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Source: Connecticut Post

Feds uphold rejection of Broadwater

Commerce Department backs rejection of Long Island Sound gas terminal

BY BILL CUMMINGS

Posted: April 14, 2009
Originally Published: April 13, 2009

The plans for the massive Broadwater floating gas terminal in Long Island Sound have finally run out of gas.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday upheld New York State's earlier rejection of the floating liquefied natural gas terminal, ending any chance the project will be stationed in the Sound some 13 miles off the coast of Milford and nine miles from New York State.

"This decision blows Broadwater out of the water, forever blocking an environmental and public safety monstrosity from Long Island Sound," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, echoing sentiments from opponents -- ranging from governors to ordinary citizens -- who lined up against the venture.

New York State last year refused to issue coastal permits for the Broadwater platform, arguing it violated an ongoing coastal management program. That decision came despite approval of the $700 million venture by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Commerce Department Monday concluded the project's "adverse coastal impacts" outweighed its national interest. The Commerce Department cited the "unique scenic and aesthetic" character of Long Island Sound, stating the gas platform would undermine decades of local, state and federal efforts to protect the waterway.

The ruling means federal permits cannot be issued for the Broadwater project, commerce officials said.

Broadwater officials reacted with disappointment, saying the region will need the 2.4 billion

cubic feet of gas the floating platform would have delivered daily. Broadwater is a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.

"We are disappointed in the commerce secretary's ruling, in light of unanimous approval of Broadwater's proposal by FERC and the issuance of a positive letter of recommendation from the U.S. Coast Guard," said John Hritcko, the senior vice president for Broadwater Energy.

The battle over bringing Broadwater into Long Island Sound was joined in early 2005 as environmental, civic, community, fishing and boating organizations in New York and Connecticut joined forces to oppose the venture. The public sent more than 60,000 letters to federal, state and local leaders and 100,000 people signed petitions in opposition to the project.

Thousands turned out at public hearings and anti-Broadwater rallies were held in both states.

"I am thrilled with today's decision and its reflection of the deeply held views of the citizens of Connecticut and our connection to the Sound as a source of recreational and environmental enjoyment and economic opportunity," said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3.

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell also hailed Monday's decision, saying, "All of us who love, appreciate and enjoy Long Island Sound applaud today's announcement."

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said the victory shows a coalition of citizens can defeat a mammoth corporation like Broadwater. "When the public speaks with one voice, it's more powerful than corporate millions," she said.