THE SOUND...DAVID PATERSON, NEW YORK'S GOVERNOR, DOES THE RIGHT THING!!!
Long Island Sound Fairfield County alternative
Commissioner has news for the pipeline
proposal...the schooner Amistad during its
journey to Bermuda in 2005. The ship,
built at Mystic Seaport, is now in Sierra Leone, from where La Amistad
sailed with cargoes of slaves in the early 19th century before it was
commandeered by slaves in 1839 and found off the Connecticut coast. The
slaves on board were eventually exonerated by an American court and set
free. Amistad received a joyous welcome in Sierra Leone Friday...and
Island Sound Page:
SWRPA VIDEO WAS
ON CABLEVISION CHANNEL
77, IN ADVANCE OF COAST GUARD/FERC HEARINGS...early in the process (Monday, August 1, 2005,
Stamford Government Center)...PRO-CON DISCUSSION ON BROADWATER (LNG for
THE INTERNET...ON BROADWATER
How, and to
whom, will the present CT Administration manage to shift blame this
for innovation, spending millions, leaders ignored major problems
Neena Satija, CT MIRROR
February 4, 2013
This is the
first of two parts examining the Stamford sewage treatment plant's long
history of problems, the financial implications for local residents and
environmental consequences for the entire state. Part two appears
tomorrow. Part Two here.
Stamford -- In the summer of 2010, residents in the Shippan
neighborhood began complaining of strong, unpleasant smells wafting
through their open windows and into their cars. They live near the
city's marinas and just to the south of its sewage treatment plant.
So George Stadel and Lou Basel, engineers and newly appointed members
to the treatment plant's governing board, took a tour of the facility
on Harbor View Avenue.
Four years earlier, the plant had completed a $105 million
state-of-the-art upgrade -- mostly paid for with state funds -- that
included four new odor control units. But during the board members'
tour, the equipment seemed to be in disrepair.
"We saw pieces of it lying on the ground. We saw a valve on the
ground," Stadel recalled.
When he and Basel asked an employee how long the units had been
offline, they got an answer they did not expect.
"He said, 'They've never worked,'" Stadel said.
The odor control units -- which plant operators say are "still not at
100 percent" -- are among the least of the many problems facing
Stamford's Water Pollution Control Authority, the multimillion-dollar
agency responsible for treating sewage for Stamford and neighboring
After borrowing millions of dollars from the city for immediate repairs
in recent years, the WPCA is likely to require millions more, and it
has no money on hand for emergencies. State environmental officials say
the agency will likely have to remedy that with a significant increase
in user rates.
Further, the WPCA appears to have suffered from years of administrative
dislocation and neglect. There has been no chief executive since May
2011, when then-Director Jeanette Brown resigned. Only within the past
few weeks has the city been able to find an interim director for the
"It is hard to believe," said Ernie Orgera, Stamford's director of
operations, who took over as WPCA board chairman last March. "I don't
know why things were overlooked for so long."
Many current and former officials say the problems can be traced to the
administration of then-mayor, now governor, Dannel P. Malloy. They say
Malloy, his operations director, Ben Barnes, and Brown skirted and
sometimes ignored standard procedures while trying to push through an
innovative, ambitious sewage project that could cement Stamford's
reputation as a cutting-edge city. The undertaking would turn waste
from the treatment plant into electric power, but was abandoned by the
city after Malloy left office.
Critics say that while Malloy, Barnes and Brown spent years and
millions of dollars planning the project, known as "Waste-to-Energy" or
"Stamford Biogas," they ignored the real issue: The plant was
malfunctioning regularly, costing the city, its harbor and Long Island
"Waste-to-Energy. This was the big thing," said Louis Casale, who was
on the WPCA board for about 10 years and left the chairmanship and the
board in late 2011.
"...We had no idea, at least I had no idea," he said, "that things at
the plant were literally falling down around us."
A collapsing pipe, sewage in the street
Former Stamford operations director Barnes insists that things were
going smoothly when he became the Malloy administration's state budget
czar in late 2010.
"The plant was largely in a state of good repair," he said. "I'm not
going to say that there weren't some issues that needed to be dealt
with, but I don't believe that there were issues that were out of
But officials from the state's Department of Energy and Environmental
Protection disagree. They say some serious problems should have been
addressed as far back as 2008, if not earlier. They say the WPCA has
failed to maintain its infrastructure properly -- possibly in violation
of state law.
"I think that a lot of these issues should have been dealt with a long
time ago ... maybe four years [at least]," said Carlos Esguerra, a
sanitary engineer for the DEEP in the agency's municipal facilities
In March 2011, the aging concrete in a 36-inch sewer pipeline in the
Wallack's Point neighborhood gave way.
Four million gallons of raw sewage rushed out of a manhole and onto the
streets, over-running one man's four-bedroom ranch house in the gated
community of spacious houses that overlooks Long Island Sound.
Sewage spewed out of the house's toilets and bathtubs for days. Health
officials deemed the house uninhabitable for a time, and the city
eventually paid the owner hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
At the time, Stamford had no comprehensive program to monitor the
condition of underground sewer lines -- and, in fact, still does not.
WPCA supervising engineer Prakash Chakravarti said the paperwork is now
in process for awarding one company the project, at cost of about $2
That project has not been the state officials' main concern, however.
... Secondary clarifier, pumps ...
The officials have chastised the WPCA for dragging its feet on fixing a
key piece of treatment equipment that broke more than a year ago. Known
as a "secondary clarifier," it is one of four huge circular tanks that
remove solid waste from sewer water.
Because only three such tanks have been in service since last summer
instead of the usual four, heavy rainfall tends to overwhelm them --
and water that should at least look clear once it leaves the tanks is
instead a chocolate-brown. A $1.4 million project to fix that clarifier
was finally completed in December, but since then, another clarifier
has been taken off-line for repairs.
"Our problem comes in when we get a torrential downpour ... and this
[system] can't handle that," said plant supervisor Bill Degnan, who
began his job in Stamford last summer. "Once it starts, we're under
Mother Nature. There's not a whole lot we can do until the volume of
water that's coming in from the storm eases off a little bit."
Superstorm Sandy did not cause any significant problems for the plant,
since rainfall was relatively low. But in late September, the lack of
that one working clarifier allowed 2 million gallons of sewer water to
flow into Stamford Harbor without being fully treated. The event, known
as a sewage bypass, dealt a blow to the area's already hard-hit
"When the sewage plant doesn't operate correctly, we have to close the
shellfish area," said David Carey, director of DEEP's aquaculture
division. The department must wait until bacterial and viral levels in
the water return to normal, or there's an increased chance of
food-borne illness for those who eat the harvested shellfish.
Carey said that as a result of sewage bypasses in 2011, Stamford
Harbor's shellfish beds were closed for more than 100 days.
"There was a huge impact," he said. Other bypasses, in 2012, were
caused not by problems with the secondary clarifier, but with the final
effluent pumps, which send the water into Stamford Harbor at the end of
the treatment process.
Last October, the pump controls failed. That caused high tide waters to
back up into the plant, interfering with the final steps of the
treatment process. About 43 million gallons of partially treated sewage
went into the harbor.
Normally, a backup pump should have kicked in. But Chakravarti said
that pump's controls were also out for repairs.
"We understand that, but that can't happen," Carey, of DEEP, said.
"Stamford didn't have a back up ... You're operating a system that's
critical to public health, and you don't have parts on hand."
... Faulty UV system
On top of concerns about the condition of the pumps is unease about the
ultraviolet disinfection system installed as part of the $105 million
upgrade in 2006. Engineers are still not convinced the ultraviolet
lighting is working as it should, and consultants are now evaluating
Optimally, the partially treated sewage is exposed to the UV radiation,
killing any living organisms. But during some periods of heavy rainfall
that occurred last year, staff at the plant had to raise and disable
the lamps. They did so out of concern that the effluent pumps couldn't
handle the excess water, which would then overwhelm the lamps.
Carey said that without the ultraviolet disinfection, there is a chance
that bacteria or viruses in the water could contaminate the fish caught
for human consumption.
"You can't take that chance," he said. "Sometimes we don't feel very
good about it, but we just can't guess."
Carey said the problems in 2011 were far worse than they were last
year, and he thinks plant operators are doing a better job. Still, the
key issues that caused the bypasses have not been fully addressed.
Controls for the effluent pumps have been fixed, but there is still
concern that the pumps themselves should have been built at a slightly
larger size during the upgrade. They will eventually need to be
replaced, at an estimated cost of $2 million.
As for the ultraviolet lighting, plant supervisor Degnan said that is
not a priority.
"That's something we want to look at, but we have a lot of issues here
that are more pressing right now than that," he said. "Right now, it
seems to work OK."
The state-of-the-art upgrade
Many of the plant's major problems date back to the $105 million
upgrade -- which included the installation of the ultraviolet lighting
system, effluent pumps and odor control units.
Completed in 2006, the improvements were celebrated with much fanfare.
The design engineering firm responsible for the work, Colorado-based
CH2M Hill, which has an office in Wethersfield, accepted a joint award
with the Stamford WPCA known as the "Grand Award for Engineering
Excellence" from the American Council of Engineering Companies in
Connecticut. Most of the upgrade was paid for by state, not local,
Jeanette Brown, the former plant director, insists that the upgrade was
successful, and that any problems now are because of the lack of good
management since she left in 2011.
"It was a really good project," Brown said. "First of all, we finished
on time and we finished on budget with no construction claims. For a
project that big, it's really a good thing. I don't know if Stamford
people realize the importance of not having claims after a project like
this." (A claim is a bill for further work that needs to be done after
a project is completed.)
In fact, millions of dollars have already been spent evaluating what
went wrong since the upgrade, and what else needs to be fixed. After
months of consideration, Stamford's Board of Finance is commissioning a
full audit of all capital projects that were done at the WPCA in the
past 10 years. It will be an expensive undertaking, but one that many
say is necessary.
"We spent a lot of money," said Louis Casale, former chairman of the
WPCA board. "It's a shame. Did we get what we paid for?"
Brown and Barnes pointed out that the upgrade included a new
state-of-the-art nitrogen removal system that has allowed the WPCA to
collect millions of dollars in nitrogen credits from the state.
"It was far and away the most successful nitrogen-removal program of
any WPCA in the state," Barnes said.
True, one observer says, but the hundreds of millions of gallons in
sewage bypasses may well have negated that.
"When you start having problems with your facilities... you almost
negate the benefit of nitrogen that you've gotten from other parts of
the year," said Leah Schmalz, legislative director for the advocacy
group Save the Sound.
Trying to get answers
The challenges have been tough for many Stamford and WPCA staff, who
say they are inheriting issues that were ignored for many years.
"Most of the infrastructure issues we're dealing with today are issues
that were born a number of years ago," said Mike Handler, the city's
new director of administration who began his job just a few months ago.
"But there's also an absence of good leadership and management at the
plant right now."
At a recent WPCA board meeting, the authority's auditor noted that, as
part of its yearly audit, it will cite the agency for "material
weakness" for the second straight year. That's the strongest reprimand
an auditor can give, said Bruce Blasnik, a partner with the Stamford
auditing firm O'Connor Davies.
"I don't think anyone can really tell me who's in charge of the plant
right now," Blasnik told Stamford officials at a recent meeting.
Blasnik said the firm had trouble completing its yearly audit: "We
couldn't get answers to questions we should have had answers to."
Financial management at the plant has also been under scrutiny, as
various officials argue over how much money the WPCA actually has to
take care of what needs to be done. When Handler wanted to lend the
WPCA $1.4 million from the city's coffers to pay for repairing its
secondary clarifier, members of the board of finance balked, saying the
agency should have millions from bond proceeds to pay for the work.
To resolve the issue, Handler resorted to paying the WPCA's auditor
$10,000 to complete a report showing that all of the WPCA's bond
proceeds had been spent. Some members of Stamford's Board of Finance,
an elected group, still insist that is not the case.
For years, the WPCA has borrowed money from the city to finance many of
its key projects. But state officials say the authority needs to have
far more money on hand for repairs. Most likely, the user rates --
which rose from $2.06 per hundred cubic feet of water in 2004 to $3.89
this year -- need to go higher. The current WPCA operating budget is
about $23 million.
"The system is falling apart, because they don't have enough money to
maintain it properly," said DEEP's Carlos Esguerra.
It's not clear whether the additional money will come from the state,
the city, or the sewer users in Stamford and Darien. But it will have
to come from somewhere.
As Dennis Greci of DEEP's municipal facilities section puts it: "In one
form or another, some taxpayers in Connecticut will wind up paying for
whatever repairs are needed in Stamford."
MAYOR MALLOY'S ATTEMPT AT BIOMAS
Stamford Water Polution Control Authority biogas upgrade to old
facility. On paper (l), abd on the ground (r)
is the second of two parts examining the Stamford sewage treatment
plant's long history of problems and their causes, the financial
implications for local residents and environmental consequences for the
entire state. Part I is available here.
Stamford's failed attempt at
energy innovation cost taxpayers tens of millions
Neena Satija, CT MIRROR
February 5, 2013
Stamford -- On a Wednesday evening in December, an overwhelmingly
unpleasant smell wafted over the parking lot at Stamford's sewage
treatment plant. It seeped into the cars of members of the plant's
governing board and stuck with them as they drove home after a meeting.
"In winter months, it's bad," said Prakash Chakravarti, supervising
engineer for Stamford's Water Pollution Control Authority. "In summer
months, it'll be even more exaggerated."
Chakravarti said the smell was coming from several trailers that are
parked nearby carrying the solid waste, known as "sludge," from the
Under more routine circumstances that sludge would not be festering in
trailers. Rather, it would be fed into Stamford's "drier/pelletizer," a
$17 million piece of equipment that sucks out excess water and converts
the sludge into "cakes" or "pellets."
The pellets were to be used as fuel to generate electricity in an
ambitious plan by the WPCA and the city known as "Waste-to-Energy," or
"Stamford Biogas" -- a plan that was shelved in 2010 before it could
produce a single kilowatt.
For several weeks recently, even the drier wasn't in use; its conveyor
belt, which transports the sludge into the machinery, had broken down.
It has since been fixed. But given that Stamford Biogas was
discontinued more than two years ago, Stamford and WPCA officials are
wondering if it makes sense to keep using the drier at all.
The drier -- and the smell of sludge waiting outside -- are probably
the least of the WPCA's worries at the moment. Plagued by
administrative mismanagement, failing equipment and a botched $105
million upgrade completed in 2006, the multimillion-dollar agency has
come under fire for sending hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage
into Long Island Sound in recent years.
But for many, the drier has become a symbol of what went wrong during
the city's previous mayoral administration, headed by now-Gov. Dannel
P. Malloy. The drier was the first phase of the Waste-to-Energy project
that Malloy's staff spent tens of millions of federal and local dollars
trying to implement.
The effort was led by the treatment plant's executive director Jeanette
Brown and Ben Barnes, Stamford's then-director of operations and now
the state's budget czar. It enjoyed strong support from Malloy.
After years of public outcry -- and after Malloy and Barnes had left
local office -- the city abandoned the project in mid-2010. By that
time, it was clear that serious issues with equipment at the treatment
plant had gone unaddressed for years.
"I think [the] staff kind of got misdirected, and people weren't really
looking at what our primary function and purpose was," said Mitch
Kaufman, a member of Stamford's Board of Representatives who is also on
the WPCA Board. " ... Instead of looking at it from a practical
perspective, they were thinking, 'Wow, this is cool.' "
During his 14 years as Stamford's mayor, Malloy touted his achievements
in cleaning up the city's environment and water -- as did Brown, who
was president of the national Water Environment Federation and known
nationally for her work. Brown was director of the sewage treatment
plant from 1975-2011.
The Biogas concept was relatively simple: Instead of hauling all the
sludge to a landfill, use the energy that it holds to create a
synthetic gas that can then power a generator.
Brown said she'd always been interested in the idea of converting waste
from sewage into energy. But it wasn't until the early 2000s, when U.S.
Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Chris Dodd earmarked federal funding for the
project, that she began to believe her dream could become reality.
"I always thought about the chemical energy that's embedded in sludge,"
said Brown, a professional engineer educated at the University of
Connecticut. "And it was always something like 'Why are we wasting
The city began working on research and development for the project
early in the decade, using $2 million in earmarks that were matched in
part by city funds. Stamford also borrowed $17 million, which it is
still paying off, for the sludge drier.
Once the drier was up and running, the city began educating the public
about the project -- and Brown traveled the country giving talks about
"I've been very aggressive on [the project's] behalf," Malloy told a
writer for the monthly publication of the Water Environment Federation
in February 2009. "We're going to prove this technology."
Brown told the same reporter, "We probably know more about bio-solids
gasification than perhaps anyone in the world."
But Malloy and Brown's numbers fluctuated wildly. Over a six-month
period, they gave widely varying figures on how much energy would be
produced -- first 10 megawatts, then 15 to 20 megawatts. During
testimony to Congress on sustainable water practices in February 2009,
Brown said the plant would produce 15 megawatts, enough to power about
One month later, Brown told members of Stamford's Board of Finance of a
"one- to two-megawatt facility," the same figure she used in later
applications for grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Cost estimates varied just as dramatically. A few months after Malloy
gave an estimate of $50 million to $60 million, Brown said the project
would cost $15 million to $20 million.
In a recent interview, Barnes said the project was scaled down
"Doing it on a smaller basis was certainly something that all of us
thought was appropriate. There's obviously some risk undertaking newer
technology," he said.
But other basic facts were at issue. On Malloy's website for his
candidacy for governor -- which has been disabled, but can still be
accessed -- a portion of the section named "Proven Results" reads:
"[Malloy] developed a facility that will turn wastewater into energy
without carbon emissions, the first project of its kind in the state."
In fact, the drier by itself produces significant emissions.
Public has questions
As the public education campaign on Stamford Biogas continued in 2009,
engineers and others who lived in Stamford began to take notice -- and
they started to ask questions.
Malloy and his team "were incompetent to do this and they had been
giving false information," said George Stadel, who revived the defunct
Stamford Taxpayers Political Action Committee (Stamford PAC) in early
2009 to launch opposition to the project. "Jeanette Brown parlayed this
into worldwide recognition for herself. She didn't know what she was
talking about, but she became famous."
In letters to the federal Department of Energy, local newspapers and
local officials, Stadel and the half-dozen active members of Stamford
PAC urged the city to abandon the project.
For months, their concerns fell on deaf ears -- and today, WPCA board
members admitted they were not asking the right questions at the time.
"Everyone was just saying, 'Go, go, go,' and most everything was being
done by [Malloy's] administration and Jeanette [Brown]," said Louis
Casale, who was on the WPCA board until 2011. "I think it was a lot of
hype and we got caught up in it."
Even city employees were wary of the project and the way it was being
pushed through the layers of Stamford government. In mid-2009, as
Barnes and Brown were readying new contracts to begin the second phase,
city lawyer Burt Rosenberg told them they didn't have the authority.
Nevertheless, Barnes and Brown were close to pushing through an
agreement with the Canadian-based company Nexterra to turn the dried
sludge into gas, in a technology known as gasification.
"This is a typical end run around [Stamford's] Purchasing Ordinance by
Jeanette [Brown]," Rosenberg wrote in an email to Tom Cassone, another
member of the Malloy administration at the time. "Nexterra will end up
with a $5.4 million contract without any legitimate procurement
Cassone responded, "Sorry Burt. Ben [Barnes] is under some pressure and
he and the WPCA board believe in this project." He did not specify
where that pressure was coming from.
Soon afterward, Rosenberg apparently met with Barnes. He later relayed
the events of the meeting to Cassone.
"Early in the conversation [Barnes] started screaming at me," Rosenberg
wrote. "[Barnes] basically accused me of being an obstructionist --
that I did not want to see the project go forward."
