A Connecticut congressman has called on FERC to reconsider its preliminary finding that Broadwater Energy LLC's proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal would have no major environmental impact on Long Island Sound.

"FERC's conclusion [in its draft environmental impact statement, DEIS] that the Broadwater project would introduce no significant harm to Long Island Sound must be reevaluated," wrote Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) in a recent letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Joseph Kelliher. "Abundant aquatic wildlife and ecologically determinate flow regimes suggest a thriving environment susceptible to outside interference."

Courtney urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to "carefully consider" a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut, which he said concluded that scientific work is unfinished in the region and requires a more in-depth environmental survey of the Long Island Sound.

"I am uncertain how these findings were overlooked in your initial survey [DEIS], but it is my hope that a second survey of the Sound [final environmental impact statement] will bring these issues to the forefront of FERC's regulatory authority," he said.

In November 2006, FERC staff and cooperating agencies issued the DEIS on the Broadwater LNG project, concluding that the proposed terminal "would result in limited adverse environmental impacts." The Broadwater project, to be sited in Long Island Sound about 11 miles off the coast of Connecticut and nine miles offshore Long Island, is a joint venture of TransCanada Corp. and Shell (see NGI, Nov. 27, 2006).

The cooperating agencies in the FERC DEIS were the U.S. Coast Guard, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New York Department of State [CP06-54].

The proposed Broadwater 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 would operate the facility, while Shell would own the capacity and supply the LNG. The project, which is targeted for service in 2010, would cost approximately $700 million to build.

The FSRU is a ship-like vessel that would be moored in Long Island Sound. It would store about 8 Bcf of natural gas and supply enough natural gas to meet the energy needs of four million New York and Connecticut residences, the company said.

Once constructed, approximately two to three tankers would arrive each week to offload LNG into the facility, where it would be stored in liquid form until it is regasified and transferred by a 22-mile subsea pipeline to the Iroquois Gas Transmission System in Long Island Sound and delivered to New York and Connecticut markets, according to Broadwater Energy.

Several other LNG projects currently are in the works in New England, New York and New Jersey, including two Maine terminal projects; an expansion of Tractebel's existing LNG terminal in Everett, MA; the Weaver's Cove LNG project in Fall River, MA; and BP's Crown Landing project in Logan Township, NJ. There also are three proposals for LNG terminals outside Boston, one on an island in Boston Harbor and two for deepwater ports in the Atlantic.

FERC staff believes that at least three LNG projects probably would be needed to meet demand growth in the region. Additional pipeline capacity also eventually would be required to service New York City and the region. However, all of the projects proposed so far have encountered stiff environmental, landowner and sometimes regulatory opposition.

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