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FERC, CT Task Force to Discuss Concerns About Broadwater LNG Project

FERC's Office of Energy Projects has agreed to meet with members of the Connecticut LNG Task Force later this month to discuss the state's concerns about controversial Broadwater Energy LLC's proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to be sited in Long Island Sound, about 11 miles off the coast of Connecticut and nine miles offshore Long Island.

The meeting, which will be held Jan. 16 in East Haven, CT, was requested by Connecticut Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, co-chairman of the state's LNG Task Force, which was established by Gov. Jodi Rell in August 2005 to examine the environmental and safety aspects of the proposed offshore Broadwater LNG project.

Although the $700 millon project would be sited in New York waters, Connecticut believes its voice should be heard since a Coast Guard-mandated exclusion zone around the facility would extend 40 acres into Connecticut waters. FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher has assured Connecticut that it will have an important role in the process.

In addition to the meeting with FERC staffers, Fasano has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend the deadline for the filing of public comments on the Broadwater draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to March 23. Comments are due later this month. The DEIS, which was issued in November, was favorable to Broadwater, concluding that the project would have limited adverse environmental impacts (see Daily GPI, Nov. 20, 2006). The Commission has yet to respond to Fasano's request for the deadline extension.

The announcement of the FERC-Task Force meeting comes as the Commission is holding a series of public meetings this week in Connecticut and New York to hear public comments on the project and the DEIS. The LNG project is the target of broad opposition in Connecticut and Long Island.

The make-up of the Connecticut LNG Task Force consists of state senators and representatives from a number of state departments, including public safety, public health, transportation, environmental protection, emergency management, homeland security and agriculture.

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 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. 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 an expansion of Tractebel's existing LNG terminal in Everett, MA; the Weaver's Cove LNG project in Fall River, MA; BP's Crown Landing project in Logan Township, NJ.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) earlier this week expressed concern about the number of LNG projects that have been proposed for the New England region. He believes a "common sense approach" to siting is not being applied by FERC, a spokesman said. Lieberman said Congress could offer legislation to block the controversial Broadwater project. However, the spokesman noted that Lieberman is not at the point where he has decided to propose such legislation.

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