Rosenberg asked Barnes during the meeting why the WPCA had not issued a
competitive bid for proposals on the project, rather than simply
choosing Nexterra. According to Rosenberg's email describing the
encounter, Barnes had responded that "he wanted to get things done
quickly because the new [mayoral administration] will kill it."
Asked about the exchanges with Rosenberg, Barnes said he did not
remember the meeting Rosenberg was referring to, but that he was intent
on getting the project done.
"There was a time when I thought there might be an opportunity to
advance that project during my remaining time in the mayor's term,"
Barnes said. "[Malloy] was obviously not running again for election ...
so at the time we thought, well, maybe there's a way to get this
project completed before then. Ultimately we were not able to do that."
Rosenberg still works in Stamford's law department. He declined to
comment, citing client confidentiality.
Skepticism takes hold
Barnes' concerns proved correct. Indeed, Michael Pavia -- who was
campaigning for mayor in 2009 -- was deeply skeptical of the project.
"During the [mayoral] campaign, that waste-to-energy plant at the WPCA
became the poster child for spending that shouldn't be happening,"
Another key setback for Malloy's administration regarding the project
came when it was determined that the dried sludge alone would not
provide enough energy to power combustion engines and create
electricity. So Brown and Barnes suggested that the city truck in wood,
which, when burned with the gasified sludge, would do the job.
"It just kind of went way beyond what was practical," Pavia said.
Barnes agreed that the switch from sludge to part wood showed
"legitimate operational technical issues that we never resolved."
Ultimately, Nexterra never built the gasifier, and the WPCA board voted
to kill the project in mid-2010. The vote came on the heels of reports
from two separate consulting companies the city had paid to answer the
question of whether Stamford Biogas was ultimately feasible. Both
reports said that while the project was "technically" feasible, it was
not economically prudent.
But Brown, along with Malloy's staff -- who had by then moved from
Stamford to the state Capitol -- still insisted that ending the project
was a mistake. On the day the project was voted out by the WPCA, George
Stadel remembers Brown saying, "It's not over yet."
"For the most part, municipalities aren't willing to take risks, and
risks are necessary to do some of these things," said Brown.
She echoed Barnes' assumption that the project might have gone forward
had Malloy remained mayor, adding that she had worked "very closely
with [Malloy's] directors" on it.
"Mayor Malloy was very much committed to our project, but with the
change of administration, you get different philosophies," Brown said.
"So it didn't go forward."
Sometime in early 2011, Barnes -- then secretary of the Office of
Policy and Management under Gov. Malloy -- approached Pavia about
transferring the waste-to-energy project from Stamford to the state in
order to revive it.
"I thought it was worth exploring," Barnes said, although eventually,
the state did not take on the project. "Frankly, we had a lot of other
things going on."
Asked if he thought the state could really have taken on the project,
Pavia said, "You know, I really don't."
"I think, just being in government and knowing the kinds of intricacies
that take place, it's hard enough to manage the normal operation
without going into experimentation," he said.
Stamford Biogas may be dead -- but the city is still paying for it. A
five-year, several million-dollar contract to operate the sludge drier
will expire in March, and WPCA and city officials are debating whether
to simply shut it down. Stamford Operations Director Ernie Orgera said
he thinks the city could save as much as $1 million a year by doing so.
Of course, as Board of Representatives and WPCA board member Mitch
Kaufman pointed out, the drier will still cost the city more money.
"We bonded the money, so we're paying interest on it," he said.
"We're still going to pay interest on it, whether it's running or
One Proposal For Amtrak
Bullet Train Route: Under Long Island Sound
By DON STACOM, firstname.lastname@example.org
5:01 PM EDT, September 3, 2012
HARTFORD —As Amtrak studies how to bring bullet trains to its
frantically busy Northeast Corridor, one design team is suggesting a
radically new route requiring a roughly 18-mile-long tunnel beneath
Long Island Sound.
Trains speeding from Washington to Boston would run through the heart
of Long Island, cross into Connecticut through a tunnel emerging in
Milford, head to Hartford and then race east toward Worcester on new
tracks running alongside I-84.
The segment between Manhattan and Hartford would cost about $20
billion, according to the University of Pennsylvania's high-speed rail
design studio, which first put forward the idea in 2010. Overall, the
full 450-mile route from Washington to Boston would cost about $100
billion, PennDesign said.
Amtrak is focusing on its own "NextGen High-Speed Rail" map for the
corridor, a proposal that would skip the Long Island section and cost
an estimated $151 billion. But PennDesign's plan isn't off the table.
Advocates of bullet trains in the Northeast acknowledge that a project
of such magnitude, regardless of the routing or specific details, would
require enormous private investment.
PennDesign's proposal includes a series of public-private financing
scenarios, while Amtrak's own proposal doesn't address revenue sources.
Last month, Amtrak President Joseph Boardman told The New York Times:
"We can worry about where the money is coming from, but we need to have
a plan in place so when it does, we're ready."
Unlike many of the high-speed routes that President Barack Obama
proposed and the Republican Congress scuttled, some form of modern,
fast passenger train service on the Northeast Corridor has at least a
bit of bipartisan appeal. GOP transportation leaders in Congress have
said they're open to discussing proposals because the Northeast
Corridor is the busiest and most financially viable part of Amtrak's
system. They've also insisted the private sector would have to play a
major role in any plan that advances.
Calling the Washington-Philadelphia-New York-Boston corridor "the
economic powerhouse of the United States," PennDesign contends that
high-speed rail is essential to relieving congestion and accommodating
population growth over the next 30 years. Amtrak served about 11
million passengers on the Northeast Corridor last year, and projects
steady increases as the region's population grows in the next three
Amtrak has been outselling airlines' short-hop flights on Northeast
Corridor routes. Analysts say business travelers are drawn by lower
prices and a trip that's ultimately faster than flying. Travel time,
even on the Acela, is far longer than flying, but that can be balanced
off by the convenience of trains: Passengers quickly board in one
downtown and arrive in the downtown of their destination city. Air
travel requires time-consuming security screenings and check-in
procedures, along with long and costly trips to and from airports on
With that basis, the Federal Railroad Administration is embarking on a
three-year study of what should be the long-term map for high-speed
trains in the Northeast. It has established a website explaining
details of its planning process: http://www.necfuture.com/
Connecticut is a particularly problematic stretch of the existing
shoreline route because of century-old bridges and steady twists and
bends along the southeastern coast. They prevent the Acela from getting
anywhere close to its top-rated speed of 150 mph. Amtrak's own proposal
is to bring trains from New York up to Danbury, then create an all-new
corridor running to Waterbury and then Hartford before banking eastward
European-style high-speed rail would require two tracks dedicated
exclusively to 220 mph bullet trains, advocates say. The routes would
have to be mostly uninterrupted by grade crossings or sharp curves so
that the trains could maintain speed and stick to much faster schedules
than what Amtrak offers now.
report touches off new Plum Island controversy
Ana Radelat, CT MIRROR
July 20, 2012
Washington -- Connecticut's environmental community is dismayed at a
study released Friday on the sale of Plum Island because they believe
its recommendations do not adequately protect the island's unique
ecology and wildlife.
Curt Johnson, an attorney for Save the Sound, said his group will push
back against the study's conclusions... Read full story here.
DEEP to Study Decline of Lobsters in Long Island Sound
Will Include Potential Impact of Pesticides
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is undertaking
a comprehensive study seeking reasons for the continued decline in the
lobster population of Long Island Sound.
"We are now
developing the procedures and protocols for a study that will rely on a
Sound-wide sampling of lobsters and sophisticated laboratory tests to
obtain a better understanding of why this species - and an industry it
has historically supported – is now in danger of collapse in Long
Island Sound," said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.
testing and analysis we will focus on stress factors, such as high
water temperatures or chemical contaminants that may be contributing to
the decline of the lobster population,” Esty said. “We will also
develop a screening - similar to an annual physical exam – to monitor
the vital signs of lobster health over time."
Esty said the
study will include the possible role played by pesticides in the
mortality of lobsters, given attention this issue has received from
lobstermen and others, the availability of more sophisticated and
sensitive test technology, and the results of preliminary tests
conducted by DEEP and UConn on lobsters taken from Long Island Sound
in Long Island Sound have declined from 3.7 million pounds in 1998 to
just 142,000 pounds in 2011.
Between 1984 and
1998 state lobster landings averaged 2.3 million pounds. Lobster
abundance and landings in the Sound have declined steadily, to present
record low levels, since that time.
The central and
western Sound, where landings have fallen by 99% since 1998, has seen
the greatest decline in lobster abundance.
During the 2012
session of the General Assembly legislation was introduced, and
approved by the House of Representatives substitute House Bill 5260),
to restrict the use of the pesticide methoprene, a larvicide used to
combat mosquitoes, in coastal areas. This legislation did not
come to a vote in the state Senate.
Working with the
University of Connecticut’s Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory,
DEEP staff conducted tests on lobsters taken from the catch of a
lobsterman in an area in the middle of the Sound, south of Norwalk, in
September, 2011. Nine weak lobsters and one that appeared healthy
were taken to the lab for necropsies, which involved macrosopic and
microscopic examination of tissues. The collections and
laboratory examinations were undertaken in response to fishermen
reports of dead and weak lobsters in the western basin on the Sound
stress associated with warm fall water temperatures in Long Island
Sound is often viewed as the fundamental cause of lobster
mortality, DEEP staff took samples and arranged for tests in
order to determine whether the mortalities could be attributed directly
to excessive temperatures or potentially due to bacterial or parasitic
infection capitalizing on the stressed condition of the lobsters.
necropsy results provided no evidence of a consistent pattern of tissue
injury that would explain the mortalities.
Fisheries staff also asked the UConn lab to test lobster tissues for
the presence of pesticides, in order to take advantage of technological
advances that now allow for detection of compounds in concentrations as
low as 1.5 parts per billion, or one tenth the former detectable
tissues (tomalley or liver and reproductive organs) were tested for the
presence of three mosquito control agents: malathion, methoprene,
and resmethrin. The tests showed some lobsters collected in the
mid-Sound waters were exposed to resmethrin and at least one was
exposed to methoprene. Malathion was not present in any of the
preliminary nature of these tests and the small sample size, it is not
yet clear what the presence of the pesticides in the lobster tissue
means to the relative health of the lobster population.
on the Pesticides
malathion are used to control mosquitoes through fogging. Very
small amounts of these products were used in Connecticut for mosquito
control in 2011. In addition, malathion can be applied to
landscapes as a pesticide. Resmethrin is also applied on interior sites
as a general pesticide. Methoprene is an insect growth regulator
that prevents insect pupa from maturing into the adult stage. It
is used to control mosquito larvae in stagnant water and is also used
in homes and on pets to control fleas. The three pesticides decay
rapidly in nature and are not expected to accumulate in the
environment, which made their presence in lobster tissue an issue
meriting further study
When it comes to human health and safety, the detection of pesticides
in the organs from a small number of lobster samples does not warrant a
change in consumption advisories now in place – which remind consumers
that tomalley can be high in contaminants and should not be eaten. DEEP
staff also notes that the pesticide compounds would tend to accumulate
most in fatty tissues and not at the same levels in the lean meat of
lobsters typically consumed by people.
resource abundance and fishery monitoring will continue to be important
components of the agency’s lobster population monitoring efforts along
with the year-round Long Island Sound water temperature monitoring the
agency has conducted for more than 20 years. Moving forward, a
comprehensive Sound-wide lobster health assessment program will be
designed and implemented. While plans for the study are
still being finalized, DEEP expects to:
- Begin taking individual lobsters from the Sound for health
assessment this summer
- Start lab tests in July
- Have results available for analysis beginning in the fall
consulting with outside experts in appropriate scientific fields to
design the study and finalize the types of tests to conduct on the
lobster samples. Testing will include additional work to learn
more about the presence of pesticides in lobster tissue and the
possible impact it has on the health of this species.
planned by DEEP will fill in major gaps in our understanding of the
decline of the lobster population in Long Island Sound,” said
Commissioner Esty. “There has not been a thorough study conducted
with the type of sophisticated laboratory tools now available to us.”
and lobster fishing in Long Island Sound are an important part of
the history and cultural identity of shoreline communities in
this state,” Esty said. “We look forward to launching this
study and sharing the results with everyone who has an interest in this
critical issue, so we can consider any steps that might reasonably help
rejuvenate our lobster population.”
Pesticides found in LI Sound lobsters
for the first time: more study planned
Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
of Energy and Environmental Protection has confirmed the
presence of pesticides in Long Island Sound lobsters -- albeit a very
small sample -- for the first time since the crustaceans began their
precipitous decline in 1999.
The findings are
a surprise to the scientific and environmental
communities, which have generally thought that warming water in the
Sound was causing the die-off. The commercial fishing industry,
however, has long pointed its finger at pesticide runoff because the
lobster decline coincided with the West Nile Virus outbreak and the use
of mosquito sprays to combat it.
"I'm sure there
are a couple of fishermen who'll say, 'I told you so,'"
said David Simpson, the director of Marine Fisheries at DEEP. "I was
pretty surprised; I was expecting no pesticide residue at all."
even with the pesticide findings, Long Island Sound
lobster posed no health risk. The pesticides were found in lobster
organ tissue, not meat, and in any case the levels were below what is
considered harmful. And with lobster hauls at historic lows, the
likelihood of actually buying a Connecticut lobster -- while higher in
this state -- is still low.
in Long Island Sound dropped from 3.7 million pounds
in 1998 to 142,000 pounds last year. That period was also marked by
warming water trends and a clear shift from colder water species to
warmer water ones in the Sound.
such as striped bass, summer flounder, scup and
butterfish increased while cold-water species such as winter flounder,
Atlantic herring, winter skate and lobster seemed to move north.
consistently showed no presence of pesticides. Until now.
testing technology that could detect concentrations of
substances one-tenth the size of that tested previously prompted DEEP's
Marine Fisheries Division to partner with the University of
Connecticut's Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory to try testing
again last September.
nine weak ones and one healthy one, were tested for
Malathion, methoprene and resmethrin. All three chemicals had been used
to combat mosquitoes, though less so recently. The state's
anti-mosquito efforts now center on nonchemical bacterial products that
target mosquito larvae.
showed no Malathion in the lobsters. One tested positive
for methoprene -- which is used to inhibit growth of insects, and there
were three positive tests for resmethrin, including in the seemingly
results are completely puzzling to me," said Bradford
Robinson, supervising environmental analyst in DEEP's pesticide
management program. "It's a very head-scratching result that has us all
kind of baffled.
"I don't think
it's a smoking gun."
Simpson. "I haven't learned anything new that changes the
opinion that stressful water temperature in the fall is the most likely
cause of the mortality we've seen," he said, referring to the
historical death of lobsters when water in the Sound is at its warmest.
Leah Schmalz of
Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the
Environment, said she was intrigued by the initial pesticide findings.
"The theory has
been floating around for quite some time, but this is
the first real proof," she said. "I was in the 'increased water
temperature is the leading cause of stress and mortality' camp, and
thought that perhaps other factors were compounding that impact. While
it is entirely too early to say, this finding has me wondering if
'perhaps' we had it backwards."
Backer, D-Stratford, said in a statement that the findings
“reinforce our contention that the use of methoprene and other ultra
toxic pesticides in our waters for the purposes of killing mosquito
larva is dangerous and reckless.” He called for the re-introduction of
legislation that failed this year that would have curtailed its use.
DEEP now plans
more extensive testing beginning this summer. It will
include testing for additional pesticides in a much larger sample of
lobsters as well as testing of water temperature and contamination.
Robinson said he would recommend looking for the widely used pyrethroid
family and insecticides similar to Malathion.
recommends testing northern water lobsters from Maine for
He and Simpson
point out there are many questions, including if the
timing of last year's testing -- after Tropical Storm Irene resulted in
large amounts of runoff into the Sound -- was a factor.
"Will we find it
again?" Robinson asked. "Is this an anomaly?"
DEEP expects its
first results this fall.
"This study may
finally give the region something solid to work from,"
closures/advisories multiplied by days?
Report ranks Connecticut low in beach quality
Amanda Cuda, CT POST
Updated 06:16 p.m., Wednesday, June 27, 2012
With temperatures expected to hit the 80s and 90s over the next few
days, many people will likely head to the beach to cool off. But a
report released by an environmental nonprofit agency showed that might
be a risky proposition because the water quality at the state's beaches
is among the nation's worst.
On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Defense Council released its 22nd
annual "Testing the Waters" report which ranked 30 states with coastal
or Great Lakes beaches on their beach water quality. Connecticut ranked
26th, with 11 percent of samples taken from its beaches in 2011
exceeding the state's daily maximum bacterial standard of 104 colonies
per 100 milliliters.
The state also had a sharp increase in beach closure/advisory days
between 2010 to 2011, from 143 to 538 days. The spike was due largely
to last year's heavy rainfall, particularly from Tropical Storm Irene,
which hit the region last August. The report showed that about 21
percent of the closings were pre-emptive, due predominantly to Irene,
and 49 percent were pre-emptive because of heavy rainfall other than
Irene. About 21 percent of closing/advisory days were because of
elevated bacteria levels. The remaining 4 percent were due to reports
of swimmers itch.
Coincidentally, the report came out the same day that the state
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection closed two state
beaches and partially another to poor water quality. Silver Sands State
Park in Milford and Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic and part of
Sherwood Island State Park in Westport were closed until further notice.
"The heavy rain that we received over the weekend and the associated
runoff resulted in poor water quality and the resultant closings," said
DEEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner. "They have been re-sampled today
(Wednesday) and we will have results tomorrow. We are hopeful we will
be able to reopen some, if not all of the closed beaches."
Locally, experts and advocates said great strides have been taken to
improve Connecticut's waters, but the Natural Resources Defense Council
report shows more work needs to be done. The number of closings from
2011 is particularly shocking, said Leah Schmalz, director of
legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound, a program of the
Connecticut Fund for the Environment.
"We it knew it was going to be bad because of Irene, but I have to say
that we were stunned," she said. The spike in closings was "unfortunate
for residents who rely on the beaches in summer that they were so often
closed or under advisory," Schmalz added.
As for the water quality at the state's beaches, Schmalz said a number
of factors can contribute to high bacterial levels, including
stormwater runoff. Runoff occurs when rainwater or melted snow isn't
absorbed into the ground and runs back into lakes, rivers and oceans.
During its journey, the precipitation collects debris, chemicals and
other materials from the surfaces it comes into contact with. By the
time it ends up in Long Island Sound or similar bodies of water, "it
becomes a toxic stew that can increase bacterial loads," Schmalz said.
Gardner also cited runoff as an issue and said the problem has been
exacerbated in recent years by increasing development along the shore.
Another possible contributor to water pollution in the state is sewage
overflow, Schmalz said. Gardner said the state has tried to address
that issue by spending millions of dollars in recent years upgrading
existing sewage treatment plants and building new ones.
Of Connecticut's beaches, areas with the worst water quality included
Short Beach in Stratford, where 27 percent of samples taken in 2011
exceeded the state's maximum bacterial standards. Short Beach had seven
closing or advisory days in 2011.
The findings came as a surprise to Stratford resident Michelle Maddan,
who was at the beach with her 4-year-old son Mike on Wednesday. "The
water generally seems pretty clean, but I guess you can't really see
bacteria," Maddan said. She added that the report wasn't a huge
concern, as she and her family don't typically swim in the water at
Short Beach. "Sometimes we wade in it, but not to the point where it
would be near our noses or mouths. I don't normally see people swimming
Maureen Whelan, environmental health supervisor for the Town of
Stratford, said the town is vigilant about water quality, closing
whenever bacteria levels are too high. She said there are a number of
reasons why pollution might spike. "Certainly, the number of people
using the beach has increased, and the number of animals has increased,
and that can all contribute to increased bacteria," Whelan said.
