2009-02-13 / Editorial/Opinion

A Disaster Waiting To Happen

We have many objections to the proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) sea terminal that may soon be as close as 16 miles off our shores. First of all, we believe that the developers of the terminal tried to sneak a fastball past New York City by declaring it to be 13 miles off the shore of Long Beach, Long Island, therefore taking New York City's input into the process off the table. Then, we have the fact that the developers have no practical experience in building and maintaining a large sea island. In fact, nobody does. This is the first ever LNG terminal that is not a platform floating in the ocean, but an island, larger than nine Giants Stadiums, built from the bedrock of the ocean with fill material. Will it withstand a hurricane or a Nor'easter? Your guess is as good as the experts, because it's never been done before. What impact will the island have on the ocean ecology? Local experts say that the island and the massive LNG tankers utilizing the island's docking and offload capacity will pollute the entire area, killing sea life, taking the entire area away from local fisherman, and virtually destroy the fragile shoreline ecology. Finally, and perhaps most problematic, LNG is stable, but once it is converted back into a gas, as it will be on the island, it becomes highly volatile. The four 180,000-cubic-meter holding tanks on the island could possibly become a danger to the large residential buildings along the Far Rockaway beachfront. All-in-all, we think that the environmental study now being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard should be put on hold until New York City experts can weigh in with their opinion. We call on our federal legislators, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Congressman Anthony Weiner and our two senators, to stop the project now, before it gets too far ahead in the process and becomes a living disaster for Rockaway.

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