Local opposition to a deepwater natural gas facility off the New York City coast has a new ally: Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Stringer joined Council Member Donovan Richards and the Community Board representing the Rockaways yesterday in their demand that Governor Cuomo veto the facility, Port Ambrose, which would be located 22 miles from the Rockaway peninsula and twenty miles off the coast of Long Island.
Port Ambrose “will have negative public health and environmental consequences for our coastal communities,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Liberty Gas [the project’s developer] and the U.S. Marine Administration have failed to provide the public with adequate information or opportunity to comment about expected benefits and impacts of the project. I stand with members of this community in opposition to this project.”
According to Liberty Gas, Port Ambrose would receive gas imports from the Caribbean in order to relieve supply bottlenecks and reduce fuel prices for Long Island residents and businesses. A statement from Council Member Richards’ office refers to Port Ambrose as an “export” facility, a point which is highly disputed by Liberty.
A public comment period on Port Ambrose has just closed. Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie both have the power to veto the project because of its proximity to the New York and New Jersey coasts.
Opponents are concerned that Port Ambrose may preclude the development of an offshore wind farm slated for the same location.
“Port Ambrose threatens to damage the marine ecosystem and the fishing communities that depend on them,” said the statement from Richards’ office. The project poses “a significant explosion and pollution threat to coastal communities, and increase[s] our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Council Member Richards, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, called the draft environmental impact review for Port Ambrose, released by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Maritime Administration, “a gross mischaracterization of the true impact Port Ambrose will have.”
“The communities of Rockaway and Long Beach strongly oppose this project,” Richards stated.