Of the state's beaches, Green Harbor Beach in New London had, at 52
percent, the highest percentage of samples with bacterial levels above
the state standard. At 36, Green Harbor also had the highest number of
closing or advisory days in the state.
Nationwide, there were 23,481 closing or advisory days at the beaches
studied by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2011. This was a 3
percent decrease from 2010. Water quality at America's beaches remained
largely stable, with 8 percent of beach water samples nationwide
violating public health standards in 2011 -- the same percentage as in
2010. Of the all the states, Louisiana had the worst beach quality with
29 percent of samples from its beaches exceeding daily maximum
COURANT'S SOURCE: How many days,
again? I thought there were 365 days per year total!
State Beach Closures Jump; Water
Quality Among Worst In U.S.
The Hartford Courant
By JOSH KOVNER, email@example.com
12:00 PM EDT, June 27, 2012
Beach closings in the state jumped four-fold last year and Connecticut
ranked 26th of 30 states in overall swimming-water quality, according
to an environmental group's latest annual report on the nation's beach
In response, state officials noted the threats to water quality posed
by storm run-off, aging urban infrastructure and suburban sprawl. But
they said Connecticut's beaches are cleaner overall than they were 10
years ago. They said last year was something of an aberration.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said in its report, released
Wednesday morning, that the torrential rains and violent churnings of
Tropical Storm Irene in August helped increase beach-closing days from
143 days in 2010 to 538 last year...full story here.
Really most sincerely
Jan Ellen Spiegel
March 7, 2012
If you were wondering how much more dead the dead Broadwater liquefied
natural gas plant that was proposed for the middle of Long Island Sound
back in 2004 could get, the answer is, it could get really, really dead.
Today it was announced that Broadwater Pipeline LLC had requested to
withdraw from its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificates,
which were granted in 2008. In 2009, the U.S. Commerce Department ruled
against the project, effectively killing it.
A joint effort of Royal Dutch Shell and TransCanada, it would have put
a huge LNG facility just inside the New York side of the Sound along
with a nearly 22-mile-long underwater pipeline. Groups in both states,
with then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal leading the legal effort,
fought it for years, arguing it was dangerous and detrimental to the
"Total withdrawal of Broadwater may seem anticlimactic, but to me, this
is a powerful reminder of all we accomplished by working together on
both sides of the Sound to protect this treasured resource we share,"
said Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, in a prepared statement. Arguably
Reed's public career was ignited by her anti-Broadwater activism.
So for Broadwater, to paraphrase the immortal words of the munchkin
coroner in "The Wizard of Oz": It's not only merely dead, it's really
most sincerely dead.
Conn., NY announce LI Sound
Updated 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Environmental officials on Tuesday said new efforts are being
made to reduce the amount of sewage and storm water being dumped into
Long Island Sound and improve habitats in the waterway that's shared by
Connecticut and New York.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York Department of
Environmental Conservation and Connecticut Department of Energy and
Environmental Protection said in addition to continued progress in
reducing nitrogen pollution and sewer and sanitary sewer overflows,
programs are being established to use shellfish and seaweed to reduce
New targets are being set to restore 200 acres of coastal habitat and
reopen 80 miles of migratory areas to fish, according to the
announcement made at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich.
State Sen. L. Scott Frantz, a Republican from Greenwich, said the goals
represent a "spirit of cooperation" between environmentalists and
businesses such as marinas, shipyards and others that rely on the Sound
to make money.
"I don't see it as a big compromise," he said. "I see it as an
education play so private industry can say what their needs are ... so
environmentalists can know business a lot better and vice versa."
Citing recent progress in the Long Island Sound restoration, officials
announced an "action agenda" with 54 steps to improve water quality and
Tuesday's event was also the last stop of a summer-long "schooner tour"
of Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island, by the
environmental groups Save the Sound and the Long Island Sound Study's
Citizens Advisory Committee. The Long Island Sound Study, sponsored by
EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York, brings in business,
environmental groups, agencies, community groups and universities to
work together to protect the Sound.
The tour unveiled the Sound Vision Action Plan, the citizens advisory
committee's plan to restore and protect the Sound.
Rebecca Kaplan, a Save the Sound spokeswoman, said the action agenda is
consistent with what Save the Sound and CAC are proposing.
Officials also said they will commit to making Long Island Sound a "no
discharge zone" for waste.
New York and federal environmental officials announced that beginning
Thursday, boaters will be banned from discharging sewage into an
additional 760 square miles on the New York state portion of the Sound.
The ban has been in force on the Connecticut side since 2007.
The expanded zone includes New York harbors, bays and navigable
tributaries of the Sound and part of the East River in New York City
from the Hell Gate Bridge stretching east to Block Island.
Richard Kral, owner of Cos Cob-based Beacon Point Marine, welcomes any
additional moves to improve water quality.
"It's important that we are all cognizant of releasing storm water and
preventing contaminated water into the Sound," he said.
Kral's marina has a pump-out station that allows boaters to discharge
sewage from their boats. The town has pump-out stations at the Grass
Island and Cos Cob marinas.
Kral said his station is located at his fuel dock, enabling boaters to
easily dispose of their sewage while fueling.
"It's convenient and you see a lot of boaters taking advantage of it,"
Nancy Seligson, a Mamaroneck, N.Y., councilwoman and co-chairwoman of
the Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee, said the new
efforts address pollution, restoring habitat, research and other
The Sound is "pretty clean in a general sense," she said, but it's
plagued by storm water run-off and sewage treatment plant overflows
The Associated Press contributed to
New Long Island Sound
plan advocates public involvement
Jan Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
August 1, 2011
NEW HAVEN -- The last time a comprehensive conservation and management
plan was created for Long Island Sound was 1994. The estuary was
severely stressed from pollution, toxins, garbage, poorly regulated
development and general neglect.
But the phrase "climate change" had yet to enter the public lexicon,
the concept of sea level rise was barely a blip, lobsters were
plentiful in advance of a calamitous die-off, the Sound had not yet
become a target for energy pipelines and projects and the economy was
poised to soar before its current plunge.
With today's release of Sound Vision-- the first comprehensive review
and agenda since 1994--changes that have resulted from those factors
are now being considered. But perhaps most important, the realization
that public involvement may be key to the future of Long Island Sound
has moved to the forefront of recommendations.
"We constantly tell [people] that Long Island Sound is not doing as
great as it should be," said Leah Lopez Schmalz of Save the Sound, a
program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. "But what
are they supposed to do about that?"
The report was nearly two years in the making by the citizens advisory
committee of the Environmental Protection Agency-financed and
coordinated Long Island Sound Study. It includes a two-year Citizen
Action Agenda, two dozen generalized points distilled from many dozens
of short, intermediate and long-range goals in the larger report--a
10-year blueprint, though with no specific policy or legislative
The points are grouped in four categories roughly corresponding to
cleaning the water, creating and preserving wildlife habitat,
re-inventing shoreline communities and businesses related to the Sound,
and securing funding for projects.
Underlying all of it is citizen engagement. The three dozen members of
the committee--environmental advocacy, business, scientific and other
interested organizations from Connecticut and New York -- discovered
through focus groups that people's relationships with the Sound has
eroded due to a literal inability to get to it and a failure to
integrate programs related to it across broad spectrums of business,
community and government.
"I've always known that public access wasn't the best. It's not
California, you can't get to any beach you want to," Schmalz said. "But
I didn't really realize how significant that issue is."
From the land, public access often doesn't exist where it can and isn't
marked where it does. Urban access is even more problematic, especially
for minority populations who often live near areas unfit for use.
From the water, silt buildup threatens to lock in small recreational
harbors and marinas. Without dredging, there's potential for a negative
economic impact, but the cost to dredge is often too high for
cash-strapped communities or private organizations.
Schmalz and others said if people can't physically connect to the
Sound, asking them to do things like not put pesticides or fertilizer
on their lawn so they won't wash pollution into the Sound, simply won't
"Giving them those access opportunities and making them feel like they
are part of the Sound community is really critical in getting them to
do attitude and lifestyle changes," she said.
Joe McGee, vice president for public policies for the Business Council
of Fairfield County, one of the organizations represented on the Sound
Vision committee, said his group pushed for action after noticing that
Long Island Sound had dropped off the list of priorities for businesses
in his area.
He believes the reason is that same lack of public engagement and lays
some of the blame on the very organizations that advocate for the
Sound, citing competition among them for status related to their
fundraising needs. But he, like others, said in the end, the groups
came together in a unified, message that dovetails their goals which he
thought would help bring businesses and the people to work in them to
"Long Island Sound is such a treasure; it's a major piece of what makes
Connecticut, Connecticut," he said. "To attract young people, the
environmental stewardship component is very important. We have to show
that this place isn't a junkyard.
"Part of the branding of the state of Connecticut has got to have the
issue of environment and Long Island Sound."
Despite the emphasis on public involvement, many of the practical
issues that bubbled up as the top recommendations in Sound Vision, and
the ones that are likely to find their ways into legislative
priorities, are the same ones that have been around for years--mainly
related to cleaning the water, even though the Sound is considerably
cleaner than it was when the 1994 management plan came out.
One of the biggest success stories is the money spent on upgrading
sewage treatment plants. The report's authors traced the sources and
uses of money over the years, discovering that the vast majority came
from the state of Connecticut.
Even so, hypoxia, a lack of oxygen thought to be in part responsible
for some fish and shellfish die-offs, remains a frustrating problem. It
has somewhat stabilized--good news in the global scheme of things since
hypoxia generally is increasing worldwide. But the more scientists
study it, the more they've realized that just getting rid of nitrogen
in sewage was not the solution.
"If there was one mistake made, it might have been that we portrayed
early on if do this one thing it will get back to how it should be,"
said Prof. Carmela Cuomo, head of the marine biology department at the
University of New Haven and co-chair of the Sound Study's scientific
and technical advisory committee.
"It's not that simple."
Nitrogen she said may also be coming from trapped sediment in the
western Sound or even the atmosphere and hypoxia may have other
sources. Her group is completing updated scientific findings.
The Sound is clearly shifting as its waters warm--likely from climate
change, Cuomo said - bringing with it fewer cold water inhabitants like
lobsters and winter flounder and more warm water species like blue
crab. But it is not dead, she said.
"It annoys me when it's portrayed that way," she said also underscoring
its economic importance generating $9 billion annually for the region
it borders. "But it cannot be an economic driver if we don't look at it
in a sustainable way."
To make that happen, Schmalz suspects her group will focus on policies
and legislation that continue funding for more sewage treatment
upgrades, though the Malloy administration has already increased that
dramatically over where it had been.
Another likely focus will be marine coastal spatial planning--literally
mapping its layers of uses from the sea floor to the water surface to
figure out where the intersecting interests are and how to potentially
realign them to insure sustainability, the best economic model and
environmental protection. Another may be a push for green
infrastructure in cities and towns that feed into the Sound and its
watershed. It could potentially insist on things like capturing and
reusing storm runoff instead of letting it wash away. And there could
be a push to enforce public access laws to begin the process of
heightening public interest in the Sound.
For Grant Westerson, president of the Connecticut Marine Trades
Association with about 300 members among the 550 recreational boating
businesses and their 10,000 employees in Connecticut, who also helped
write the report, that public access component is paramount for the
survival of the waterfront businesses he represents
"Our concern has always been that part of the waterfront just doesn't
disappear from public use. It's nice to have areas preserved, but you
can take that to an extreme," he said adding that he thought the report
fairly balanced those two points of view.
But realistically he said: "It's an exercises in wishes at this stage.
The money isn't there to do anything. Trying to bring this to the
public's attention is probably the biggest chance we have at success."
and failing wastewater plants
sending sewage into Sound
Frank Juliano, CT POST, Staff Writer
Published 06:26 p.m., Saturday, March 26, 2011
Beach closings and shellfishing bans could become as common as cookouts
this summer, environmentalists warn, because of aging and failing
sewage treatment plants.
Bridgeport, Shelton and Norwalk are under consent decrees or court
orders to reduce the amount of raw or partially-treated sewage
discharged into waterways -- known as bypass -- but repairs and
upgrades will cost millions and take years to complete. Stamford,
Danbury and Greenwich also have enforcement actions against them for
befouling waterways with sewage. With repairs going slowly, this mean
that in particularly rainy years, more raw or partially treated sewage
is entering the Long Island Sound and other waterways.
"I do not subscribe to the theory that dumping sewage into our waters
is an insignificant problem, and neither should residents,'' said Leah
Schmalz, legal affairs director of Save the Sound."We cannot rely on
the whims of Mother Nature -- either through dry weather or "scrubbing
tides'' -- to treat our pollution problems.''
Since the watersheds of the state's rivers are webbed together, and
ultimately all surface water reaches Long Island Sound, sewage spills
anywhere in the state affect everybody, said Margaret Minor, director
of the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.
"It's a very serious problem,'' she said. "Sewage carries pathogens and
it is not healthy stuff to be around.''
The bypasses also impact businesses, Schmalz said. Shellfish beds in
the Sound off Bridgeport were closed on half of all the harvestable
days last year because of pollution, she said.
She said one fifth-generation shell fisherman would like to expand his
operation on the Sound floor off Bridgeport but can't. "Right now the
beds get shut down as soon as Mother Nature sends a storm our way. The
situation is so unpredictable that right now, it isn't a prudent
Bridgeport and Norwalk, along with New Haven and West Haven, have
"combined'' plants, with rain and waste arriving through the same
network of pipes to be treated. In periods of heavy rain, those plants
are inundated with water and must bypass raw or partially-treated
sewage into the Sound.
"If we got more than a half-inch of rain in 24 hours, you can pretty
much bet that we bypassed,'' said Bill Robinson, the acting director of
Bridgeport's Water Pollution Control Authority.
The city's two wastewater plants bypassed full treatment 43 times
during 2010, according to data from the state Department of
Environmental Protection. In every case, the event was caused by heavy
rain flowing into the plants.
"We estimate that it will cost $2 billion to correct all of the CSO
(Combined Sewer Outflow) systems in the state, and we get $200 million
per year from the federal government to do not just this work but also
denitrification and other projects to improve water quality in Long
Island Sound. So it will take awhile to get all of it done," said
Dennis Greci, chief of the DEP's municipal wastewater division.
PAYING FOR FIXES
The state provides financial help to cities improve their treatment
systems through the Clean Water Fund administered by the DEP. The
current program is a 50 percent grant and 50 percent in the form of a
low-interest loan, leaving local taxpayers to cover the annual
principal and interest. On a project that can cost $60 million or more,
those costs are not insignificant.
Bridgeport officials submitted a plan last fall to upgrade its
wastewater system. The plan, which will cost $400 million and take 20
years to complete, is being reviewed by state and federal officials,
Robinson said. Even then, he said, Bridgeport will not have completely
separate storm water and sewage systems.
The current system can hold back some effluent until there is capacity
in the plants to treat it, but the upgrade involves building a large
tunnel to divert the sewage until the rain subsides.
"There is actually very little separation of storm water and wastewater
in our plan. Separation by itself will never achieve the goal we're
seeking," Robinson said. "Our plan is to redirect the flows, not to
Right now in periods of heavy rain, diluted sewage flows into
Bridgeport Harbor and the Pequonnock River from submerged pipes
underneath the city's two treatment plants. But no one knows how much,
because the plants don't have the monitoring equipment to capture that
"It's one of the things we've agreed to do it our plan,'' Robinson
said. "But it's not as simple as `it rained today so we're going to
bypass'. Many things can affect it.''
`WHAT THE REALITIES ARE'
One of the main arguments in favor of bypassing sewage from full
treatment is that the excess water entering the plant can destroy the
"good bacteria'' that does much of the work of cleaning the water.
"The prevailing wisdom is that it is better to bypass than to damage
the biological components,'' said Minor, of the Rivers Alliance. "The
bacteria may be wiped out if the plant is overwhelmed with water and it
may take weeks to recover. But what really needs to happen is that
storm water needs to be diverted, not treated.''
Greci, of the DEP, said bypasses can occur even in communities with
completely separate systems for rain water and sewage. Sometimes older
cast-iron pipes may leak or break, and newer clay pipes require a lot
of joints, which can fail over time. The leaking sewage may not be at
the site of the failure, Greci said, "but it can show up down the
street or around the corner.''
Milford, which has had separate sewer and storm water systems for many
years and recently completed a $64 million upgrade to its two treatment
plants, also had a sewage bypass last year. A contractor working on a
water main accidentally broke the waste pipe, causing sewage to spill
over the street.
Shelton separated its storm water and waste systems in the late 1980s,
said Tom Sym, director of that city's Water Pollution Control
Authority. Its overflow problems are caused by illegal sump pumps and
drain pipes, along with vandalism, he said.
Shelton had raw sewage bubbling from manhole covers four times last
year. Blockages in the system of pipes and pump stations contributed to
the situation, Sym said.
Norwalk's system discharged raw sewage 28 times in 2010, mostly in
periods of heavy rain. A ruptured main pipe and equipment failure
contributed to three of the incidents.
When these types of failures in any system cause sewage discharges, the
DEP looks to consent decrees.
"In these cases we tell towns, `OK, guys, you screwed up. Tell us how
you plan to fix it, and then fix it,''' said Greci. "We prefer to get
consent decrees, where we say, `We've got enough to whap you upside the
head. Take care of this.' We establish realistic timelines and
accomplishable goals in our consent orders. We know what the realities
SOME STEPS UNDER WAY
However, officials admit that in reality even when municipalities
commit to the decree to do the work, the budget crisis means it won't
But Minor said this kind of work can't wait. During the heavy rain
March 6-7, the Danbury treatment plant bypassed diluted sewage into
Lake Lillinonah, which borders New Milford, Newtown, Bridgewater and
Southbury, and flows into the Housatonic River, she said.
"Many of the treatment plants are simply not built to handle the volume
of water generated by a storm like that one,'' the environmentalist
said. "It's time for the state to step up its investment.''
Some measures are being taken to improve the situation, short of the
expensive plant overhauls. The Long Island Sound Study, a consortium of
the New York and Connecticut environmental protection departments and
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has pushed through
legislative reforms in both states. Connecticut no longer permits boats
with toilets to empty them into the Sound, and New York has established
"No Discharge Zones'' in Mamaroneck, Hemstead Harbor, Oyster Bay,
Huntington and Port Jefferson.
The two states are also cooperating on a project to remove illegal
sewer connections that empty into the 13-mile long Byram River between
Greenwich and Rye, N.Y., according to the LISS.
extends no-discharge zone status
to New York side of Long Island Sound
Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer
Published 11:45 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2011
STAMFORD -- Beginning this summer, boaters are expected to be
barred from releasing on-board sewage anywhere in Long Island Sound,
under federal regulations nearing final approval.
On April 11, the Environmental Protection Agency gave preliminary
approval to the designation of the New York portion of Long Island
Sound as a "no-discharge zone," pending determination that there are
adequate facilities to pump the sewage from vessels, according to Mark
Tedesco, director of the EPA's Long Island Sound Office based in
A public hearing period to accept feedback on the ban will run through
Connecticut designated its portion of the Sound as a "no-discharge
zone" in 2007 following similar measures taken in Rhode Island and
Massachusetts to ban the release of treated and untreated sewage from
vessels along the coastline.
The ban should enhance the impact of the Connecticut ban and head off
any confusion about what the rules are, said Rick Huntley, supervising
environmental analyst for the Connecticut Department of Environmental
Protection's Long Island Sound Programs.
On-board systems designed to kill sewage pathogens rarely include
levels to reduce harmful nitrogen levels, and, over time, can become
less effective at treating discharged waste, Huntley said.
