The Army Corps of Engineers has announced public hearings and public comment period for the scooping permit submitted by Liberty Natural Gas for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility off the coast of Sandy Hook.The facility would accept import shipments of LNG, treat the gas on site, and then connect with the regional pipeline transmission system. This proposal comes despite a current glut of natural gas in the United States from fracking and a previous proposal by the company was vetoed by Gov. Christie in 2010.  The New Jersey Sierra Club sent a letter along with other groups to ask for an extension for the public comment period so it does not conflict with the holiday season. The hearing and public comment period is an opportunity for community members to get their environmental, health, and public safety concerns regarding this proposed LNG permit and they should be provided with enough time.

“This is a Christmas gift to polluters. The permit release, commit period, and public hearings are strategically during the Holiday season and busiest time of year. People will be with their families or away on vacation not having adequate time to review the permit and provide detailed comments,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. LNG not only adds to greenhouse gas and hurts the environment, it is dangerous. A LNG leak could cause horrific damage to the environment, marine life, and even people. Even worse it is being used to undermine energy efficiency and renewable energy. We have a clear choice between clean energy and carbon fuels. We should be investing in clean, renewable energy like offshore wind and energy efficiency “

The offshore facility would take shipments of LNG and prepare them for distribution. LNG is not conventional compressed natural gas. LNG has been compressed by being super-chilled to  -260 degrees and is extremely volatile. It is a liquid 1/600ththe original volume of gas. Having this off our coast would present serious environmental and public health and safety challenges. If there is an accident it could be catastrophic given the explosive power of LNG. We have an oversupply of natural gas already, we do not need to be importing more. 

“400,000 marched in New York City to demand action on climate change. This project will undermine all of our efforts. Where is Governor Christie on this? Has he caved to the Tea Party and the fossil fuel industry like he has done on offshore wind, RGGI, and fracking?” said Jeff Tittel.

Because of changes in federal policy this port could become an export facility. The ships they will use have the technology to do both. Last year Congress passed a law amending port licenses to allow both imports and exports. 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. Because of the spot market for gas, one day they could be importing the gas and the next exporting it abroad. 

“We need to stop this fossil foolishness. Currently there are more than nine proposals to build new or upgrade current natural gas lines cutting through New Jersey. Not only do these pipelines create a scar on our landscape, but they add to pollution and climate change disruption. We are also concerned that many of these lines maybe heading to these facilities for export,” said Jeff Tittel.

The port would be located near the entrance to the NY Harbor, in two active Coast Guard training areas, and among several fishing areas and wildlife migration routes. This project would be sited in an ideal location for offshore wind. The port would discharge 3.5 million gallons of chemically-treated seawater used for pipe tests, generate significant underwater noise pollution, and dredge up over 20 miles of seafloor

In 2011 Governor Christie vetoed a similar proposal by Liberty under adjacent state status under the federal Deepwater Port Act. 

“New Jersey needs a LNG facility like we need another hurricane. This is the wrong project in the wrong place. Not only will this facility bring in more fossil fuel, but it will undercut New Jersey’s progress toward a renewable energy future. We are concerned that the Army Corps is more concerned about building things than protecting people and the environment. That is why it is important for people to come out to these hearings to make sure Army Corps doesn’t rubber stamp this dangerous and environmentally damaging project,” said Jeff Tittel.

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold the following public hearings:

 

New York Session

Wednesday January 7, 2015

Open House: 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM Public Meeting 6PM – 8PM

Hilton New York JFK Airport

114-02 135th Avenue

Jamaica, NY 11436

 

New Jersey Session:

Thursday January 7th

Open House 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Public Meeting 6 PM – 8 PM

Sheraton Eatontown Hotel

6 Industrial Way East

Eatontown NJ 07724