Blumenthal to feds: Be more like N.Y.

John O'Brien Apr. 21, 2008, 3:15pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - The rejection of an offshore natural gas facility by the State of New York means a federal agency needs to reconsider the reasons it approved, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recently said.

The Federal Energy Regulator Commission should have never given the go-ahead to Broadwater LNG, a joint venture of Shell Oil and TransCanada Corp. that wanted to build the facility in Long Island Sound, he argues.

"FERC is mindlessly adrift and completely alone in lawlessly supporting Broadwater," he said. "We're asking FERC to heed New York and halt Broadwater. New York's rejection requires FERC's reversal."

New York Gov. David Paterson announced the State's disapproval April 10. Blumenthal had promised legal action if the plan was approved, calling the project "a catastrophe waiting to happen."

Broadwater's proposed facility would be the size of four football fields and float 11 miles off the coast of Connecticut.

Blumenthal said the proposal is inconsistent with New York's Long Island Coastal Management Plan because the security zones will ban recreational and commercial designated water dependent uses. Also, he said it will disrupt or destroy important marine resources while violating New York's Quality Review Act.

He had asked for a hearing regarding FERC's decision a week before New York made its.

"FERC's illogical and illegal approval must be abandoned after New York's responsible recognition that alternatives to Broadwater are better, safer and saner.

"FERC's environmental analysis is illegally and embarrassingly inadequate compared to New York's well-researched rejection. New York has correctly concluded that Broadwater could wreck Long Island Sound, endanger public safety, disrupt navigation, and degrade our quality of life. We demand FERC's reconsideration and rescission of its own approval."

FERC gave its approval March 20. Chairman Joseph Kelliher said he regretted the decision was so controversial.

"I respect public opinion, and we have gone to great lengths to respond to the legitimate concerns raised by the public. Doing so has been made more difficult by the attitude of some public officials in the region, who have chosen to exploit and inflame public fears," he said.

These public officials have done a great disservice to the citizens in the region, which is regrettable.

"There have also been charges that FERC environmental and safety review has been inadequate. Those charges are false, belied by the sheer size of the draft and final environmental impact statements issued by FERC in this proceeding.

"Our decisions at FERC are based in the record, rooted in the law, facts, and science. Applying the law, facts, and science to the question of whether the Broadwater LNG project should be authorized leads to only one answer, the course we (have taken)."

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