"You can think you are doing the right thing and actually not be,"
Huntley said. "People do want to comply because there is an element of
self interest in bringing it back to shore and having it pumped through
a treatment plant, because they want to have clean water to boat in."
Chris Hynes, commodore of the Stamford Yacht Club, said the New York
ban should help improve the Sound's overall health, which he said has
gradually gotten better over the past two decades.
"Twenty years ago, you would sail through streaks of sludge that didn't
look healthy, but I haven't seen anything like that in recent years,"
Sewage dumped overboard by vessels contains pathogens that can
contaminate large swaths of water, contaminating shellfish and
sickening swimmers and marine life, according to the Connecticut DEP.
Boaters cited for dumping sewage in Connecticut waters can be fined
$2,000 or more, Huntley said.
"It's not a huge input of nitrogen compared to other sources, but the
focus in vessel sewage management is water contact and public health,"
Huntley said. "Several gallons of highly concentrated, untreated sewage
can contaminate a very large area of water."
Tedesco said it is expected that the ratio of available New York
pump-out facilities to Long Island boats, about one to every 179, will
likely be found to be sufficient to support the ban.
In Connecticut, the state DEP launched a "Clean Marinas Program" in
2003 to expand the number of pump-out facilities, and all around
efforts to make marinas more environmentally friendly.
Nitrogen-rich discharges from sewage plants and dispersed sources like
agriculture, gardens, and stormwater runoff cause oxygen depletion in
the Sound, a condition referred to as hypoxia, which makes water
uninhabitable for marine life.
Connecticut and New York are about 70 percent toward a nitrogen limit
goal set in 2001 of making an overall 58.5 percent reduction in the
amount of nitrogen into the Sound by 2014, Tedesco said.
The program certified 29 marinas or other boating facilities as meeting
the designation, which requires adequate pump-out stations or other
methods to remove sewage, and methods to minimize debris such as
sawdust, oil, or paint chips created by boat maintenance, Huntley said.
"When you think about it, a marina does everything an auto body shop
and an auto mechanic do in the same location," Huntley said. "You want
to as much as you can to contain the byproducts of boat maintenance and
keep them out of the stormwater stream."
Boats run aground; death on another vessel
By Brian Hallenbeck, New London Day
Article published Sep 5, 2010
A sailboat owned by a Groton man ran aground Saturday
afternoon during a race marred by a fatality aboard another boat.
The incidents occurred during a race sponsored by the Fishers Island
In an unrelated incident, the Coast Guard rescued four people Saturday
night from a boat, a 28-foot O'Day, that ran aground southwest of Ram
Island at the mouth of the Mystic River.
Earlier, Greg Cypherd, chief of the Fishers Island Fire Department,
confirmed that a fatality had occurred involving "someone that was
sailing" - apparently during the Fishers Island race - but refused to
provide any other information.
Police in Southold, Long Island, referred questions to New York State
Police, who had provided no information late Saturday night.
During the race, the 29-foot vessel Showdown ran aground on South
Dumpling Island, where it was to remain overnight, according to Lt.j.g.
John Vasilarakis, command duty officer of Coast Guard Sector Long
Island in New Haven.
None of the 10 crewmen aboard Showdown were harmed, Vasilarakis said
Matt Lettrich of Noank and Ted Parker of Mystic, who had set out to
watch the race in Parker's 20-foot boat, spotted the Showdown and ended
up ferrying the crippled vessel's crew back to Mystic. In photographs
taken by Lettrich, the Showdown appears to be seriously damaged.
Calls placed to the Groton home of the Showdown's owner, Bijan Rasadi,
"We saw Showdown's spinnaker in a somewhat ugly configuration and I
said, 'Gee, they're stuck, they're going to hit the rocks,' and they
did," Lettrich said in a phone interview Saturday night. "We took (the
crew) up the Mystic (River), but it was too rough to move the boat."
A commercial towing vessel arrived at the scene shortly after the
grounding, as did a Coast Guard boat dispatched from New London,
according to Vasilarakis.
The Coast Guard received a call about the grounding shortly after 2
p.m., Vasilarakis said. The wind at the time was 23 knots, gusting to
30 knots, he said.
Lettrich, who races regularly as a member of the Mystic River Mudheads
Sailing Association, said Saturday's wind would have made for "an
exciting race." He said the Mudheads ran the race, which the Fishers
Island Yacht Club sponsored.
Because of the strong winds, the race, which was to have been sailed
around Fishers Island, was limited to the waters between Fishers Island
and Connecticut's coast, Lettrich said.
In the Mystic grounding, the Coast Guard dispatched two boats — a
41-footer and a 25-footer — as well as a helicopter from Coast Guard
Air Station Cape Cod, according to Pete Winters, a civilian search and
rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Long Island.
The helicopter turned around en route to the scene after the 25-foot
boat was able to maneuver alongside the grounded boat and transfer
those onboard, Winters said. The boat's owner had indicated the
boat's keel was about to break off, in which case those on board
planned to jump off and swim to Ram Island, Winters said.
"I didn't want that to happen, so we sent everything we had," he said.
No other details were available late Saturday night, including the
names on board the grounded boat. Winters said the boat was out of New
Where will the muck go?
John Burgeon, CT POST STAFF WRITER
Published: 11:42 p.m., Thursday, April 29, 2010
BRIDGEPORT -- The dredging of Bridgeport Harbor will mean that 1.78
million cubic yards of muck will have to be put someplace.
To put that in perspective, that's enough dredged material to cover 278
football fields, including the end zones, to a depth of three feet.
Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say that the mud has
varying degrees of toxicity, ranging from material that is not
significantly different from any other Long Island Sound bottom mud, to
material that contains cadmium, lead, zinc, copper and other metals.
About half of the material, all of which would be from the outer
harbor, is sufficiently clean to be used for what's called open water
displacement, which means that it can be deposited elsewhere in the
Sound. It's also possible to use this material in what's called "upland
displacement," which means that it can be used as capping material for
landfills, fill for highway projects, and so forth.
About 1.1 million cubic yards of the material is considered
contaminated by the Environment Protection Agency, and has to be placed
in what's called a "confined aquatic disposal" cell, or CAD cell. These
are holes dug in the Sound bottom, usually within a harbor, in which
the contaminated material is deposited and then capped over with clean
"It is not Superfund material by any stretch of the imagination," said
Michael Keegan, the project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers'
New England District. He also notes that it's about the same as harbor
bottom mud from just about any other New England port. Plus, since
Bridgeport Harbor was last dredged in 1964, most of the silt at the
bottom of the harbor had settled there after passage of the Clean Water
Act in 1972 and the city's heavy industries gradually disappeared
during that period.
Of the 1.1 million cubic yards of contaminated mud, 913,000 would go
into a CAD cell that will be dug in Bridgeport Harbor, and 197,000
cubic yards would go into a CAD cell already in place in New Haven
Harbor's Morris Cove.
That Morris Cove cell is actually a hole, or a "borrow pit," created by
the removal of material mined for the construction of Interstate 95
back in the late 1950s.
The corps and state Department of Transportation officials said that at
a public hearing in New Haven on April 8. Yet, residents weren't
interested in listening to any explanations. They were there instead to
protest using the Morris Cove pit as a place to put Bridgeport's mud.
"They were concerned about their neighborhood, which was
understandable," said Charles Beck of the state Department of
Transportation. "But they started shouting out questions, one after
another. Mike Keegan of the Army Corps told them that he could answer
their concerns, but they were only there to express their views."
Officials connected with the project hope that the Morris Cove
residents, which one city official called the "Black Rock of New
Haven," would take the time to become better-educated about dredging,
CAD cells, and so forth.
"It goes into a hole, it's capped, it's confined and it's not coming
out," Keegan said, noting that filling the Morris Cove CAD cell would
not only save the state $8 million, but it would also restore the cove
to its pre-1955 configuration, and it would create a new environment
Long Island Sound license plate
program raided: Conservationists: projects may end up underfunded
By Ken Dixon, STAFF WRITER
Posted: 09/12/2009 08:20:06 PM EDT
HARTFORD -- Sixteen years after motorists began paying premiums for
special "Preserve the Sound" license plates, lawmakers have disbanded
the fund that has invested nearly $5 million in a variety of education
and conservation projects.
The Long Island Sound Fund, a dedicated pot of revenue that could not
be used for any other reason, will go out of business on October 1, the
victim of "sweeps" by legislative leaders desperate for money to
balance Connecticut's precarious budget.
On that date, money collected by the state Department of Motor Vehicles
that had gone into the fund will revert instead to the General Fund.
Twenty special funds within the state Department of Environmental
Protection will be closed out, from the Connecticut Lighthouse
Preservation account to the pool of money used to clean up oil and
hazardous waste spills.
In all, the move is expected to divert more than $70 million in the
fiscal year that started July 1 and more than $73 million in the second
year of the $37.6 billion biennial budget recently passed by majority
Democrats in the General Assembly and tacitly approved by Gov. M. Jodi
Rell, who allowed it to become law without her signature.
While state environmental officials and the governor say the changes
will not undermine their commitment to Long Island Sound, state
conservationists warn that it may mean less funding, in the long run,
for Connecticut's most precious natural and recreational resource.
Conservationists differ on whether they'd recommend that motorists no
longer buy the plates that seemed to galvanize a good percentage of
state drivers back in 1993 when more than 21,000 were sold. The Sound
plate continues to attract much more support than other marker plates
available among the approximately 65 specialty designs offered by the
Rell said last week that funding for Long Island Sound programs will
"The Sound is a unique and precious natural resource that is a part of
what makes Connecticut such a special place to live," Rell said in a
statement released by her Capitol office. "In the absence of the Long
Island Sound Fund, we will seek out any and all opportunities to
attract federal and other dollars to fund important projects related to
the Sound while making the best use possible of the dollars we have."
Acting DEP Commissioner Amey Marella said that motorists should keep
buying the Long Island Sound plates, which range in price from $50 for
an off-the-shelf license, to $70 for a vanity plate and $100 for a
special "LIS" designation followed by three numbers.
"While revenue from the sale of DEP's specialty license plates will now
go to the General Fund instead of dedicated funds, the purchase of
these plates will still help accomplish positive goals," Marella said
last week. "The presence of Long Island Sound, wildlife and greenways
themes on license plates helps build public awareness of these
important resources. In addition, the agency will still benefit from
the sale of the plates because important programs at DEP are supported
by the state's General Fund."
Also terminated will be dedicated accounts funded by the DMV's sale of
"Greenways" and "Wildlife Conservation" marker plates.
The 141,652 "Preserve the Sound" license plates have been sold at
premium prices ranging from $50 to $100 depending on customized marker
letters and numbers.
The $50 plate would result in a $35 donation to the fund. The $70
vanity plate would yield $55 for the fund; and $100 vanity plate with
the low number would remit $85 to the fund.
Over the years, income from the "Preserve the Sound" marker plates has
funded about 294 projects, with maximum grants of about $25,000 for
projects up and down the coast and north and south along the watersheds
of major rivers that feed the Sound.
The fund was created by the General Assembly in 1993 to support public
outreach and education; increase access to the Sound by developing
boardwalks, walkways, piers; acquiring more sites; protecting wildlife
habitat; and supporting scientific research. In 2008, the last year
with available details, the fund supported 14 projects totaling
$311,000, according to the DEP.
Christopher Phelps, director of statewide initiatives for the nonprofit
Environment Connecticut, said the Long Island Sound Fund was an
unlikely victim of the budget process this year, since protection of
the Sound is a bipartisan issue.
"The Long Island Sound license plate was created and people bought
those license plates under the express understanding that extra money
they were spending was going specifically to help protect and restore
Long Island Sound," he said. "Now that money is just being swept right
into the General Fund and the people who chose to paid that extra money
for the specific purpose of protecting the Sound are not getting the
money to go to that purpose."
Phelps said that over the decades, all the state's environmental
protection needs have been chronically underfunded.
"But in Long Island Sound, being the signature natural resource for the
state, we have made incredible progress at the state and national
level, working in partnership effectively and with New York, cleaning
it up over time and obviously, we're nowhere near done cleaning it up,"
he said. "One of the funding streams that has really helped make that
happen has been things like the Long Island Sound license plate,
knowing that the broad environmental protection funding in Connecticut
has never really gotten where it should be."
State Rep. Terry Backer, D-Stratford, whose full-time job is director
of the nonprofit Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, based in Norwalk, said
last week he believes that without a dedicated fund, motorists will not
be assured their contributions will get where they want them to go.
"My sense is they shouldn't buy the plates anymore," Backer said in a
phone interview. "The main reason why people bought Long Island Sound
plates is they cared about the Sound, they used it, or didn't use it,
but they cared."
Over the years the Soundkeeper Fund, an educational and conservation
organization, received a total of $50,000 in grants from the Long
Island Sound Fund, the last of which was received 10 years ago for
supporting a boat pump-out program to keep human waste from being
dumped into Sound Waters.
"The neat thing was it wasn't using government resources to get things
done," Backer said. "Someone decided this could be a good way to
support small projects. Given that, now we're going to ask people to
make a donation to the general fund. Everywhere else it's called taxes."
All told, the money collected from the "Preserve the Sound" license
plate program went to 294 projects since the fund was created in 1993.
Here's a list of some of them:
- $23,000 for the Bridgeport Board of Education's
Aquaculture school for raising scallops in 1994.
- $18,000 for the installation of floating docks at
Shelton's Sunnyside boat facility on the Housatonic River.
- $50,000 to help pay for the demolition of the former Long
Beach cottage community in Stratford.
- $1,250 for Derby's Kellogg Environmental Center to create
banners portraying drainage basins.
- $25,000 for the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center in
Milford to invest in a salt-marsh laboratory.
- $4,150 to send water conservation brochures to every home
- $5,775 for a population study of diamondback terrapins by
- $13,000 for Seymour middle school students to study the
- $60,000 for the Stamford-based Sound Waters to help with
learning labs at Cove Island Park and with after-school programming.
- $16,900 for Friends of Sherwood Island State Park's nature
- $25,000 for a clean boating program by the Norwalk-based
Long Island Soundkeeper Fund designed to cut down on human waste in the
- $2,500 to help the New Canaan Nature Center
Association Inc. establish a Girl Scout and Brownie program.
- $140,000 in several grants to the Maritime Aquarium at
Norwalk, including $18,614 for a live webcam at the Sheffield Island
lighthouse in Norwalk harbor, a $24,000 traveling science show for
elementary and middle schools and a $20,000 study of harbor seals.
Fishy census in Long Island Sound - wonder about their
"migraton" and definitions of residence, household, family, etc.
Trawling For Clues About The
Health Of The Sound
create data used by researchers, policymakers
By Judy Benson
Published on 5/31/2009
Aboard the R/V John Dempsey -
Captain Rodney Randall turned at the wheel to size up the first catch
of this sunny May morning, hauled on board about an hour into what
would be nearly a 12-hour workday on Long Island Sound.
State fisheries biologist Deb Pacileo had been shifting levers on the
motorized winch to reel in the cone-shaped trawl net. Seasonal research
assistants Dan Lee and Mike Trainor, encased in orange bib overalls and
raincoats, rubber gloves, steel-toed boots and hard hats, manned the
bow to grab yard after yard of net back onto the reel. A few seconds
after the ghost of the sinewy mesh bag became visible just below the
surface, the two swung it on board. Only its tip was full.
Lee and Trainor untied the net end to empty the contents onto a work
table. In a blink, Pacileo, her colleague Kurt Gottschall, and another
assistant, Tim Flanagan, joined them and, falling into the
well-rehearsed choreography of cataloguing the catch, started sorting
skate from squid, scup from butterfish. The captain looked on.
”I hope we get better fish than that today,” Randall said of the paltry
haul from dragging the net across a 1.5-mile swath of sandy bottom near
Fenwick Point and the mouth of the Connecticut River. “That's looking
To the satisfaction of Randall and the crew of the 50-foot research
vessel, each of the four successive trawls that day would be better
than the last. By the time the John Dempsey's bow line was fastened to
the dock at the state DEP Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme, the team had
sorted, weighed, measured, recorded and thrown back well over 1,000
indicators of the condition of the estuary.
Among them were five varieties of herring, four kinds of flounder, two
types of dogfish and two of sea robin, a few pinky-sized cod, a striped
bass that flipped itself out of the holding bucket onto the deck and a
lobster with a death grip on two butterfish, one in each claw.
Each specimen serves like a dot of color on a pointillist painting,
contributing to an overall picture of the Sound habitat.
From this day's work of five trawls, in mud, sand and in-between
“transitional” locations randomly selected from a 500-section grid map
of the Sound, the team would collect less than 5 percent of the data
for this year's project.
Changes in species populations tracked
The trawl survey, in its 26th year, samples 40 locations in the Sound
over five months. Each site is sampled five times - once each in April,
May, June, September and October. The resulting data is used by
academic researchers, fisheries policymakers and others.
”There's a lot of species in Long Island Sound that most recreational
fishermen don't even know are there, like fourspot flounder and mantis
shrimp,” said Gottschall, seated on an overturned bucket as he recorded
the vessel's position on a computer map. “We see them daily.”
Later in the trip, he held one of these little known but relatively
common species, the windowpane flounder, up to the bright mid-morning
”You can see through them,” he said, pointing out the outline of the
flounder's internal organs visible through its speckled scales.
”It's a terrific program, providing a great data set on the amounts and
types of fish and changes in populations,” said Mark Tedesco, director
of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound
His is one of several governmental offices that rely on the state
Department of Environmental Protection trawl survey data to gauge the
condition of the Sound and assess any regulation changes that might be
indicated. Funding comes from a combination of DEP budget funds, grants
and federal motor boat fuel taxes.
The survey, Tedesco said, is unique both in its longevity - having 26
years' worth of data is extremely valuable in detecting trends - and
its breadth. The trawls cover sites from the mouth of the Thames River
in Groton to Greenwich Harbor, in both New York and Connecticut waters.
This survey is the only source of such comprehensive baseline data on
the Sound, Tedesco said, and many scientists depend on it.
One example of its value, he said, is in linking water conditions with
animals. At each trawl site, the crew collects a water sample and
measures the salinity, temperature, oxygen content and other
”They've been able to show clearly that when the levels of dissolved
oxygen were down, the fish numbers decreased across species,” Tedesco
said. “That was enormously useful to us to understanding the benefits
of improving dissolved oxygen levels in the Sound.”
That led to regulations and grant programs designed to reduce nitrogen
levels from sewage outflows and other pollution sources, which in turn
caused the depleted oxygen levels. Tedesco said the trawls gave
scientists direct evidence of the relationship of oxygen levels to
The trawl data, he added, has also contributed to understanding how
rising water temperatures in the Sound from climate change are altering
the mix of fish species. Over time, the data has shown declines in cold
water-loving species such as winter flounder, and increases in those
that prefer warmer temperatures, such as summer flounder.
”This survey helps us understand how Long Island Sound is responding to
larger forces,” Tedesco said.
Teri Frady, spokeswoman for the New England office of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service, said the
data is also used in combination with trawl surveys done by other
states and by NOAA throughout the North Atlantic.
”The data are really most influential over time, to give you an idea of
the changes,” she said.
Long-term increases and decreases in average sizes and numbers of
particular species, she said, are essential to determining what actions
are needed to rebuild fish stock, for example, to assess commercial
fishing pressures and whether regulations are working, need to be
stricter, or can be relaxed.
The Connecticut survey, she said, provides one of the most important
data sets for the North Atlantic region, because it samples more sites
more times over a longer time span than comparable surveys.
”Connecticut has one of the largest, and it's pretty comprehensive,”
Lobster decline documented
The co-leaders of the trawl have been doing the survey work long enough
- Pacileo for nine years and Gottschall for twice that - to see some
trends developing. In Gottschall's first year, nearly 800 tautog, or
blackfish - popular with recreational anglers - came up in the trawls.
