New Jersey Governor Sinks LNG Project
With one stroke of the pen the governor of New Jersey killed the most recent idea to locate a Liquefied Natural Gas pipeline off the New Jersey and New York shorelines. The February 8 veto by Governor Chris Christie came as Rockaway residents were preparing for a public hearing on the project with the United States Coast Guard that same evening.
Tuesday’s hearing, which was to be held at Beach Channel High School, was canceled and so were any future hearings on the project. A veto by the governor of either of the two states involved – New York or New Jersey – assured the death of the project. Locals, environmentalists and elected representatives were thrilled at the news.
“This is a clear victory for the ocean,” said Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action, in a press release. “It is our most treasured natural resource and it will now be free from harmful industrialization.”
Dan Mundy Sr., the president of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, called the demise of the LNG project “good news” and added, “but you always have got to stay ahead of the curve,” referring to possible future LNG ventures.
Mundy, in his prepared testimony, was ready to ask the question: is the project really necessary?
“We have enough natural gas in this country to serve our needs,” Mundy was going to say. “Do we really need to depend upon and send our dollars to Russia, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria and other countries we are not friendly with?”
In addition, Mundy was prepared to point out that liquefied natural gas is dirty, and that it is “40 percent more polluting than our own domestic gas. It leaves a large carbon footprint. It is a large source of greenhouse gas emissions and this project will destroy the environment.”
Joe Hartigan, who attended previous hearings in Long Beach and New Jersey, said of the now defunct project “I don’t want it out in the ocean here. The thing is, I want the natural gas to stay here and be less dependent on foreign countries …. This thing was probably being built to export the natural gas from this country. It was being used to import and export.”
Donald Harris and Joseph Pignataro traveled from Freeport, Long Island to voice their opposition to the plan.
“We felt it was really important not only for commercial fisherman but for the health of the waterways and for the fish to finally have a place where they can be undisturbed,” said Harris, a former commercial fisherman.
Pignataro said, “We have vast reserves of natural gas. There is no reason to take natural gas from other countries, liquefy it, truck it over or ship it over on these massive cargo ships burning tons and tons of diesel fuel just to bring it back here and turn it back into a gas.”
Last month Congressman Anthony Weiner requested that the Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Association hold a hearing in Rockaway about the LNG project.
In a YouTube statement announcing the cancellation of the hearing, Weiner told constituents that “Because of actions by the governor of New Jersey there is now no reason to have the hearing …. The hearing is off for the night, but fortunately so is the proposal for the LNG plant off our coast.”
In addition, in a letter dated February 8, Weiner urged the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, to end all inquiries into the Liberty Natural Gas proposal.
“There is no reason to waste taxpayer money on continuing to study this proposal if we already know it has no future,” wrote Weiner.
Late last year a veto by Christie also derailed plans by the Atlantic Sea Island Group to build a man-made LNG island just 15 miles off Rockaway’s shore.