2009-06-12 / Top Stories

Governors Join In Clean Ocean Pact

Unclear Future For Rockaway LNG Terminal
By Howard Schwach

Several east coast governors and environmentalists got together in Manhattan last week to declare their devotion to keeping the Atlantic Ocean pristine and to driving their states towards a policy of renewable energy.

"Recognizing that renewable offshore energy can foster a more efficient and sustainable regional economy and improve the quality of life for citizens, the governors are creating a structure for the states to collaborate on improving energy security and independence in the region through development of offshore renewable energy while accommodating other ocean uses."

What does that mean for the continued development of a massive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal planned for 15 miles off the Rockaway shore?

New York State Governor David Paterson isn't talking. Repeated calls to his press representative seeking comment on Paterson's stand on the planned LNG island brought no response.

And, environmental experts disagree on what Paterson said and what he did not say at the conference.

"When Paterson called for renewable energy, he wasn't looking at LNG, which is a fossil fuel," said a spokesperson for Clean Ocean Action, a New Jersey-based environmental organization. "LNG is definitely not a renewable energy."

When asked at the conference if he supports the LNG terminal off the shore of Long Island, Paterson reportedly said, "I support the LNG terminal."

Some saw that as a declarative statement showing Paterson's support for the plan.

Others, however, saw it as a question, as in "I support the LNG terminal?"

Paterson's spokesperson reportedly declined to clear up the controversy.

He, and the other governors have the veto power over the project, which is now going through a U.S. Coast Guard review process.

Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action, said, "We have a plan ready, it's called 'Clean Ocean Zone,' a law that will keep improving our clean ocean ecology and the extraordinary thriving economies that depend on it and keep the polluters such as LNG and oil drilling out. Just as other coastal governors around the country have done, we expect Governors Corzine and Paterson to listen to the people and reject LNG proposals now."

Among those at the conference were Paterson and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, as well as high-ranking representatives of Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

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