”Now we barely get 200,” said Pacileo.
For tautog and a few other species, the survey gauges not only weight,
length and numbers, but also the ages of the fish. The biologists
extract the cheekbone of the tautog and view it back at the lab under a
microscope to count growth rings, like the rings on a tree. For other
species, the crew extracts the inner ear bones or takes scale scrapings
to find growth rings.
Pacileo's first year coincided with a peak in the lobster population,
just before the hard crash that started the following year and has
accelerated. From the trawls that day two weeks ago, the crew counted,
measured and weighed only two dozen or so lobsters. Several bore the
telltale mottled shells from the disease that has contributed to the
sharp decline of lobsters in the Sound.
”Winter flounder has also declined since I started,” she said as the
vessel chugged to the second site. “We used to have tows in the spring
where we'd fill that whole work table with winter flounder.”
The winter flounder catch for the 2007-08 trawl was 4,550 fish,
compared to 10,288 in 1999. For the past several years, the most
abundant species collected in the trawls have been scup, also called
porgy, and butterfish, and this day's catch continued the trend. The
fourth of the five trawls that day alone netted 764 butterfish, a
bluish fish averaging 6 to 9 inches, and 480 scup, which are silvery
with blue flecks and typically about 14 inches long.
Most of the catch is thrown back, except for a few dozen squid the crew
packs on ice to donate to high school and college dissection classes,
and the larger flounder and tautog whose ages will be calculated in the
lab. Almost none of the smaller fish survive, but the most of the
larger ones, like the striped bass and dogfish, do, Pacileo said.
”We try to get the bigger fish off the table first,” she said, as the
crew began scrubbing the measuring table and buckets after the final
and heaviest trawl. “They have the best chance of surviving.”
decision called fatal to LNG tanker plans
By Judy Benson
The federal Department of
Commerce on Monday dealt a major defeat to Broadwater Energy's
four-year-old plan to locate a liquefied natural gas terminal and
processing plant in the middle of Long Island Sound, upholding New York
state's earlier ruling disallowing the project because it would not
comply with coastal projection laws.
"For all practical purposes,
it's over. They're dead," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of
the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, one of the groups that led
the grassroots opposition in both Connecticut and Long Island.
Broadwater, a partnership of
Shell and TransCanada, could still appeal the Commerce decision to
federal court, but the attorneys general of both New York and
Connecticut have vowed to fight it. In a statement, Broadwater said it
is still reviewing the decision and has not yet decided whether it will
"We will review the specifics
of the ruling before making a decision on next steps," John Hritcko,
senior vice president and regional project director of Broadwater,
said. "We believe the region will need additional natural gas to ensure
a reliable supply of energy, help reduce price spikes and meet air
quality and climate change goals."
The project was opposed by
both governors, the congressional delegations of both states and many
state legislators. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal both issued statements praising the decision.
Broadwater had received
approval in March 2008 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
for the project, but still needed to obtain authorization from New York
state that the LNG terminal would comply with the Coastal Zone
Management Act, a federal law enforced by the states.
New York decided a month
after the FERC decision that the project failed to meet six of 13
criteria for meeting the coastal zone act. In June, Broadwater appealed
to the commerce department, which oversees enforcement of the law
through one of its agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
The terminal, which would
store and process liquefied natural gas imported from overseas for
energy markets chiefly in New York, was to be located in New York
jurisdictional waters of the Sound roughly halfway between Riverhead on
Long Island and Branford. The terminal would be 1,215 feet long and 200
feet wide, and supply 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily through
a subsea pipeline.
In a news release announcing
its ruling, Commerce said that "the project's adverse coastal impacts
outweighed its national interest, in part because of its location in an
undeveloped region of the Sound that would significantly impair its
unique scenic and aesthetic character and would undermine decades of
federal, state and local efforts to protect the region."
backers just don't get
Published on 3/27/2009
Broadwater Energy will not go quietly. That message came though loud
and clear Thursday when representatives of the TransCanada and Shell
Gas & Power partnership paid a visit to the Editorial Board.
It had been nearly a year since we had heard from the Broadwater folks
about their desire to moor a large floating liquefied natural gas (LNG)
terminal in Long Island Sound. It was back on April 10, 2008, that New
York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez announced that the
project could not proceed because it did not meet the requirements of
the Coastal Management Act.
Interpretation of the federal act, which dates to 1972, rests with the
states and, in the case of Broadwater, New York. The state concluded
the proposed 1,215-foot long, 200-foot wide, 180-foot high floating
terminal fell short of the acts' requirements on several points. Those
include protecting scenic resources and the Sound's ecosystem,
promoting sustainable use of marine resources and not interfering with
public access and recreational use of the Sound.
Broadwater appealed that ruling to the U.S. Department of Commerce,
which has the authority to reverse the New York decision if it feels
the state did not correctly interpret the Coastal Management Act. The
Commerce decision is due by mid-April.
While this newspaper, long on record as opposing the Broadwater
project, considered the New York decision well grounded, project
officials displayed a disconcerting air of confidence during their
visit. Jimmy Culp, business development manager for Shell Gas &
Power, said that on the regulatory issues he feels his company has a
The fact that Broadwater is making a tour of editorial boards in the
region suggests that they expect to stick around. “A lot of folks
thought we had gone away, but we've been busy the past year,” said Mr.
The arguments delivered by the Broadwater officials were largely
unchanged, and they're not without merit. Connecticut and neighboring
states have built an electric system heavily dependent on natural gas,
yet find themselves at the end of gas supply lines. This makes the
region particularly vulnerable to gas price spikes and can hinder its
ability to compete for business with other states that offer energy
more cheaply. LNG arriving through a Broadwater terminal would increase
gas supply and help control prices, goes their argument.
And the alternatives for a terminal offered by New York state in
rejecting the Sound location don't make a lot of sense, said the
Broadwater executives. On that issue, it is hard to disagree. One
alternative site lies 13 miles south of Long Beach on the Atlantic
Ocean side of Long Island, the second is 22 miles south of the Fire
Island Inlet. Both would make the terminal more vulnerable to ocean
storms and cause their own environmental problems in connecting
But these arguments miss the broader point. The vast majority of
residents living in the region, and most of their elected officials,
consider the permanent anchoring of an industrial facility in the
middle of the Sound to be an abomination. They are aware of the
region's electric supply challenges but don't consider Broadwater the
Those of us who oppose this project must stay on guard, because
Broadwater has made too great an investment to give up now. The ending
to this story has yet to be written.
our "Long Island Sound" page...
Turns Down Appeal For L.I. Sound Pipeline
12:13 PM EST, December 1, 2008
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a
pipeline company over denial of environmental permits for a proposed
natural gas pipeline through Long Island Sound.
Connecticut regulators refused to issue permits for the 50-mile project
to Islander East Co., saying it would damage water quality, natural
resources and prime shellfish beds.
Islander East needs Connecticut water-quality permits to secure federal
approvals for the pipeline, which would link the state to the eastern
end of Long Island in New York.
Long Island's Suffolk County called the project a "cost-effective and
energy-efficient way to deliver much needed natural gas to the
Connecticut, Long Island and New York City markets."
The case is Islander East Pipeline Co. v. McCarthy, 08-367.
Broadwater To Appeal Setback
April 29, 2008
Elected officials and environmentalists shrugged off an announcement
Monday by Broadwater Energy that it would appeal to the U.S. commerce
secretary in its bid to build the world's first floating liquefied
natural gas terminal, in Long Island Sound.
Broadwater's decision comes after Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, and
New York's David Paterson, a Democrat, announced opposition to the $700
million terminal. Broadwater is a consortium of Shell Oil and
TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.
The appeal could take up to a year, and even after that, court fights
are still possible.
"They can appeal all they want. We are very confident they are going to
lose," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens
Campaign for the Environment.
The terminal would be about the size of the Queen Mary 2
— the length of four football fields and about 8 stories high. It would
be 9 miles off the north shore of Long Island and 11 miles from the
Proponents say that it could help ease rising energy costs on Long
Island and elsewhere.
"We firmly believe that Broadwater is the best way to deliver a new
supply of clean, affordable and reliable natural gas to the region
without the onshore and near-shore environmental and safety impacts
associated with other alternatives," said John Hritcko, Broadwater's
senior vice president.
Politicians and environmentalists had celebrated Paterson's opposition
as a fatal blow, although they were aware that Broadwater had more
"The point was that we spent years trying to preserve that area and we
just felt that it was too intrusive," Paterson said Monday. "A
liquefied natural gas facility somewhere near a refinery would be
better than actually in the ocean."
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a longtime opponent,
said that time is not on the side of the Bush administration.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed confidence that the plan
ultimately would be rejected.
Others Laud N.Y.'s Rejection Of
Broadwater Gas Plant
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER | Courant Staff Writer
April 11, 2008
Opponents cheered as New York Gov. David Paterson declared Thursday,
"The fact is, Broadwater is behind us."
But the high-stakes battle over Broadwater Energy's plan to put a
massive, floating, natural-gas plant in Long Island Sound isn't over
yet. The developers said New York's rejection of their plan Thursday
was just one step in the approval process, not the last one, and
opponents expect an appeal.
Still, at press conferences on both sides of the Sound, officials,
citizens and environmental groups opposed to the plant celebrated their
first major victory — New York's decision that the project was
inconsistent with its coastal management plan.
Although Connecticut had no official standing in the decision, many in
the state had been eagerly awaiting New York's decision.
"We did it! We did it! We did it!" Gov. M. Jodi Rell exclaimed at a
press conference on Silver Sands Beach in Milford. "This is exactly the
news we hoped to hear today: that New York's Department of State has
recognized the peril that the Broadwater project represents."
New York's action leaves the next legal step up to Broadwater, and
opponents concede there could be a long battle ahead.
"This does not necessarily change the game plan," said John Hritcko,
senior vice president and regional project director for Broadwater
Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipeline. "Today's
decision is part of a regulatory review process, not the end of one. We
— and thousands of others in this region — believe that this project is
the best alternative to provide the additional natural gas supply that
will be required."
Hritcko said the company has "a number of options going forward" and
would review the decision in detail before deciding on its next move.
Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, New York's secretary of state, called the
rejection of Broadwater's application a "complex and difficult
decision," saying the project did not mesh with several aspects of the
state's coastal policies.
Her decision, backed up by Paterson, puts a serious roadblock in
"We are disappointed and concerned with the [New York] decision,"
Hritcko said. "We specifically designed this project to be consistent
with the state's coastal management policies and offered a number of
additional commitments that would further enhance the state's coastal
"This fight is far from over," said Connecticut Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal, a longtime opponent of the project. Under federal
energy law, he said, the company has 30 days to appeal the decision to
the U.S. secretary of commerce, who can overrule state decisions.
"They have a right to go to the secretary … and say that national
energy priorities should override the coastal zone management
determination made here by the governor," Blumenthal said.
The company also could appeal through state agencies and courts, but
Blumenthal called that approach "exceedingly unlikely" because of the
Even if Cortes-Vazquez's rejection of the project were to be
overturned, two other New York agencies would still have to approve
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which has
raised objections to the project, would have to issue a permit, and the
New York State Office of General Services would have to grant the
company an easement to use public land.
Broadwater, a 1,200 foot long liquefied natural gas processing plant,
would be permanently moored to a tower in the middle of the Sound,
about 10.5 miles off Branford.
Opponents have argued that the two states and the federal government
have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past 20 years to
improve the environment of the Sound.
They say that allowing an industrial use like Broadwater in the middle
of public waters would threaten that progress.
"Gov. Paterson's swift and immediate decision to reject this
ill-advised proposal should be applauded and celebrated with a ticker
tape parade," said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District. "For years,
Connecticut and New York residents have faced the threat of a
quarter-mile-long barge in the middle of the revitalized Long Island
Sound that would serve only the interests of multinational oil
Cortes-Vazquez and Paterson both cited the need to find
alternative ways to meet the demand for energy.
"The thorough analysis in today's ruling makes clear the importance of
protecting the character of Long Island Sound as it points the way to
sensible alternatives for meeting New York's long-term energy needs,"
said Cortes-Vazquez, whose department is charged under federal law with
making sure projects meet the state's goals for both developing and
protecting the coast.
Paterson stressed the Sound's environmental value.
"One of my goals … is to protect Long Island Sound, by preserving it as
a valuable estuary, an economic engine for the region, and a key
component to making Long Island's quality of life one of the best in
the country," Paterson said. "Broadwater does not pass that test. Shame
on us if we can't develop a responsible energy policy without
sacrificing one of our greatest natural and economic resources."
Paterson outlined a series of steps for addressing energy needs,
including an update of the state's energy plan; a 10-year, $1 billion
efficiency initiative by the Long Island Power Authority to reduce
demand; doubling the New York Power Authority's budget for
conservation; and exploring other proposals to increase the supply of
He also said the Long Island Power Authority would be seeking proposals
for a major solar power project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously last month
to approve Broadwater. In a 2,200-page environmental impact statement,
the agency concluded that the project would not have major adverse
impacts, but also imposed 80 conditions intended to minimize the effect
on the Sound.
The decision by Cortes-Vazquez declares that Broadwater violates six of
13 policies that are part of the state's coastal management plan,
including those to:
ΔFoster a pattern of development in the Long Island Sound coastal area
that enhances community character, preserves open space, makes
efficient use of infrastructure, makes beneficial use of a coastal
location and minimizes adverse effects of development.
ΔEnhance visual quality and protect scenic resources throughout Long
ΔProtect and restore the quality and function of the Long Island Sound
ΔProvide for public access to, and recreational use of, coastal waters,
public lands and public resources of the Long Island Sound coastal area.
•Protect Long Island Sound's water-dependent uses and promote siting of
new water-dependent uses in suitable locations.
•Promote sustainable use of living marine resources in Long Island
She also suggested two alternative sites for the facility that would be
consistent with the coastal plan, both outside New York boundaries.
One would be 13 miles offshore south of Long Beach, N.Y., and a second
22 miles south of Fire Island Inlet.
York Denies Broadwater's
By Judy Benson
Published on 4/10/2008
New York Gov. David Paterson will announce at a news conference on Long
Island today that the state is rejecting Broadwater Energy's request
for Coastal Consistency Certification for its proposed liquefied
natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz said she was notified by
her counterpart in New York, Lorraine Cortés-Vásquez,
about the decision late Wednesday evening.
"New York and Connecticut stand united in their opposition to
Broadwater," Bysiewicz said. "This is a major victory in the fight to
prevent the desecration and industrialization of Long Island Sound."
Opponents of the project hailed the decision as the first victory in
their fight after a series of actions favoring the project. Last month,
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a permit
"There were some dark moments over the last three years when we felt we
were being ignored," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the
Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "This is an amazing victory to
know that the public's voice can be heard over the corporations."
Broadwater, a partnership of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipeline, had
not yet issued a comment on the New York decision. The company can
appeal the New York decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, but
must prove that its project would be in the national interest and that
there are no other alternatives, Esposito said. She is confident that
New York state will prevail on both arguments.
"New York has never lost a coastal consistency ruling," she said.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell will join other Connecticut officials at
a news conference in Milford this afternoon to applaud New York's
decision. The terminal was proposed for New York waters 10 miles south
New York Rejects Broadwater Gas Plant For
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER | Courant Staff Writer
April 10, 2008
New York state has decided to reject Broadwater Energy's proposal to
moor a liquefied natural gas plant in the middle of Long Island Sound,
Connecticut officials said Wednesday.
The long-awaited decision sets the stage for an almost certain federal
New York Gov. David Paterson and Secretary of State Lorraine
Cortés-Vázquez planned to formally announce the decision
today at a 2
p.m. news conference at Long Island's Sunken Meadow State Park.
Broadwater officials faulted New York's assessment of the project, but
opponents on both sides of the Sound cheered the decision.
"I think this is a major victory," said Connecticut Secretary of the
State Susan Bysiewicz, who was notified of the decision by
Cortés-Vázquez around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. "I'm
that she has done the right thing and that New York is united with
Connecticut in protecting the Sound."
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called it a victory
"for ourselves and for future generations."
"This decision is crucially important because it will send a message
that Long Island Sound is off limits," he said.
Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil Co. and TransCanada Corp.,
wants to hitch the 1,200-foot-long, 200-foot-wide vessel to a mooring 9
miles off Long Island and about 10.5 miles off Branford. Huge tankers
would sail into the Sound two or three times a week to deliver overseas
supplies of liquefied natural gas to the plant. The super-cooled LNG
would be re-gassified and sent through a new 22-mile-long pipeline that
would connect to the existing Iroquois natural gas pipeline.
The New York decision is essentially a determination that Broadwater is
unsuitable for the Sound.
Because the project would sit in New York waters, Connecticut agencies
have had no direct authority over it. But officials from Gov. M. Jodi
Rell on down wrote to Paterson urging him to reject Broadwater. All of
the Connecticut congressional delegation and much of New York's opposed
Cortés-Vázquez had faced a Friday deadline to rule on
Broadwater fits in with her state's policies on the use and protection
of coastal areas.
She found the project inconsistent with six of 13 criteria under New
York's coastal zone management plan, Bysiewicz said.
Broadwater officials faulted Cortés-Vázquez's assessment.
"We believe that Broadwater is consistent with the coastal zone
management plan of the state," Broadwater executive John Hritcko Jr.
He added through a spokeswoman: "Depending upon the nature of the
determination, Broadwater has a number of options and we will review
the decision and findings, then evaluate our next steps."
Cortés-Vázquez told Bysiewicz that any appeal of her
decision would go
first to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
However, an appeal could also go to the U.S. secretary of commerce.
The decision is the first in a series of approvals Broadwater needed
from state agencies in New York. Unless it is overturned in court, the
decision would make moot reviews by New York environmental officials
and by an agency that would have to grant Broadwater an easement over a
portion of the Sound.
"New York heard the voice of the people, weighed the evidence, and did
what was right — they chose to protect Long Island Sound," said Leah
Schmalz, director of legislative affairs for Save the Sound. "Their
choice represents the will of thousands of people, a great coalition of
environmental and citizen's groups, as well as the highest levels of
Connecticut government. It is a voice speaking boldly and without
regret: people matter more than profits."
Opponents argue that Broadwater would hurt the environment, interfere
with other uses in the Sound and pose a security threat. They say the
region and the federal government have spent millions to clean up the
Sound and should not allow it to become home to such an industrial
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month declared after two
years of study that the facility would not pose a serious threat to the
environment and could be operated safely. The agency imposed a long
list of conditions intended to minimize the project's environmental
impact and ensure safety.
Connecticut lawmakers in Congress this week backed a new proposal that
would strip the agency of its power to decide on such projects, leaving
them up to individual states.
Proponents say the region needs new supplies of energy and that
Broadwater, in supplying a billion cubic feet a day of natural gas,
would help keep down the price of electricity in New York and
Connecticut. They say LNG has a proven safety record and that natural
gas is a cleaner fuel for power plants than oil or coal.
But opponents say there are other options, including several other
proposed pipeline and LNG terminal projects along the Atlantic seaboard.
"It's clear that Broadwater simply was not the answer to our energy
question and would exact an unacceptable toll on our environment,"
Schmalz said. "We can and should encourage a considered and thoughtful
discussion about how best to meet regional energy needs."
Terminal Gets Federal Approval;
FERC's Nod For L.I. Sound Plan Draws Immediate Condemnation
By Judy Benson
Published on 3/21/2008
Broadwater Energy's plan to park a first-of-its-kind floating
natural-gas terminal in Long Island Sound crossed an important
threshold Thursday, but the contentious three-year battle over the
proposal is far from over.
The five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously
to approve the LNG plant, triggering a swift and predictable response
from opponents on both sides of the Sound and signaling the start of a
long legal fight between Connecticut and the federal agency.
