Thursday, January 17, 2008

Relax, this is no big deal

Hey, guess what?
You know that 1,215-foot-long gas terminal Shell Oil wants to build in a public waterway in the Long Island Sound off the coast of Wading River?
The terminal that will receive, store and “regasify” liquefied natural gas at the rate of about a billion cubic feet per day and ship it through a brand-new 23-mile seabed pipeline to consumers in New York City and New Jersey?
The one that will take in between 5.5 million and 8.2 million gallons of seawater daily, together with every living organism unfortunate enough to be sucked up with that water into the hull of the floating terminal and either be killed by its mesh screening system or by poisonous chlorine?
The terminal that will receive shipments of LNG from an estimated 104 to 150 foreign-flagged international tankers every year — tankers that will take in an additional 23 million gallons of seawater, also killing the unfortunate organisms that happen to be living therein?
The one whose operations will destroy hundreds of millions of fish eggs and larvae each year, plus an unknown number of small fish, having a potentially disastrous impact on a fishery the state and federal governments have gone to great lengths — and huge expense — to rehabilitate and protect over the past two decades?
The terminal the state DEC concluded would have significant adverse environmental impacts?
The one that will forever appropriate to Royal Dutch Shell and Trans-Canada a one-square-mile chunk of the Long Island Sound, public land and sea, which will be closed to boating and fishing — and theoretically protected from terrorist attack — by armed security boats supplied by the energy giants’ private contractor?
The terminal the U.S. Coast Guard said it doesn’t have the equipment or manpower to protect from attack? The terminal that will more than double the existing tanker traffic in L.I. Sound — which the Coast Guard already can’t protect?
The terminal whose tanker traffic and security escort will shut down the Race for hours at a clip at least six times a week, and will force lobstermen to relocate their pots, and fishing boats to pull in their lines, each time the 900-foot-long deep-draft international tankers traverse the length of the eastern Sound?
You know the one I’m talking about, don’t you? You’ve seen the pictures and the Power Point presentations, right?
Then you know there’s nothing to worry about. This appropriation of public property for private profit by Royal Dutch Shell and TransCanada, with more than a little help from their friends in Washington, will be good for us. After all, it will provide “a reliable supply of clean, safe natural gas” for the region (west of here) and possibly save L.I. ratepayers more than $2 million a year, according to an LNG industry consultant.
And those troublesome environmental impacts? Not to worry, folks. There are plenty of fish (and eggs and larvae) in the sea. Killing a few hundred million of them each year won’t put a dent in the supply. And pumping 28 million gallons of chlorine-treated seawater back into the Sound won’t matter, either. Heck, that’s only .005 percent of the “total daily seawater inflow to the Sound.” The little fishies will hardly notice the elevated chlorine levels.
Air pollution from the terminal’s smokestacks? Sure, the ambient air around the terminal won’t meet Clean Air Act standards because of the terminal’s emissions. But since the public will be banned from entering a one-square-mile area around the floating terminal, it doesn’t really count.
And so what if lobstermen will have to move their pots, and fishermen can’t drag their nets because the eastern Sound’s traditional shipping channel will be shut down every time an LNG tanker comes through, say, six times a week, forcing vessels into the area traditionally worked by local fishermen for, oh, a couple of centuries. No biggie.
Recreational boaters and fishermen will experience minor inconvenience, sure.
But all told, the Sound really is the best place for Shell and TransCanada to set up shop.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says so. And not just FERC, you know, but Entrix Inc., the “independent” environmental consultants that prepared the final environmental impact statement for FERC. And they really know what they’re doing. After all, when they’re not working for FERC reviewing and analyzing LNG permit applications, they’re working for energy companies, like Chevron, preparing LNG permit applications to submit to FERC. So they’ve really got this stuff nailed.
Relax. The fate of the Sound, the stability of our local economy, our safety and security are all in the best of hands, tended by people whose only concern is our welfare and the greater good.
If there’s one thing we know by now, it’s this: What’s good for Big Energy is good for us all.

3 comments:

mikeo said...

Amen, denise. What more needs to be said?

Philipm said...

As I read through your paper accusing the FERC approval of carrying out “Bush’s wrong headed policy so he can enrich his family and friends” I had to go back to the front page for another look at the cover, I thought I was reading the N Y Times editorial page. Of course you have no proof of this accusation; you just want to blow off some hot air.

In typical fashion you paint a doomsday scenario of a terrorist attack much like a so called environmental group River Keeper headed up by Robert Kennedy Jr. They want to shut down the Indian Point Power plant. Who will make up for the lost power generation? That question doesn’t concern him. Why is Mr. Kennedy’s family trying to stop the wind farm from being built near his families Nantucket Island compound? I guess it’s the little people that have to make all the sacrifices.

Of course in your mind any business that works for the oil companies are always suspect. Environmental groups, they are as pure as the wind driven snow, no one ever challenges their facts and motives.

How is Long Island supposed to grow, provide more jobs and housing without more energy. We are still paying for a closed Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. Will heating oil be a $1000.00 per tank next year?

Everyone should want a minimal change to a habitat, but there needs to be some compromise. During this political season we here politicians talk about two America’s.
If Long Island can’t secure an environment with good energy supplies, affordable housing and reasonable taxes it will become a poster child for two America’s.

Philip
Mt. Sinai

Anonymous said...

Denise,
We are fighting a 348MW peaking power plant that is up for siting in a densely populate area here in Massachusetts. There are actually three right now, and each town and surrounding communities are fighting these proposals. They are ill conceived, and do not push anyone toward alternative energy sources. I could use every one of your points and substitute our issue- the arguments are the same on BOTH sides! The power company tells us this is an insurance policy for our energy future. I say, beware of insurance salesmen. It is a for-profit venture on the backs of residents. NO decrease in energy bills. And the developer tells us there will be no health impacts, and has also quoted "it's no big deal". We too face the argument, "well it has to go somewhere". No it doesn't. At least in NE, we have never hit the capacity need vs. capacity available to generate. Never. I wish you luck with your issue. We are all in the same boat! Paige Impink, Tewksbury MA http://www.BillericaPowerPlant.org