Mar 27 2015
Port Ambrose Decision Delayed, Feds “Stop the Clock”
Surfers hold sign opposing LNG port off coast of New Jersey.
Photo credit: South Jersey Surfrider
March 27, 2015
Port Ambrose Decision Delayed, Feds “Stop the Clock”

Category

Energy

The application for Port Ambrose, a deepwater port and gas pipeline off the coast of Long Island, has been delayed by federal agencies.

In a letter posted March 24, the Coast Guard and the federal Maritime Administration “stopped the clock” in evaluating the plan, noting that they lacked the information necessary to complete development of the final Environmental Impact Statement.

The agencies cited four reasons for their delay:

  1. During the comment period, more than 10,000 public comments were received; more time is required to review and respond to this input.
  2. This month, the Army Corps of Engineers began requiring pipelines to be buried 15 feet deep instead of 7 feet, a new rule that will have to be analyzed for the final environmental impact report.
  3. The Environmental Protection Agency must still review the project’s conformity to the Clean Air Act.
  4. “Financial responsibility data” from Liberty Natural Gas is due to on March 30th, and regulators would like time to analyze this information.

The letter did not specify how long the delay could last. This is the second timeline suspension since Liberty’s proposal was published in June 2013.

Bi-Partisan Opposition

The Port Ambrose project would pump liquified natural gas from 900-foot ships through 26-miles of sub-ocean pipeline into the existing natural gas system to serve Long Island.

The port has faced massive public and governmental opposition, especially in recent months. In New York, 52 bi-partisan legislators signed a letter against the proposed plan, urging a veto. In New Jersey, a resolution against the facility has been introduced in both the Senate and Assembly.

On April 1, the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection and the Committee on Waterfronts will hold a hearing on Resolution #549, which calls on Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose. Under federal law, a veto from either Cuomo or Christie will kill the plan.

Statements Released

Clean Ocean Action, a broad-based coalition of 125 groups, has been a leader in the fight against Port Ambrose. Upon learning of the federal delay, Executive Director Cindy Zipf released the following statement:

“The power of the people, over 60,000 and growing have spoken in strong opposition and overwhelmed the process for the first time. Port Ambrose LNG facility is treading water for now, but the ship isn’t sunk yet. We need all hands on deck and to keep up the pressure. Resolutions need to be passed, petitions signed urging both Governors to veto this dangerous proposal when the application is final. It is clear we have Liberty Natural Gas on the run, but the fight is not over and we will continue to fight until the ship has officially sunk.”

Liberty’s chief executive, Roger Whelan, said stopping the clock is a normal part of the process. “We support the Coast Guard’s efforts to conduct an extensive and thorough federal review and are confident the results will show the Port Ambrose project will have minimal impact on the environment,” he said in a statement.

Surfers hold sign opposing LNG port off coast of New Jersey.
Photo credit: South Jersey Surfrider
  • The army corps did not begin requiring pipelines to be buried 15 feet instead of 7 feet.

    The Port Ambrose project will not pump liquid natural gas.

    In reality 52 legislators signed a letter which states specifically that Port Ambrose ” would further aggravate environmental degradation by increasing New York’s reliance on natural gas” even though increased reliance on natural gas is both state and city policy. In reality 52 legislators signed a letter which states specifically that Port Ambrose ” could result in more fracking in the region” even though the opposite is actually true.

    In reality there are multiple form letters from around the country, in specific from food and water watch which are mostly about fracking and export, which the actual project is not about.

    http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=USCG-2013-0363-1981

    The media refused to cover something that is painfully obvious to see with only a little research: the antifracking movement in New York state has created a conspiracy theory on the Port Ambrose project.