The project still needs several key permits and approvals from New York
state, because the terminal would be located in New York waters of the
Sound, and from the Army Corps of Engineers.
But the FERC approval is a crucial first step.
“We will fight as long and as hard as necessary, even to the Supreme
Court if necessary,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was
flanked by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, the co-chairmen of
the state legislature's Environment Committee and representatives of
the Connecticut Fund for the Environment during a news conference after
the FERC vote was announced.
Blumenthal said he will “immediately” request that FERC conduct a new
hearing on the project, but does not expect the agency will reverse its
decision because of what he contends is the Bush administration's
“lawless love for energy projects at the expense of safety, the
environment and quality of life.”
“Next stop: the D.C. Court of Appeals,” he announced in a news release.
The basis of his appeal, Blumenthal said, will be his contention that
in approving Broadwater, FERC failed to carry out its responsibility to
seriously consider viable alternatives to increase the region's
natural-gas supply that would do less environmental damage and be less
dangerous to the public. He said he hopes New York agencies will stop
the project and that the two states will be allies in opposing it. But
he said he would also take New York state to court if it gives
Broadwater the go-ahead.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell issued a strong statement decrying the FERC decision,
as did the state's entire congressional delegation. The Long
Island-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment called the FERC vote
“disdainful to public interests and a disgrace to democracy.” It called
on newly sworn-in New York Gov. David Paterson to “say no to
Blumenthal said the longer the project can be delayed, the better,
because that will give other projects that will increase the region's
natural-gas supplies time to come on line, cutting into potential
markets for Broadwater. As an estuary, he said, the Sound is more
environmentally sensitive than other offshore locations proposed by
But Broadwater is unlikely to give up easily. It is a joint venture of
TransCanada and Shell Oil, part of the huge, multinational energy firm
Royal Dutch/Shell Group, which has annual revenues of $355.8 billion —
nearly 20 times Connecticut's annual budget of about $18 billion.
In a statement, John Hritcko, senior vice president of Broadwater,
hailed the FERC decision as one that will help bring “new clean,
reliable, affordable natural gas supply to a region where prices are
volatile and climbing.” He added that increased use of natural gas in
the region would help improve air quality because it is the
cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and that the region is at a disadvantage
because it is at the end of the pipeline delivery system that carries
gas from wells in the West and Canada.
“Without new energy supply,” Hritcko said, “energy consumers will
continue to face volatile and increasing natural-gas prices in New York
The terminal, which would be 1,215 feet long, 200 feet wide and rise
180 feet above the water line, would be anchored about nine miles north
of Riverhead, L.I., and 10 miles south of Branford. It would supply
about 1 billion cubic feet of gas daily to New York City, Long Island
and Connecticut markets.
The gas would be from overseas wells in compressed, super-chilled
liquid form to the terminal on tankers that would enter Long Island
Sound through The Race and offload at the terminal about two to three
times per week. The Coast Guard has determined that both the terminal
and the tankers as they traverse the Sound must be surrounded by a
safety and security zone enforced with patrol boats to prohibit all
other vessels from coming too close.
The approval by the five FERC commissioners, which came with 80
conditions they said would help protect the environment and enhance the
project's safety, had been expected for weeks. In January, FERC staff
released an Environmental Impact Statement strongly favoring approval
and concluding that there would be limited environmental impacts from
the project that would be less than any alternatives that could bring
in a comparable amount of natural gas — a contention opponents dispute.
FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher, in a statement before the vote, said
FERC “is first and foremost a safety agency, but we do not balance
safety against need. But we are not unmindful of the need for
additional natural gas supplies in the Northeast.”
Kelliher also took issue with the strong anti-Broadwater rhetoric from
Blumenthal, Rell and other officials.
“I respect public opinion, and we have gone to great lengths to respond
to the legitimate concerns raised by the public,” he said. “Doing so
has been made more difficult by the attitude of some public officials
in the region, who have chosen to exploit and inflame public fears.
These public officials have done a great disservice to the citizens of
the region, which is regrettable.”
In response to objections that allowing Broadwater would mean the
industrialization of the Sound, FERC commissioners and FERC staff said
the Sound is already a multi-use waterway, with considerable commercial
vessel traffic and two small oil platforms off Long Island.
“This is a market-driven project,” said Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff,
adding that the $700 million cost would be financed by “independent
capital, not anybody's rate base.”
“It's a floating facility,” he said. “If there's no longer any need, it
would go away. I recognize our decision will upset the citizens and
public officials and groups opposed to the project. But our decision is
based on the law and the facts.”
Feds Approve Broadwater
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER And JESSE A. HAMILTON | Courant Staff
12:40 PM EDT, March 20, 2008
Federal energy regulators today approved Broadwater Energy's
application to moor a natural gas plant in the middle of Long Island
Sound, a key turning point in more than three years of study and
argument over the controversial project.
At a meeting in Washington, commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said
the project proposal meets federal safety and environmental standards
and noted the commission imposed some 80 conditions intended to further
mitigate its impact.
Kelliher also criticized unnamed "public officials" who he said "have
done a disservice to the citizens in the region" by "exploiting fears"
of a threat to public safety and environmental damage. Pointing to the
thousands of pages of documents prepared in the course of the project
review, he said charges by local officials and others that the FERC
report is inadequate are false.
Broadwater Energy, a company formed by Shell Oil and TransCanada
Pipeline, is proposing to build a 1,200-foot-long vessel to process
liquefied natural gas and pipe it to New York and Connecticut. The
facility would be moored to a fixed tower in the middle of the Sound,
about nine miles from Long Island and 10.5 miles from Branford.
The federal commission, however, is not the only agency with
jurisdiction over Broadwater. Since the facility would be in New York
waters, several state agencies have to approve the project.
Up next: The New York Department of State is due to decide by April 11
whether Broadwater is consistent with policies designed to control
development and protect coastal resources.
The proposed facility would be fed by two or three huge tankers a week,
loaded with supercooled LNG from abroad. The floating terminal, about
four football fields long, would heat the LNG back to a gaseous state
and send a billion cubic feet per day through a 22-mile pipeline
running along the floor of the Sound. That's enough to heat about 4
The project was first proposed in 2004; the company had hoped to have
the facility in operation by late 2010.
FERC staff issued a final environmental impact statement on it in
January -- a 2,200-page document that concludes the project will not
have a significant impact on the environment.
Opponents say the report relies on outdated and incomplete information,
and they take issue with the report's assumptions about what
constitutes a significant impact. Broadwater would have an effect on
fish stocks, water temperature and the sea bed. Opponents also say the
project would be pose safety risks from leaks or explosions and offer
an inviting target for terrorists. The U.S. Coast Guard concluded
Broadwater could be safely operated and would not pose a significant
risk from terrorism – if adequate resources are applied. The facility
and the tankers supplying it would be encircled with security zones,
presumably enforced by Coast Guard personnel.
A General Accounting Office report last year questioned whether the
Coast Guard would have adequate ships and personnel to handle the job.
U.S. May Act Soon On
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER | Courant Staff Writer
March 15, 2008
The federal agency charged with reviewing the Broadwater natural gas
project in Long Island Sound could make its long-awaited final decision
Thursday in Washington.
The controversial project is on the agenda of the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, and the panel will hear a presentation from its
staff, said spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen.
Even if approved, the project still needs approvals from three New York
State agencies to go forward. Opponents in Connecticut, including
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, have vowed to take the matter to
court if Broadwater wins approval from federal and New York state
The soon-to-be governor of New York, David Paterson, said he was
considering postponing a decision on the project. The New York
Department of State is due to rule by April 11 whether the project
meets that state's standards for the use of coastal resources.
Paterson takes over Monday from Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who will resign
from office that day following revelations of his use of a high-priced
"I do not know what [Spitzer's] decision would have been," Paterson
said at a press conference Thursday. "I might actually ask for a little
more time because it's coming to that point and I really haven't been
able to look at it enough to render a decision."
Connecticut leaders this week reiterated their fervent opposition. A
joint venture of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipeline, the project would
moor a 1,200-foot-long barge in the middle of the Sound to process
liquefied natural gas shipped across the Atlantic and pipe it to New
York and Connecticut.
FERC meets at 10 a.m. Thursday, and the meeting will be webcast live
(go to www.ferc.gov, the calendar of events, to find the meeting).
The commission can vote the project up or down, or seek more
information, or refer the issue to an administrative law judge if it
feels there are legal issues to be resolved, Young-Allen said.
In retrospect, check out this link and try to figure out what
Spitzer might have been doing to delay the
At Delay In
By Frank Eltman , Associated Press Writer
Published on 3/14/2008
Garden City, N.Y. — Lt. Gov. David Paterson said Thursday he may seek
another delay in deciding whether the state will approve a proposed
liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
Speaking to reporters in Albany during his first briefing since the
resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Paterson noted that Spitzer had
already delayed a decision on the controversial project until April.
“I do not know what his decision would have been,” Paterson said. “I
might actually ask for a little more time because it's coming to that
point and I really haven't been able to look at it enough to render a
decision.” The lieutenant governor is scheduled to be sworn in as
Spitzer's replacement on Monday after the governor resigned this week
in a call girl-sex scandal.
Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines
Ltd., wants to build a $700 million terminal that would be 1,200 feet
long and 82 feet high. It would be located 9 miles from Long Island and
10 miles from the Connecticut shoreline. Plans call for construction to
begin in October 2009 and for the terminal to be operating by December
Environmentalists and most elected officials oppose the project, saying
that it could imperil the fragile ecosystem in the sound and that a
terrorist attack on the facility could result in catastrophic results.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's company, Giuliani Partners, did a
safety and security assessment in 2006 and said the proposed terminal
would be “as safe a facility in design as you could possibly have.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must issue final approval on
the proposal, but New York and Connecticut also have a say in whether
it should proceed. Spitzer has said he was waiting until after the
Department of State completed a review before announcing his position.
A spokesman for Broadwater did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Paterson's remarks.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and all four of the states' U.S. senators
are against the LNG terminal.
A task force formed by Rell is sending Paterson a copy of a new report
that criticizes FERC's review of Broadwater as inadequate and
inaccurate and suggests there are viable alternatives to provide New
York with the natural gas it needs.
“This report simply ought to blow them out of the water,” Rell said in
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he was optimistic that
Paterson will be persuaded by the Connecticut report, released
Wednesday. He said Paterson has a “good environmental record” and has
been receptive to the kinds of arguments Connecticut is making against
“I'm very hopeful,” he said.
Williams Says Spitzer Scandal
Could Affect Long Island Sound Natural-Gas Terminal Project
By Associated Press
Published on 3/12/2008
Hartford (AP) — Given the sex scandal surrounding New York Gov. Eliot
Spitzer, Senate President Donald Williams wants Connecticut to reach
out to his lieutenant governor and persuade him to oppose Broadwater.
Williams said Connecticut should be prepared for Spitzer's possible
resignation because his administration is expected to make a decision
soon on state permits for the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal
in Long Island Sound.
“Assuming there is a transition at some point in the near future, the
new governor will have hundreds of issues on his desk and he'll be
required to get up to speed quickly,” Williams said. “We can't afford
to drop the ball on Broadwater.”
Spitzer is being pressured to resign after allegations surfaced of his
use of high-priced call girls. If he left office, Lt. Gov. David
Paterson would become governor.
Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines
Ltd., wants to build a $700 million terminal that would be 1,200 feet
long and 82 feet high, located 9 miles from Long Island, N.Y., and 10
miles from the Connecticut shoreline.
The site is in New York waters, but most Connecticut officials oppose
the project, including Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. In January, she
wrote to Spitzer, asking him to help protect Long Island Sound from the
natural gas platform
Spitzer, a Democrat, has been waiting until his Department of State
completed its coastal zone consistency review of the project before
announcing his position.
Key New York
Decision On Broadwater Delayed
Published on 2/9/2008
A much-anticipated decision by New York state regulators on the
controversial Broadwater liquefied natural gas terminal will be delayed
at least 60 days, officials said.
The decision on whether the proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas
terminal conforms to the state's rules for coastal development had been
expected to be issued Tuesday.
“By mutual agreement, Broadwater and the New York Department of State
... signed a 60-day stay to extend the consistency review for the
Broadwater Project,” said a written statement by N.Y. State Department
of State spokesman Eamon Moynihan. “This will allow for further
discussion of what is a very complex proposal,”
The agreement was reached Thursday.
“The New York Department of State (NYDOS) asked Broadwater for an
additional 60 days to review our application and we agreed,” John
Hritcko, senior vice president and regional project director for
Broadwater Energy, said in a written statement Friday. “This is part of
the review process and we expect to continue our dialogue.”
Hritcko said the agreement, and all past correspondence with NYDOS and
previous stay agreements, will be publicly available on the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission docket.
Broadwater Energy's 1,200-foot-long floating liquefied natural gas
storage and processing terminal would be in New York waters of Long
Island Sound, about 10 miles south of Connecticut. Connecticut
officials, including the entire Congressional delegation and Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal, have recommended against the project's
“This 60-day extension proves the serious, severe, insurmountable
environmental and safety obstacles that should doom this project,”
Blumenthal said in a press release issued Friday. “New York cannot
overcome the fact that Broadwater is completely unnecessary and
unacceptable legally, because effective alternatives exist without the
monstrous environmental damage and public safety dangers.”
The stay does not affect the actions of another agency, the N.Y.
Department of General Services, which is considering whether to grant
Broadwater a lease to occupy the portion of Long Island Sound where the
terminal and mooring tower would be located.
Key N.Y. Broadwater
Ruling Likely Tuesday
By Judy Benson
Published on 2/8/2008
Both opponents and proponents of the Broadwater Energy liquefied
natural gas terminal are awaiting a key decision due Tuesday from New
York state regulators on whether the project conforms to the state's
rules for coastal development.
Despite rumors that there could be a delay, the N.Y. State Department
of State is still on track to make the decision on Tuesday, said
spokesman Eamon Moynihan. The agency has all the information it
requested from Broadwater and other parties, he said. Another agency,
the N.Y. Department of General Services, is also considering whether to
grant Broadwater a lease to occupy the portion of Long Island Sound
where the terminal and mooring tower would be located.
The pending New York decisions have become the focus of efforts by
those seeking to stop the project, including Connecticut Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal. The 1,200-foot-long floating storage and
processing terminal, would be in New York waters of the Sound, about 10
miles south of Connecticut. In a Feb. 1 filing with the N.Y. Office of
General Services, Blumenthal said Broadwater has provided incomplete
and inaccurate information about the environmental and safety impacts,
and that the project design remains incomplete.
Also, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could decide this month
whether to grant Broadwater, a partnership of Shell Oil and
TransCanada, a key permit. In January it released a highly favorable
environmental analysis of the project.
Connecticut's Congressional delegation, however, is still trying to
persuade FERC that Broadwater should not be approved. In a letter sent
Wednesday to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher, the state's two senators
and five congressmen argued that the project would have “significant
and permanent adverse impacts to the health of Long Island Sound's
The delegation sent a similar letter Wednesday to Adm. Thad Allen,
commandant of the Coast Guard, urging that he not issue a Letter of
Recommendation. The letter would be the Coast Guard's determination
that the project is suitable for the Long Island Sound waterway.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, meanwhile, is
completing its review of the FERC environmental analysis and is
preparing to submit a list of concerns, DEP spokesman Dennis Schain
week, Broadwater announced a $150,000 donation to the
United Way of Long Island's Project Warm for heating assistance for
needy families. Shell Oil Company President John Hoffmeister, who met
earlier in January with N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer, said in news reports
that Shell makes charitable contributions in all the communities where
however, questioned Shell's motives, suggesting that the
donation and a series of ads the company had placed recently in New
York and Connecticut media outlets was timed to influence the upcoming
New York agency decisions. They also took issue with Spitzer's meeting
with the Shell president.
Campaign for the Environment urged opponents of Broadwater
to call Spitzer's office and voice their opposition.
Whyland, spokesman for Spitzer, said the governor has not yet
taken a position on the project.
advertising campaign by Broadwater and the meeting between
Spitzer and Hoffmeister is an attempt by the company to “dispel some of
the myths” that critics of the project are circulating, said Froydis
Cameron, company spokeswoman. It is also seeking to highlight some of
the findings of FERC's environmental analysis.
Shell has donated money to Project Warm for the last three years, she
Leah Schmaltz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the
Sound, part of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, said her group
is prepared to fight the project in the courts if necessary, and has
filed legal briefs with all agencies involved, including the Army Corps
of Engineers. That agency must decide on dredging permits for
Broadwater to dig a trench for the 22-mile undersea pipeline that would
carry the natural gas from the terminal to a main transmission line.
“While there are legitimate energy concerns that exist on Long Island
and in Connecticut,” Schmaltz said Wednesday, “there are also smart,
safe ways to address those concerns that do not put Long Island Sound's
future in jeopardy. ... The notion that we have to make a choice
between addressing our energy needs and protecting our environment is a
false one,” she added. “We can and should do both — we just have to be
smart about it.”
Governor Rell: FERC Decision ‘A
‘We Will Fight This Reckless
Decision Every Step of the Way’
Governor M. Jodi Rell today utterly rejected the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental impact study of the
proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas facility, saying FERC’s
conclusion that the project would have little effect on the Long Island
Sound is ludicrous. “We will challenge this
absurd and indefensible agency decision in court,” Governor Rell said.
“The Broadwater project would be a travesty – the complete
desecration of Connecticut’s
environmental crown jewel and a total setback to the decades we have
spent improving water quality and habitat in the Sound,” Governor Rell
said. “FERC has ignored the rights and needs of Connecticut
residents time and again and with today’s decision is once more trying
to run roughshod over the people of our state.
“An enormous and potentially flammable industrial facility
floating in the middle of Long Island Sound would be as shockingly out
of place as a steel plant in a state park,” the Governor said.
FERC announced today that it had completed an
environmental impact study (EIS) and that its staff believed the
project was likely to have “limited adverse
“I cannot see how any reasonable person or government
agency can come to that conclusion,” Governor Rell said. “We are
talking about building and operating a massive, possibly hazardous
industrial facility in the middle of an important estuary with
sensitive natural resources. We are taking about a platform as large as
an ocean liner, requiring an unprecedented and untested 950-acre safety
and security zone, as well as moving security zones around incoming
tankers. Let’s not kid ourselves: All of this will
change Long Island Sound forever.”
Under federal environmental laws, the FERC must wait at
least 30 days after releasing an EIS before issuing any permits for a
“Connecticut will fight this reckless decision every step
of the way,” Governor Rell said. “Today I am directing the Connecticut
Department of Environmental Protection to go over this EIS with a
fine-toothed comb, identifying every flaw and faulty conclusion. I know
the Attorney General’s office will be happy to support us in this
Connecticut will also coordinate efforts with New York,
which is responsible for several permits ncessary for the Broadwater
project to proceed.
The Broadwater project will require a coastal consistency
determination – in keeping with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act
– from the New York Department of State as well as
a number of permits from the New York Department of Environmental
“We were heartened by the DEC’s December 21 letter to
Broadwater, which was severely critical of plans for the project,”
Governor Rell said. “The letter said the permit applications were
incomplete and said current plans for the project would have several
significant adverse environmental impacts. We believe this letter is a
strong signal of where New York is headed on critical Broadwater decisions
that lie ahead.”
On November 17, 2006, FERC issued its draft EIS. At that time, Governor Rell
joined the DEP, other public agencies, numerous environmental groups
and private citizens to raise a number of questions concerning the
potential environmental and use impacts of the proposed project.
Although FERC attempted to address some of those issues in
its final EIS, the project will still have significant impact on aquatic life, benthic
habitat and recreational and commercial use of the Sound.
Governor Rell said FERC has only given cursory attention
to alternatives to Broadwater.
