordable, reliable energy," the company said in a statement.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's company, Giuliani Partners, did a safety and security assessment in 2006 and said the proposed terminal would be "as safe a facility in design as you could possibly have."