Sandy Hook, NJ - Under the certainty of defeat, thanks to the firm, unequivocal, veto issued by NJ Governor Christie, Liberty Natural Gas, LLC, (owned by a Canadian investment firm) has officially withdrawn their application to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal off the coast of New Jersey and New York. As a result, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced yesterday that it has terminated all activities and processing of the application.
“This is a victory for the ocean and for the thousands of citizens and scores of organizations that fought for 5 years against this wrongful proposal,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “With Governor Christie’s firm opposition, this project was dead in the water. It is about time they faced reality and withdrew/terminated the project. It’s over for now, but they are lurking and may be back” she added.
On March 20th, NJ Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa sent a letter to MARAD documenting a conference call during which the NJ Department of Environmental Protection re-affirmed to the federal government that Governor Christie’s veto of the Liberty Natural Gas application “remained in effect, as to both the original and revised application.” Mr. Chiesa also requested confirmation that MARAD had disclosed to Liberty Natural Gas “that Governor Christie remains steadfast in his opposition to the proposed deepwater port.”
Recently, armed with the NJ Governor’s veto and frustrated by MARAD’s inaction over the last year (in refusing to deny the LNG port application), Clean Ocean Action and 30 other environmental groups from Montauk, NY, to Cape May, NJ, sent a letter, on April 3, to the federal government demanding that this unnecessary foreign fossil fuel facility be shown the door – officially (see below).
One week after the collective voices of the citizens and organization of New York and New Jersey called for the denial of the LNG port, Liberty LNG, withdrew the application.
On April 10, lawyers for Liberty Natural Gas sent a letter to MARAD claiming that the company had determined that they need a “complete overhaul of the application materials” and, therefore, “Liberty hereby withdraws its current application.”
“LNG terminals can either bring dirty, expensive, foreign fossil fuels to the US, or act as gateways for accelerating harmful hydraulic-fracturing activities to export our domestic energy overseas – robbing Americans of our energy-independent future. LNG terminals are not, under any definition of the phrase, ‘in the public interest,’” said Sean Dixon, Coastal Policy Attorney for Clean Ocean Action.
In 2010, at his first Earth Day event as Governor, Chris Christie accepted over 2300 valentines from the small and the tall vowing to veto any LNG port or any oil and gas drilling operations off the NJ coast that could harm the Jersey Shore and threaten our clean ocean economy. The Governor had officially – and legally – vetoed this port in February of 2011, and Liberty LNG spent the last 14 months trying to find ways to get around this clear opposition.
“Today’s victory is a great success for the citizens of New Jersey and New York, but this ill-advised project – like the two other ocean LNG ports proposed and withdrawn over the last few years – can always re-apply,” said Dixon.
“This victory is a great win to cap-off Earth Month, but we must remain vigilant. We need permanent protection of our region from these reckless proposals; it is time for the Clean Ocean Zone, a legislative initiative to prohibit harmful industrialization of this remarkable ocean region,” said Zipf.