2009-03-13 / Top Stories

LNG Terminal Debate In Rockaway

Meeting Set For March 24
By Howard Schwach

An artist's rendering of the proposed sea island that would house an LNG terminal less than 17 miles from Rockaway. An artist's rendering of the proposed sea island that would house an LNG terminal less than 17 miles from Rockaway. A proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on a sea island less than 20 miles off Rockaway's shores has touched off lots of anger and lots of debate, but the heat the plan has generated has, up to now, provided little enlightening information to go with it, at least in local circles.

Now, however, two local civic organizations have coordinated a meeting that should provide that information as well as a chance for local residents to have their say by bringing to Rockaway the experts opposed to the plan as well as the company officials who have proposed it.

That meeting will be held at Public School 225, located at 190 Beach 110 Street, on March 24. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Sponsored by the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Asso-ciation, along with the EcoWatchers, an environmental group focused on the ecology of the ocean and Jamaica Bay, the meeting is expected to bring together officials from the Atlantic Sea Island Group, the company seeking to build the 86-acre sea island, environmental groups and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, which is currently developing a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) for the proposal. After further hearings once the DEIS is issued, the coast guard will then draw up a final EIS.

Environmental groups have joined together to fight the proposal.

"The LNG island is slated to be constructed right off Rockaway's shore with 14 million tons of material from an undisclosed location, in the middle of prime fishing grounds," said one environmentalist in a flyer submitted to locals. "In addition, a 70-inch-wide trench from the island to existing pipelines in Long Beach and Brooklyn would further injure the ocean ecology."

"Do you want this hazardous site in your front yard?" the flyer asks.

Company officials, however, say that the project would create jobs and give consumers cheaper energy.

"We don't pose any threat to people," Howard Bovers, the company's CEO, said. "We think we bring more benefits to Long Island than we do problems."

Congressman Anthony Weiner told The Wave two weeks ago that he was going to use his position on the House of Representative's Energy Subcommittee to hold hearings on the proposal in an attempt to give the communities impacted by the plan input into the process.

"The ocean has come so far and we've done so much to clean it up," said Dan Mundy, the president of the EcoWatchers. "There is so much potential for damage and for accidents."

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