“Recent proposals for offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals south of Long Island show that the energy industry itself
believes there are better ideas, yet FERC persists in its myopic,
case-by-case analysis of energy projects,” the Governor said. “The EIS
simply assumes that the goal is to create an LNG terminal in Long Island Sound, rather than
to meet regional energy needs in the most environmentally sensitive
“There simply has to be a better way. I call upon FERC and
the rest of the federal government to work with the states on a
comprehensive approach to national and regional energy planning.”
Governor Rell has successfully battled previous efforts by
FERC to impose higher electric rates on customers in portions of the
state – a strategy known as Locational Installed Capacity, or LICAP –
and clashed with the agency over its refusal to include Conecticut in
Broadwater siting discussions, despite the fact that half of the Sound
is Connecticut territory.
Content Last Modified
on 1/11/2008 11:58:16 AM
Impact Would Be
Minimal, Feds Say
By Judy Benson
Published on 1/11/2008
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on
Friday issued its final Environmental Impact Statement on Broadwater
Energy's proposal for a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Long
Island Sound, concluding that the project would have "limited adverse
environmental impacts" and recommended 86 actions Broadwater should
take to minimize those impacts.
The long-awaited report is positive news for Broadwater, a partnership
of Shell and TransCanada Corp., because it will serve as a
recommendation to the five-member of FERC panel that will decide
whether the project should be permitted.
"We welcome the issuance of the FEIS," John Hritcko, senior vice
president of Broadwater said in a statement. "The attention to details
by the federal and state agencies involved is clearly evident and we
will be reviewing the findings and conclusions in detail over the
coming days. We are pleased that this state of the regulatory review is
complete and, in the coming months, look forward to the commissioners'
decision on Broadwater's proposal."
The project, which would supply about 1 billion cubic feet per day of
natural gas to markets in New York City, Long Island and Connecticut,
has met with widespread opposition in both Connecticut and Long Island.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell called the FERC report "absurd and idefensible" in a
statement Friday, and vowed to fight the FERC decision in court. It
would be the first offshore LNG terminal in the U.S.
Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for
the Environment, said her group will continue its fight with Gov. Eliot
Spitzer's office and New York state agencies that must also issue
permits for the project. A key New York state ruling is due Feb. 15.
The terminal would be located in New York state waters of the sound,
about 9 miles north of the nearest Long Island shore and 10 miles from
the nearest Connecticut shore, attached to a yolk mooring system.
The terminal would be 1,215 feet long and 200 feet wide, and rise about
82 feet above the waterline. It would be supplied by about two to three
tankers per week, each carrying about 125,000 to 250,000 cubic meters
of liquefied natural gas. The gas would be processed at the terminal
and fed into a 22-mile-long undersea pipeline connected to a an
existing gas supply line in the western Sound.
"We totally expected this," Esposito said of the FERC report. "That is
why we need for Gov. Spitzer to stand up for the public, because the
federal government is standing up for Shell Oil."
Officials Find Broadwater Application For Liquefied Natural Gas Plant
By Judy Benson
Published on 1/3/2008
Still awaiting the final version of a key federal report, the
Broadwater Energy project has been told that its application with
state-level environmental regulators is lacking in several key areas
and that the project could have “significant adverse impacts” on Long
Island Sound's fish and lobsters.
Broadwater, a partnership of Shell US Gas and Power and TransCanada
Corp., applied in early 2006 to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission for permission to locate a floating liquefied natural gas
processing, storage and supply barge in New York state waters in the
middle of Long Island Sound.
In November 2006, FERC released a draft environmental impact statement
taking the position that the facility would have minimal impacts on the
Sound, but the statement met with sharp rebuke from critics for what
they called incomplete and faulty analysis.
The final statement, which would be the basis for FERC's decision about
whether to approve the facility, had been expected three to four months
after the draft.
On Wednesday, FERC spokeswoman Mary O'Driscoll said she could not
estimate when the final report will be released. A Broadwater
spokesman, Chris Senecal, said the company was hopeful the FERC report
would be released within the next two weeks.
While the project stalls pending the FERC report, Broadwater last week
received a letter from the New York Department of Environmental
Conservation listing several problems with its application.
Yancey Roy, spokesman for the New York DEC, said the 11-page letter,
despite its specific criticisms of the project and the information
provided by Broadwater, is not an indication that the application will
be approved or denied.
“It's not a thumbs up or a thumbs down,” he said. Notices to permit
applicants of application deficiencies are a normal part of the
process, he said.
John Hritcko, senior vice president of Broadwater, also characterized
the DEC letter as “typical” of the permit process. It identifies the
issues that must be addressed before the application can progress, he
One of the groups leading the opposition to Broadwater, however, said
in a statement that the DEC letter was a “good omen” moving “one step
closer to squashing Broadwater.”
“The letter was fairly scathing of the Broadwater project with regards
not only to the environmental impact but it indicates that Broadwater
has been displaying corporate arrogance by disregarding New York
State's repeated requests for accurate information,” said Adrienne
Esposito, executive director of The Citizens Campaign for the
In its letter, the DEC said:
•The analysis of the air quality impact of the Broadwater project lacks
details and fails to address several requirements it had been told to
address. The project as currently proposed will exceed standards for
sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions, and could not receive
an air quality permit.
•The trench for the undersea pipeline that would connect the LNG
facility to main natural gas pipelines supplying New York and
Connecticut should be backfilled, not left open as the project
proposes, to avoid harm to marine life. The pipeline would also harm
the movement of lobsters and increase water temperatures to a level
that could be harmful or fatal to lobsters in the summer.
•Design changes would be needed to avoid the entrainment and
destruction of 274 million fish eggs and larvae annually that would
become trapped as the LNG facility draws in and discharges 28.2 million
gallons of seawater daily. Even with design changes suggested, at least
210 million fish eggs and larvae along with adult fish would die.
Broadwater, DEC said, must seek alternatives to eliminate or minimized
•Alternatives to the Broadwater project must be explored more
In addition to FERC permits, Broadwater also needs approvals from the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New York environmental agency and
other New York regulators for the project to go forward.
About East Coast Tsunamis
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: December 3, 2007
The risk is low. But the consequences could be high, with deadly waves
striking the coastal communities of Long Island, Connecticut and New
Jersey and killing thousands of people.
Today, the federal government is announcing that it has completed the
mid-Atlantic region’s risk assessments for the killer mounds of water
known as tsunamis, or tidal waves.
Scientists have long considered the West Coast of North America as the
side of the continent most likely to suffer earthquakes and the
undersea disturbances that raise tsunamis. But in recent years, with a
growing appreciation of the diverse origins of the giant waves and
their potential for havoc, experts have found new reasons for vigilance
along the East Coast.
“Tsunamis are a real threat,” said Lisa Taylor, an official at the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is conducting
the assessments for coastal regions that are considered at risk. A main
factor is whether the land rises sharply or gently, the latter being
more prone to poundings from unexpectedly high waves.
The project creates elevation maps of coastal lands and adjacent
seafloors, helping scientists better forecast the areas that a tsunami
would flood. The giant waves can arise hundreds of miles away, in
theory giving emergency planners hours to send people to higher ground.
Part of the new analysis focuses on the easternmost area of Long
Island, including East Hampton and Southampton, and the southeastern
coast of Connecticut, including Mystic and Old Saybrook. The analysis
also evaluates the risk for Atlantic City.
A recent federal study found that a seaquake in a deep trench off
Puerto Rico could raise a tsunami that would travel for nearly five
hours on the ocean’s surface before crashing into Montauk, on the
southeastern tip of Long Island.
Since 2006, scientists at the oceanic agency have digitally created
elevation models for 20 coastal communities, and they expect to make
more than 50 others. Analyses are planned for Miami and Palm Beach in
Florida; Boston, Cape Cod and Nantucket in Massachusetts; and New York
The scientists work at the agency’s National Geophysical Data Center
and at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental
Sciences, both in Boulder, Colo.
Once the scientists develop an elevation model, they send it to the
agency’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. There, it
is incorporated into tsunami models, which simulate seaquakes, the
tsunamis’ travel across the ocean and the magnitude and location of
With the models in hand, the agency’s Tsunami Warning Centers can issue
more accurate flooding forecasts.
“Near the shoreline, all tsunamis are sensitive to minor variations in
seafloor and land topography, increasing in height as they approach the
coast,” said Barry Eakins, a scientist with the modeling project.
“Better understanding of the relief of the coastal zone is critical to
predicting how a tsunami will flood coastal communities.”
Curbing Runoff In
Hartford Courant editorial
August 23, 2007
Development and the paving of Connecticut's shoreline has made
rainwater runoff - and the bacteria that washes along with it - the
No.1 culprit in beach closings. Runoff is also a prime source of
nitrogen pollution, which feeds massive algae blooms that rob oxygen
from the waters of Long Island Sound (and its marine life).
Runoff is a big problem. But how do you chip away at it? The Jordan
Cove Urban Watershed Project, a government-funded study on the
effectiveness of techniques for low-impact development, has some
Located in Waterford, Jordan Cove is a small estuary fed by Jordan
Brook. Like many small coves, its waters are plagued by bacteria and
pollution from runoff. In 1995, the state launched a 10-year study
comparing the impacts of two new subdivisions.
One, a conventional subdivision, features a 24-foot-wide asphalt road,
separate driveways, individual lots, curbing and storm drains. In the
other, homes are clustered to create more open space; several share
driveways. Lawns are smaller, with low- and no-mow areas to reduce the
need for fertilizer. The access road is narrower (20 feet wide) and
made of interlocking concrete pavers to let rainwater soak through.
Instead of curbing, grassy swales or channels line the street to slow
runoff and absorb water.
Driveways are made of crushed stone or pavers; each lot has a rain
garden, a depression with plantings designed to collect and filter
runoff from roofs and yards.
The study's results are impressive - and encouraging for people who
care about the health of Long Island Sound. Years later, runoff from
the non-conventional subdivision remained the same as before
development, while runoff from the traditional subdivision increased
several times over. The swales, rain gardens and other low-impact
techniques also made a big difference in controlling the release of
pollutants from the subdivision
To see the study, visit
By incorporating such techniques into new development along the
shoreline (and encouraging property owners to modify areas that are
already developed), contractors, developers, and state and local
officials can chip away at the problem of runoff, addressing a
significant threat to the health of Long Island Sound.
For Long Island Sound:
gives credence to Connecticut's reasonable, necessary environmental
By The Day
Published on 8/22/2007
A judge's ruling reversing federal approval of a natural gas pipeline
to Long Island from Connecticut, if upheld, scores a victory for Long
Island Sound and reinforces the principle that environmental law is not
a simple inconvenience. U.S. District Court Judge Stefan R. Underhill
correctly saw that former Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans was
“arbitrary and capricious” in casually tossing aside Connecticut's
The message from Judge Underhill's opinion rings with authority and
says Long Island Sound is a precious and sensitive environmental
resource that deserves protection from projects that might severely
impact the marine life inhabiting its waters.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy
and State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal all deserve credit for
protecting the state's huge stake in the environmental health of Long
Island Sound. From both an environmental and political standpoint, the
proposal by Islander East for the project from Branford to Long Island
was a bad program. Connecticut's appointed and elected environmental
stewards reflected the attitude of the overwhelming majority of state
residents who did not want the natural gas pipeline under the Sound.
The Day hopes this decision, although entirely unrelated, may have
raised an issue that is equally applicable in the courts regarding the
Broadwater liquefied natural gas platform proposed for downstate. That
project envisions a skyscraper-like station in Long Island Sound that
may satisfy some of the state's energy needs, but could have a bad
effect on the Sound while providing most of its energy storage for Long
The environmental health of Long Island Sound is no simple matter. The
states and federal government have invested hundreds of millions of
dollars to provide sewage treatment plants to protect the water
quality. Indeed, Connecticut now is taking legal steps to try to assure
that New York State follows similar measures in upgrading its sewage
treatment discharges into Long Island Sound. And frankly, Connecticut
needs to do much more to modernize its own shoreline plants so that
oxygen levels are adequate and nitrogen content is not excessive in the
The net effect of Judge Underhill's ruling is to throw a serious
roadblock in the face of the Islander East proposal. More important,
the decision provides a measure of states' rights in the face of
arbitrary and unfair decisions by the federal government.
Long Island Sound, while a national resource, is much more an asset
shared by Connecticut and New York. New York has miles of beach along
the open Atlantic Ocean, but Connecticut does not. That makes Long
Island Sound an even more important resource for Connecticut.
The state has just had a good day in court, one that puts everyone on
record that the federal government cannot ignore important
environmental concerns simply because it sets higher priorities for
energy production or economic growth.
Islander East Ruling; State's coastal
management plan cited as pipeline plan dealt setback
By Ted Mann
Published on 8/21/2007
Hartford — A federal judge dealt a major setback Monday to the proposed
Islander East natural gas pipeline under Long Island Sound, ruling that
the U.S. Secretary of Commerce did not fully consider the concerns of
state environmental officials before overruling them and permitting the
project to proceed.
In a sternly worded decision released Monday, U.S. District Court Judge
Stefan R. Underhill wrote that then-Secretary Donald L. Evans was
“arbitrary and capricious” in deciding that the Islander East project
would not run counter to the Coastal Zone Management Act, as the
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection had contended.
the court ruling.
The act is a federal law administered by the states, which are charged
with ensuring that projects undertaken along coastlines are in
compliance with their management plans for those areas. State officials
had found against the Islander East project, only to be overruled by
Evans in 2004.
But Evans, Underhill wrote, “failed to address” many of the state's
objections to the proposed route of the 45-mile pipeline, and had
“effectively ignored” the DEP's concerns that the construction could
damage the valuable oyster beds and other marine life around the
Thimble Islands off of Branford, where the pipeline would be buried and
run 22 miles across the sea floor to Long Island.
Evans' decision, Underhill wrote, is “replete with generalities and
vague statements ostensibly cited to support the Secretary's
conclusions, but in reality, failing to say much of anything.”
The court ruling is a victory for Connecticut officials — including
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy and Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal — and a significant blow to Islander East that state
officials said calls into question whether the pipeline will be built
The ruling, McCarthy said, “is a huge setback, if not the death of this
project.” Blumenthal, a Democrat, concurred, saying the ruling “should
effectively kill” the pipeline proposal.
Underhill's decision “verifies everything that Gov. Rell and the state
have been saying about this project, and its inconsistency with our
need to manage our energy resources in a way that's protective of the
state's natural resources,” McCarthy said, speaking alongside Rell
after a press conference in the parking lot of the Capitol.
“We are well aware that we can do both,” McCarthy said. “This project
does not do both. It may take care of an energy issue, but it does it
at the expense of the environment, and we simply won't have it.”
A spokesman for Islander East, John Sheridan, said the company was
“disappointed with the court's decision, and currently reviewing
options internally to determine best direction to go.”
Underhill's decision returns the case to current Commerce Secretary
Carlos Gutierrez for review, though Islander or the federal government
could appeal the ruling to a higher court. Such a move could likely
mean years more legal action, Blumenthal said.
“We're still hopeful that we'll be able to work with the DEP and other
stakeholders,” Sheridan said. “We really believe this is an important
project for the region and will guarantee a steadier supply of natural
gas not only to Connecticut but also to New York and the region as a
Connecticut officials said they believed the ruling validated their
concerns, particularly their claims that Islander East officials had
never taken seriously the potential for damage to the shellfish beds
and marine habitat around the Thimble Islands and along the coastline.
In his decision, Underhill noted that the area provides habitat for a
broad assortment of animals, including fish, crabs, urchins, snails,
sponges and mussels. Beds along the Connecticut coast yield the
highest-priced oysters per pound in the nation, the decision noted, and
the state harvests more clams than any other on the east coast.
“I think the net effect of this decision is to say to any
administration (that) if you make a decision that affects
environmentally sensitive areas, you have to do your homework,” said
Blumenthal. “You have to make sure that you consider the facts and the
evidence, which (the Evans) decision fails to do. And the Bush
administration has essentially ignored and disregarded environmental
interests, and this decision says you won't get a pass for this kind of
The decision also raised comparisons to the other energy project
proposed for the Sound: the quest by Broadwater Energy to anchor a
massive floating terminal for liquefied natural gas off the Connecticut
Both Rell and Blumenthal saw a precedent, though the projects are not
related, in the court's insistence that state environmental concerns be
adequately considered and examined by federal officials.
“This decision certainly shows that the federal courts are not going to
give agencies a pass just because they are supposed to have expertise
or skills in a particular area,” Blumenthal said. “This decision says
about Broadwater that the federal government's feet will be held to the
fire environmentally when vital Long Island Sound interests are at
stake. And it shows a sensitivity to the importance of Long Island
Sound as an environmental resource, but also as a commercial and
A spokesman for Broadwater declined to discuss the ruling, noting that
his company's proposal is still under review by the Federal Energy
“Broadwater is in the middle of its state and regulatory review and it
would be inappropriate to speculate on how one decision on a different
project would reflect on the Broadwater project,” said John Hritcko, a
vice president at the company.
Islander East is still awaiting the result of another court proceeding.
A water-quality permit for the project has twice been denied by the
DEP, findings the company appealed to federal court. A decision in that
case is expected soon.
ignoring LNG perils, report says
New Haven REGISTER
By Gregory B. Hladky, Capitol Bureau Chief
HARTFORD — Federal officials have ignored critical environmental and
safety issues surrounding a proposed $700 million liquefied natural gas
facility for Long Island Sound, according to a Connecticut task force.
The state task force report faulted a preliminary federal study for
failing to look at such safety issues as the need for a no-fly zone
over the floating LNG facility or do enough research on potential
dangers posed to marine life.
The preliminary environmental impact study by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, however, found the project would have little
negative impact on the Sound and that the location would be safe.
One of the co-chairs of the Connecticut panel, state Sen. Andrea L.
Stillman, D-Waterford, said she is so upset with the federal handling
of the proposed Broadwater LNG facility that she’s ready to take
"If they move forward with this, I’m getting in a boat and block it,"
said Stillman. "I will, too!"
The other task force co-chairman, state Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, R-North
Haven, called the FERC study "totally inadequate."
FERC officials say Connecticut’s opposition to the project will be
taken into account and the initial environmental impact statement was
no more than a draft that can be changed.
A spokesman for Broadwater insisted that Connecticut officials are
ignoring needs of Connecticut consumers and industry who desperately
need new sources of clean energy.
"Connecticut consumers are paying the highest energy rates in the
nation because of opposition to energy projects like this," said Gary
Hale, a former state lawmaker who is now a lobbyist for the Broadwater
Hale argued that Connecticut consumers would benefit economically from
the Broadwater project, since 25 percent of the natural gas would come
to this state. He said Connecticut also would see additional supplies
of natural gas because less Canadian gas would be pumped through
existing pipelines to Long Island, N.Y.
However, Fasano charged FERC has failed to perform proper computer
modeling of potential accidents and failed to provide critical details
about the proposed floating LNG facility and huge tankers that would
provide it with liquefied natural gas.
"We need to know those answers now," insisted Fasano, who said he
personally opposes anchoring a massive LNG facility in the middle of
Long Island Sound. "As a public policy, I don’t think it’s a good idea
to put anything in an estuary (such as Long Island Sound)," said Fasano.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office today filed
comments with FERC and the state of New York arguing the project
violates both New York and federal law.
The Broadwater plan calls for a floating facility about the size of
Queen Mary II to be permanently anchored in the Sound about 11 miles
off Branford and nine miles off Long Island. The project would require
the laying of more than 20 miles of underwater pipeline to enable gas
to be pumped to Long Island and Connecticut. Massive ocean-going LNG
tankers would bring the fuel to the floating facility for processing.
