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Connecticut Delegation United in Opposition to Broadwater Project

The entire seven-member Connecticut congressional delegation expressed its "strong and united opposition" to Broadwater Energy LLC's controversial deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in a recent letter to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher.

The proposed Broadwater Energy offshore terminal would include a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) with an average sendout capacity of 1 Bcf/d and peak sendout of 1.25 Bcf/d. Broadwater Energy, a partnership of Shell Oil and TransCanada Corp., would operate the facility, while Shell would own the capacity and supply the LNG. The project is expected to go into service in 2010, assuming it receives FERC approval and state permits. The FSRU is a ship-like vessel that would be moored in Long Island Sound about 11 miles off the coast of Connecticut and nine miles offshore Long Island, and would store about 8 Bcf of natural gas to supply the energy needs of about four million New York and Connecticut residences, the company said.

Joining in the opposition to the Broadwater LNG project were Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), as well as Democratic Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro, John Larson, Joseph Courtney and Christopher Murphy, and Republican Rep. Christopher Shays.

"While we understand and appreciate our nation's and this region's need for additional energy resources, we do not believe that the Broadwater project is the best way to meet these needs," the Connecticut delegation wrote in its Jan. 12 letter.

"We have grave concerns about the impact that this permanent structure would have on the long-term health and vitality of the Long Island Sound," the lawmakers said. "Perhaps more importantly, we are concerned with the precedent the approval of this project would create regarding the siting of industrial facilities in waters and on land considered a public trust."

The delegation said it disagreed with FERC's draft environmental impact statement, which was issued in November, that concluded the construction and operation of the $700 million Broadwater facility would not cause major environmental impacts (see NGI, Nov. 27, 2006). "The Broadwater facility is planned to be in operation for 30 years and it is difficult to believe that three decades of 'minor' impacts will not have a major long-term effect on the health and vitality of the Sound and its ecosystem."

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