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Connecticut Wants FERC to Disclose All Info on Broadwater LNG Project

Connecticut's outspoken attorney general wants FERC to release critical information about a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to be located off the coast of Connecticut and Long Island, without the state having to go through the formal request process that requires it to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the agency.

Specifically, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal last Wednesday called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to make available to his office detailed engineering and design information about Broadwater Energy LLC's 1 Bcf/d terminal project, which is sponsored by TransCanada Corp. and Shell US Gas & Power LLC.

Information of this nature is typically deemed by FERC to be critical energy infrastructure information (CEII) and not available to the public. Parties seeking access to it are required to file CEII requests at the Commission. If granted, they are then required to sign non-disclosure agreements that bar them from sharing the details with others.

Blumenthal called the non-disclosure condition unacceptable. "Disclosure to my office is useless or worse if it means muzzling and censoring what we can say to the public, preventing us from providing meaningful and informed assurances to the public about the project's safety," he said in comments filed at FERC. "As a matter of public policy, key information must not be kept secret."

Blumenthal contends that FERC's decision to keep pertinent information about the Broadwater LNG terminal from the public shows that the project is "inherently dangerous" and should be rejected.

"If key details cannot be disclosed -- for fear of helping potential terrorists -- the risk of terrorism should doom this project in this location," he told FERC. "The project can be fully and fairly vetted only with the full public disclosure of essential safety information."

The project has been the target of repeated attacks by Blumenthal and other state lawmakers due to its proposed location off the coast of Connecticut. The terminal would include a floating storage and regasification unit with an average sendout capacity of 1 Bcf/d. Broadwater Energy would operate the facility, while Shell would own the capacity and supply the LNG. The estimated cost of construction is $700 million.

The LNG project is expected to be in service in late 2010. In the meantime, TransCanada and Shell face an uphill battle in obtaining the numerous state and federal regulatory approvals that are needed to proceed.

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