2010-02-05 / Front Page

USCG Sets Impact Study For LNG Terminal

Man-Made Island Slated For Off-Shore Rockaway
By Howard Schwach
The United States Coast Guard will deliver its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) concerning the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, that will be built about 15 miles off the shore of Far Rockaway, to interested agencies in the next few weeks, according to a spokesperson.

An artist’s rendition of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal planned for a man-made island fifteen miles off the shore of Rockaway. An artist’s rendition of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal planned for a man-made island fifteen miles off the shore of Rockaway. “Before we publish the draft EIS, we send an interim version of the draft to key federal agencies for their feedback and to identify any areas that we need to address more thoroughly or need improvement,” says Mark Prescott, the chief of the Deepwater Ports Standards Division for the Coast Guard. “Once we get that feedback, we will make changes and put out the public version.”

Prescott added that when the study is made public, the agency would set up public meetings in impacted communities to get feedback on the plan.

“No decision will be made,” Prescott said, “until after a final EIS is published and final public hearings are held in New York and New Jersey, the two adjacent coastal states.

Experts say that the New York State meeting would most likely be held somewhere on the South Shore of Long Island, because federal regulations require only one meeting in each state.

In March of last year, more than 200 locals who attended an informational meeting at PS 225 voted unanimously that they opposed a plan to place a man-made island housing a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal just miles from the Rockaway shoreline.

The planned sea island, about nine times the size of Giants Stadium, will be funded by a Manhattan company called Atlantic Sea Island Group. It will be built in 60 feet of water using clean fill and other environmentally friendly materials, its proponents say.

It is reportedly the first LNG terminal in the United States that will be built on an island rather than on a floating platform.

Officials from Atlantic Sea Island say that the facility will be barely visible from the beachfront.

The company’s website says that the proposed terminal will be “constructed far from population centers, to serve as an LNG receiving, storage and regasification terminal [for tankers coming from foreign ports] that will supply the New York/Long Island and metropolitan region’s evergrowing need for natural gas.”

The facility will be able to handle two LNG tankers at a time and would have four 180,000-cubic-meter tanks for LNG. Each day, company officials say, the terminal could receive and store a maximum of 2,000,000,000 cubic meters of LNG and then transmit that gas to companies in the northeast region.

Opponents of the plan, including many local and national environmental groups, say that the foreign gas is not needed and that the sea island would foul the marine environment.

In Mid-April, Congressman Anthony Weiner hosted a meeting at PS 114 in Belle Harbor at which the Coast Guard and Atlantic Sea Island made presentations to about 250 people who attended.

The Coast Guard, which must remain neutral in the discussion about the proposed sea island, outlined the procedure for coming to a final decision.

The DEIS is only the first step. Experts say that the entire process may well last into 2012.

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