Citizens have until Monday, March 16th to Go Online and Say NO 

Sandy Hook, NJ - The deadline for citizens to comment on Liberty Gas' proposal to construct a deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off New Jersey and New York beaches is rapidly approaching.  This Monday, March 16th, is the last day citizens can comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Maritime Administration (MARAD) back in December. 

"There is no public benefit from Port Ambrose," said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. "We've identified numerous dangers in the DEIS, and will be submitting 60 pages of comments to the federal docket on behalf of the Anti-LNG Coalition, a bi-state (NY/NJ) coalition of community groups, maritime organizations, faith-based, union, and civic leaders opposed to LNG facilities."

"The risks are great from this port, and the threats to the public and the environment are devastating.  If you enjoy the ocean, or depend on it for your livelihood, it is imperative that you speak-up and send in your comments. The ocean is a vibrant and life sustaining resource; it must not fall into the hands of fossil fuel industry," continued Zipf.  

In reviewing the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration's DEIS, Clean Ocean Action and the anti-LNG Coalition identified numerous flaws that underscore citizen concerns that the LNG port would be a target for terrorism; threaten fishing, jobs, and tourism; and would be a disaster for our climate.  Some of the most egregious flaws found in the DEIS include:

  • Purpose and need- The Port Ambrose facility would not meet the stated “Purpose and Need”

o   According to a March 2015 EIA report, Asian LNG gas prices are currently at $7.45, which is down from $14 this October. However, these are higher than the 2014 US domestic prices – $4.39 in 2014, and expected prices---  $3.07/MMBtu in 2015 and $3.48/MMBtu in 2016.  More facts prove that the US will not import more expensive foreign LNG over domestic. 

o   Because the natural gas will be delivered to an existing pipeline that currently transports about half of the natural gas consumed in New York City, the LNG facility would not be providing a new “delivery point.”  Rather, Port Ambrose would provide additional supply to an existing pipeline that already has capacity restraints. 

  • Water resources- Port Ambrose will require vast amounts of seawater, and is a direct threat to the water resources of the NY Bight through construction, operation and decommissioning
  • In gallons, the water used annually for operations alone would equal1,167,487,020,  To put this volume into perspective, it would fill an Olympic size pool 56 miles long every year.
  • NY Bight - The life expectancy of Port Ambrose is 25 years, yet within that small tenure, the habitat of the NY Bight will continually be disturbed throughout operation activities.
    • Impact on fisheries/fishing:
      • Fishing grounds-The proposed site is located approximately 10 nm from the following commercial fishing grounds: Cholera Bank, Middle Ground, Angler Bank, Mussel Ridge, Atlantic Beach Reef and Hampstead Town Reef
      • Entrainment- estimated entrainment for the construction phase of the facility is 44,027,806 eggs and 5,075,044 larvae of fish. Estimated annual entrainment during operation, emergency and maintenance activities of the facility is 40,070,732 eggs and 5,986,906 larvae. Estimated annual entrainment during decommissioning of the facility is 2,573,528 eggs and 296,648 larvae.” These eggs and larvae would contribute to the ecosystem, are essential to supporting the food web, and threaten to undermine the fisheries industry.
    • Marine Life:
      • Seasonal impacts- The DEIS does not adequately assess impacts of Port Ambrose within each season.  The region biological resources have varying activity for breeding, spawning and migration, throughout the year.  The DEIS fails to assess the seasonality of the impacts from Port Ambrose.
      • Marine mammals and fish species-  Will put critically endangered marine mammals and fish species in harms way via prey removal (as a result of entrainment), habitat destruction, increase in noise, and increase in probability of vessel strikes.  
      • Will increase vessel traffic(and thus noise and the probability of animal collisions) in the largest port on the East Coast.
  • Safety- fails to consider the real risks from explosions and terrorism attacks
  • Economics - impacts to clean ocean economies are minimized, as are the effects of increased costs of natural gas prices.

"We, at the Belford Seafood Co-op, have been fishing as a co-op since 1953," said Roy Diehl, President of the Belford Seafood Co-op."We are one of oldest fishing co-ops in existence. This proposed project is being purposed to go right in the middle of one of our prime fishing areas. The profits don't warrant the dangers, as in explosion, terrorist attacks, shipping traffic, and so on."

"There is no real need for this," continued Diehl. "The bottom line is that this is a large chance to take for minimal gains for the state and a lot more good local permanent  jobs will be lost than are going to be created."

"The Draft Environmental Impact Statement lacks transparency,” said Kerry Margaret Butch, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “How will Liberty manage and completely fund Emergency Response, adequate insurance, and decommissioning costs? The public has a right to vet these issues before, not after, the Environmental Impact Statement is approved. Most importantly, Liberty has not justified the need for this gas, therefore, the League does not see the need for this facility.

"The only need Port Ambrose fulfills is for its bottom line," said Doug O'Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. "This boondoggle offshore fossil fuel project peddles a false argument of need and digs our climate hole deeper. Its Draft Environmental Impact Statement is incomplete and needs to go back to the drawing board. Before the clock ticks down, we urge the public to weigh in by Monday."

"A truly thorough and complete DEIS will show that the proposed Port Ambrose LNG facility poses a significant and unnecessary threat to the New Jersey shore.  This risky and ill-conceived project has the potential for irreversible damage to our public health and safety, coastal water quality, fishing and tourism industries and local economies," said Lauren Petrie, organizer with Food & Water Watch.

Bill Williams, Vice Chair of the Jersey Shore Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, said, "New Jersey cannot afford LNG in its waters. It puts our coastal ecosystems, recreation, communities, and economy in jeopardy while simultaneously promoting the fossil fuel industry in an area where renewable energy infrastructure is possible.“ 

"This proposal is unnecessary and dangerous,"  said Jeff Tittel, Director, New Jersey Sierra Club. "LNG adds to greenhouse gas and hurts the environment and our fisheries. There are significant environmental impacts to our coastal region, but more importantly it undermines clean energy efforts. These ships are almost the size of the Empire State Building, carrying very volatile LNG and could lead to a major disaster either by accident or terrorism.

 This proposal should be rejected.  We need an LNG terminal like we need another super storm,"  said Tittel.

In addition to posting comments to the docket online, comments can be sent via the United States Postal Service - postmarked by March 16th - to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management Facility, room W12-140 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590.They must contain the docket ID number: USCG-2013-0363.