The project has produced strong protests from officials and activists
in both New York and Connecticut. However, Connecticut has virtually no
direct involvement in approval of the project because it would be
located entirely in New York waters.
Draft Analysis Needs More Work
By Judy Benson
Published on 1/17/2007
East Haven — Three Long Island Sound experts told fellow scientists
with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday that their
draft analysis of the Broadwater liquefied natural gas terminal is
inadequate to support conclusions that the project would have minimal
environmental impact on the Sound.
The scientists also gave details on numerous areas needing thorough
study for the final document.
The three scientists are retired state geologist Ralph Lewis;
University of New Haven biology professor Roman Zajac, a specialist in
benthic ecology; and Peter Auster, science director for the National
Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut at Avery
They met with FERC representatives and the environmental consultants
who prepared the draft report at the request of the state task force
reviewing the Broadwater plan. The meeting at East Haven Town Hall came
before a FERC public hearing Tuesday night on the LNG proposal.
Lewis said the draft report reflects a poor understanding of the
geology of Long Island Sound and did not use the most current and
authoritative references to describe its bedrock geology and its pre-
and post-glacial history. That material, he said, is essential to
determining effects of the LNG terminal with its mooring tower and
22-mile submerged pipeline.
Lewis and the other scientists said they are not taking a position on
the Broadwater plan, but they want to point out the inadequate analysis
“If you don't recognize the geologic setting, how can you decide?”
Lewis asked. “This wasn't even a cursory discussion of the geology.”
The report, he said, must contain more information on the depth and
extent of clay deposits in the Sound where the terminal and pipeline
In addition, he faulted the authors for using as a reference a general
interest pamphlet about the Sound he helped to write, rather than
academic documents with more detail and up-to-date data.
“This is a nice, cute little reference. It's a brief overview,” he
said. “ ... I'm not saying there's any hidden problems here, but if
you're going to base your decision on something, your knowledge should
Seismic data on probable locations of rift and fault lines in the Sound
are also needed, Lewis said.
Mark Robinson, director of the office of energy projects for FERC, said
the points raised by Lewis and the other scientists would be useful for
The final version, which he hopes will be completed in three months,
will include a recommendation to the FERC leadership on whether the
project should be approved.
Auster said the document should have more information on how the 190
decibels of sound Broadwater anticipates its terminal would emit would
affect fish and other marine life.
Wayne Kicklighter, senior consultant for the company hired by FERC to
prepare the report, said the acoustics discussion was limited to marine
mammals because FERC lacks the authority to set limits on the level of
sound that would be considered harmful to fish.
Auster countered that a report on environmental effects should cover
fish and should be comprehensive.
Hard and soft coral communities, lobster borrows and shell deposits,
which are habitats for many animals, also need to be more thoroughly
documented, Auster said.
He said all those underwater communities should be protected from the
terminal and pipeline.
Zajac said one of his main concerns was the scant discussion of how the
area and marine life around the trench for the pipeline might recover
from the digging. The trench would be 25 feet wide with a 25-foot berm
on each side.
“There's very little substance on the level of disturbance and recovery
of the benthic community,” he said, referring to plants and animals
living on the bottom of the Sound.
The report contains some references to studies of recovery where dredge
spoils had been dumped, he said, but these are not relevant to an area
dug for a pipeline trench.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, an opponent of the project,
told the FERC representatives that the scientists' comments show the
draft report is flawed beyond repair and that the conclusion it makes
is not supported.
“What I'm asking is that conclusion be changed,” he said. “In my view,
this report is a do-over. It's not just lengthening the sentences. You
need to fundamentally go back to the drawing board ....”
As the meeting ended, Robinson said, “This was a rare opportunity. We
don't typically have ... folks in like yourselves to take a hard look
at what we've done.”
He said the final report will be complete and thorough, and added,
“Nothing interferes with getting it right.”
Concerns raised from Broadwater hearing
Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register Staff
EAST HAVEN — About 70 people turned out Thursday for an informational
hearing on the proposed liquefied natural gas platform that Broadwater
Energy wants to build in the middle of Long Island Sound.
Virtually all of those who spoke, other than a representative of
Broadwater, raised concerns about the project’s effects on safety and
the environment and whether it would really save consumers money, as
"I think it’s unbelievable, what I’ve been hearing about it," said Al
Skolonis Jr. of East Haven, a longtime fisherman and boater, speaking
before Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s Long Island Sound LNG Task Force, co-chaired
by state Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, which organized the
meeting in the East Haven High School auditorium.
"Through the years, there’s been many changes in the Sound ... but it
seems like it’s getting knocked back rather than going forward,"
Skolonis said. "I don’t think it should be allowed to go on, messin’
with the Sound," he said of Broadwater. "It’s a beautiful place, and
it’s very fragile. ... I think it should be left alone."
Joe Thibault of East Haven wondered whether there were any similar
projects "that are vulnerable to hurricanes, like we are?"
Fasano, who grew up in East Haven and represents the town in Hartford,
told him that Broadwater is the first such totally free-floating plant
ever to be proposed, but said its proponents say it is designed to
survive a Category 5 hurricane — stronger than the devastating 1938
hurricane, which was said to be equivalent to a Category 4 storm.
Fasano was joined by his co-chairwoman, state Sen. Andrea Stillman,
D-Waterford, and other members of the task force, including state
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy;
former East Haven Fire Chief and current Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Deputy Commissioner Wayne Sandford; and
representatives of the state Department of Transportation, the state
Department of Public Safety and the Connecticut Marine Trades
The hearing took place in the midst of a parallel set of hearings being
conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will
decide whether the Broadwater project, a joint venture of TransCanada
Corp. and Shell Oil, goes forward.
The next nearby FERC hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at
Branford High School, 185 E. Main St. in Branford.
Broadwater spokesman Gary Hale, a former state senator who now is a
lobbyist working for the company, was one of several Broadwater
representatives at the hearing and the only one who spoke.
Hale said, responding to an earlier question from an East Haven Town
Council member, that Connecticut would benefit from the project because
it would bring in 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, of which
25 percent would flow into Connecticut, and it also would free up gas
that comes via the Iroquois pipeline that is put to use in Long Island.
He challenged McCarthy and Sandford to meet with the company, charging
that they had made recent statements "that need more substance."
McCarthy refused, saying, if there is confusion, it’s the result of
information contained in the FERC’s draft environmental impact
statement on the project.
"I have no desire to meet with Broadwater," she said, telling Hale that
the department will respond to what’s in the draft EIS and if it has
questions, it will ask them.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal repeated his opposition to
the project, saying, that "the security issue is just one of many that
will get me to continue to fight this." Blumenthal said he is troubled
by recent revelations that the Coast Guard does not have enough boats
and other equipment to adequately protect the facility.
"The fact is, this project is an accident and an attack waiting to
happen," and "we need more than faith and hope" to prevent that, he
Town Council Chairman Ken McKay, R-1, reading a statement from Mayor
Joseph Maturo Jr., called the Sound "a crown jewel" of the state and
said the draft EIS "falls well short of the standards which are
required before an ultimate decision on the Broadwater project can be
rendered." He also expressed concern about the Coast Guard’s ability to
ensure the project’s safety.
Town Council member April Capone Almon, D-3, one of several other
council members to speak, stated her unequivocal opposition and said,
"I feel that the Broadwater project really doesn’t present any
Leah Schmalz of Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the
Environment, called Broadwater’s claims of the project’s benefits
"faulty" and said its "vague statements" rely on old projections "that
have already been proven wrong."
State plan may ease demand for LNG
December 26, 2006
Action in Massachusetts may mitigate the need for the proposed
liquid natural gas terminal that has been proposed for Long Island — at
least, we hope so.
The Bay State plan, approved by Gov. Mitt Romney has the support of the
U.S. Coast Guard and the Executive Office of Public Safety.
Furthermore, a spokeswoman for the Conservation Law Foundation, an
environmental advocacy group, said she was pleased with the proposal.
Susan Reid, an attorney, said "If done right, an offshore LNG terminal
eliminates the need for more dangerous land-base proposals." The key
words are "done right."
There is a major difference between the plan for two terminals off the
coast of Gloucester and that in the middle of Long Island Sound.
The Massachusetts' terminals will be in the open ocean, not in a narrow
estuary as is proposed for the Sound, about a dozen miles from
Branford. In the latter case, the Coast Guard has expressed
reservations about safety and security.
Given the confines of Long Island Sound, the floating terminal as big
as the Queen Mary would require a large safety zone and impinge on both
commercial and recreational boating and fishing. True, there has
been some objection from Massachusetts fishermen that the two terminals
would have an impact on fish habitats and close some fishing grounds.
The companies proposing the terminals have agreed to pay $47 million
mitigation fees for any effects they might have on the fishing
grounds. Lest you think this is just another case of "not in my
backyard" disabuse yourself of that notion. The risks in the Sound
proposal are far greater than those offshore from Gloucester.
The Sound plan would increase tanker traffic into the estuary, with at
least two or three tankers arriving each week to pump off their
LNG. That compounds the danger of the facility itself, something
about which the Coast Guard has expressed concern. The LNG
dispensed by the Gloucester facilities would be pumped right into the
New England grid, providing a 20 percent boost in the supply.
Additionally, it would provide a competitive market that might even
bring prices down. (We're not counting on that, though.)
The plan must still overcome some hurdles in the form of federal
permits, but the Federal Energy Regulation Commission has yet to see an
energy source it didn't like. FERC will love it.
Agency Backs LNG Terminal;
Report Says Facility In Sound Would Be Safe; Foes Vow To Fight
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER, Courant Staff Writer
November 18, 2006
The proposed Broadwater natural gas terminal could operate safely and
would not have a significant environmental impact on Long Island Sound,
the federal agency charged with assessing the project says.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday said the proposal -
a massive liquefied natural gas conversion plant moored in the middle
of the Sound - offers the best alternative for boosting the region's
energy supply and meeting growing demand.
The agency's long-awaited draft environmental impact statement, called
"a real breakthrough" by Broadwater representatives, unleashed a
firestorm of objections from opponents, who contend that the project
would begin "the industrialization" of the Sound.
"This is a use more appropriate for the New Jersey Turnpike than it is
for Long Island Sound," said Roger Reynolds, senior staff attorney for
the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound. "We have
serious disagreements with FERC's [report] ... and we look forward to
the public hearing process to air those differences."
"The FERC report is a whitewash," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
said. The report, he said, "is no surprise - true to [FERC's] tradition
of favoring energy company interests ahead of environmental concerns."
John Hritcko, senior vice president for Broadwater Energy, said the
FERC report "is an important step forward for the Broadwater project to
provide Long Island, New York City and Connecticut with a safe,
affordable supply of clean-burning natural gas, and we are encouraged
by these preliminary findings."
He said Broadwater would work to find ways to further reduce or avoid
potential environmental impacts.
His company, a joint venture of Royal Dutch/Shell Group and TransCanada
Corp., wants to tether a 1,200-foot-long vessel to a mooring tower 9
miles off Long Island and 11 miles from Branford, in New York waters.
The terminal would be 200 feet wide and sit 82 feet high. It would take
in liquefied natural gas imported from overseas in huge tankers,
convert it back to a gas and deliver it through an undersea pipeline.
The facility would process about 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day,
enough to boost the region's supply by 25 percent, Broadwater says.
About half of the gas would go to New York City, 25 to 30 percent to
Long Island and the rest to Connecticut.
"Construction and operation of the proposed project, with the adoption
of the FERC and Coast Guard recommendations, would result in limited
adverse environmental impacts," FERC said in a prepared statement. The
Coast Guard earlier this fall spelled out what measures would be needed
to ensure safety of the facility and the tankers carrying liquefied gas
through the Sound.
FERC will accept public comment on the report through Jan. 23, and
plans to schedule public hearings in the area before that deadline,
said Tamara Young-Allen, a FERC spokeswoman.
Then, FERC staff members will prepare a final environmental report to
be submitted to the commission. Young-Allen said a decision could come
sometime next year.
Broadwater hopes to have the plant operating by the end of 2010.
The project also needs various federal and state permits. Save the
Sound on Friday called on New York to deny Broadwater a required
FERC's report was based on input from the public and numerous state and
federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanographic and
The Coast Guard analyzed safety and security issues and determined that
although the project posed problems, the terminal could be safely
operated, and that the risk of a catastrophic incident would be remote.
But the facility and the tankers feeding it would require extensive
safety zones, where commercial and recreational activities would be
FERC said the safety zones would have only a minor impact on commercial
fishing and recreational activities, and that they could be reduced by
careful scheduling of deliveries to the terminal.
The FERC assessment also found no reason to believe that Broadwater
would lead to additional industrial activities on the Sound.
Opponents remain skeptical.
FERC "has not only given short shrift to scientific evidence about
environmental dangers, but also ignored security threats and impacts on
navigation, as well as recreational and economic values," Blumenthal
Connecticut's junior U.S. senator, Joseph I. Lieberman, called the FERC
report "deeply flawed" and said the agency's conclusions are "undercut
by its own findings. ... The extraordinary steps that the FERC and the
Coast Guard have said would be needed to allow for the safe and secure
operation of the Broadwater facility leave no doubt that this facility
has no place in Long Island Sound."
Broadwater is just one of many proposals to build or upgrade liquefied
natural gas terminals. Natural gas now supplies about 40 percent of the
energy consumed in New England.
Opponents argue that the region needs to turn to alternative sources of
energy, both to reduce dependence on foreign supplies and to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. FERC
concluded that alternative energy sources cannot meet the demand.
Even if FERC were to approve Broadwater, the plant might not get built.
"We fully expect that many facilities that get approved ultimately will
not get built," said Bryan Lee, a spokesman for the agency. "The market
is going to determine whether these get built."
Contact David K. Funkhouser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the FERC staff's draft environmental impact statement online,
go to: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/lng/enviro/eis.asp,
click the "Issued" tab and click on "Broadwater." The public may submit
comments by Jan. 23, 2007, to FERC either by e-mail after following
instructions under "eFilings" on FERC's homepage or by postal mail to
FERC, Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC 20426.
Broadwater's Terminal Plan
Hartford Courant editorial
November 5, 2006
The Coast Guard's review of Broadwater Energy's proposal to moor a
gargantuan liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island
Sound concludes that the project could be done if Broadwater takes
steps to "responsibly manage risks to navigation safety and security."
Days later, officials for Broadwater, a joint venture of TransCanada
Corp. and Shell, issue assurances that they always meant to provide
security without burdening state or local taxpayers.
The problem is that Broadwater and the Coast Guard define the issues of
security and cost too narrowly.
Broadwater's proposal would increase the region's dependence on foreign
sources of fuel. How does that strengthen national security? In
addition, natural gas already accounts for too large a share of the
Northeast's fuel supplies, making the region vulnerable to the whims of
the global market. Expanding that dependence on natural gas for heating
and generating electricity will increase the region's exposure to
volatile energy prices and threaten its long-term economic stability.
Broadwater's bid to maintain the energy status quo would have the added
effect of undermining efforts at conservation, the best and most direct
path to long-term economic security and cleaner air.
Broadwater submitted its application under the Energy Independence Act
of 2005. The law gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
authority to override states in deciding the location of such energy
facilities. At 1,200 feet long and 180 feet wide, this terminal will be
bigger than the Queen Mary 2. If approved, it will serve as a symbol of
the federal government's willingness to trample states' rights for
short-sighted energy policies.
It would also set an ugly precedent for the further industrialization
of a national treasure. Long Island Sound, the country's second-largest
estuary, has been the focus of years of efforts (and billions of
dollars) at environmental cleanup and reclamation.
Finally, it seems that every day, the body of scientific evidence
linking fossil-fuel consumption and deforestation to global warming
grows. A report released recently by the British government on the
economics of climate change warned that, barring an international
commitment to cutting fossil-fuel consumption, the world could face a
decline in productivity on a scale not witnessed since the Great
The threat to our globe is real. The question before us - now - is
whether to continue blindly following the status quo to disaster or to
push for change.
The Coast Guard concludes the Broadwater project can be done in a way
that minimizes its hazards to public safety and navigation. But such
conclusions don't address the broader question of whether this should
be done; whether, as a matter of national energy policy, Broadwater is
in the region's best long-term economic and environmental interests.
Guard report spells out danger in LNG terminal
Norwalk HOUR editorial
September 27, 2006
As if we needed any further affirmation that the proposed liquid
natural gas terminal planned for Long Island Sound presented a security
risk, the U.S. Coast Guard nonetheless has provided it.
In an extensive report, the Coast Guard, charged with homeland security
on Long Island Sound, was careful not to make a recommendation one way
or the other, but its report certainly spells out the dangers.
Among other things, the Coast Guard report states that it would need a
major infusion of resources in order to provide security for the
The terminal, basically a floating LNG tank, would be the length of two
football fields and stand about 100 feet tall. Under Broadwater
Energy's plan, two or three LNG tankers would be docking there each
week to disgorge the fuel.
Read the words of the report: "Based on current levels of mission
activity, Coast Guard Sector Long Island does not have the resources
required to implement the measures that have been identified as being
necessary to effectively manage the potential risk to navigation safety
and maritime security..."
Broadwater attempted to put its own spin on the Coast Guard report,
calling the security measures the report said would be needed as
The report's recommendations call for escort boats for LNG carriers and
establishment of a security zone around the facility as well as around
the moving tankers.
While we feel the placement of the Coast Guard under Homeland Security
made more sense than its previous existence as a part of the Department
of Transportation, it also greatly expanded its responsibilities. The
change came as the service dealt with an aging fleet to cover more and
more tasks, including port security. The report states flat-out that
existing firefighting capability to deal with a blaze at a terminal
such as this is inadequate.
Both officials in Connecticut and New York are on record as opposing
the gas terminal.
Beyond the security problems, they all cite the threat to the ecology
of Long Island Sound, negating the difficult effort that has been under
way to bring this estuary back to what it once was.
There also will be an impact on its struggling fishing industry and
will curtail the use of it by recreational boaters, no small business
on both sides of the Sound.
The sad part of it is that the Federal Energy Regulation Commission
will no doubt totally ignore the positions of Connecticut and New York.
We've seen in the past that FERC pretty much goes its own way when it
comes to matters affecting the population of Connecticut and the devil
take our position.
strike against LNG plant
CT POST editorial
Article Launched: 09/25/2006 02:54:23 PM EDT
Mark one more strike against a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal
being situated in the middle of Long Island Sound.
The United States Coast Guard on Friday confirmed what many have been
contending for months: The proposed LNG terminal poses a safety and
security risk to our region. It would necessitate more firefighters,
escort boats and other measures to both prevent and respond to
accidents or terrorist attacks.
Although the Coast Guard's security analysis didn't explicitly offer
support or non-support for Broadwater Energy's proposed hulking energy
terminal that would tower more than 10 stories, the Coast Guard did
make clear that the facility would create a significant need for more
resources to ensure public's safety.
Of course it would. And not only does the facility pose a huge safety
threat to the region's residents, it also poses an environmental threat
to the Sound's delicate ecosystem.
Our Sound is one of the most precious resources — in an economic sense
and in an environmental sense — shared by Connecticut and New York. One
can only imagine the devastation that would ensue if the terminal,
proposed to be built only 10 miles from Connecticut's shores, were to
The list of those opposing the proposed LNG terminal — many of whom
were quick to point out Friday that the Coast Guard's report is another
reason why the terminal is a bad idea — is both lengthy and impressive.
The list is so lengthy that it's enough to make one wonder who exactly
supports this incursion by private enterprise into public waters.
Broadwater clearly isn't interested in the Connecticut's opinion on the
terminal. What's worse, it appears that the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission isn't either. FERC has steadfastly refused Connecticut's
requests for a seat at the table when final decisions about the
Broadwater project are made and refuses to grant Connecticut official
Broadwater's chief argument for the terminal is to consider the
alternatives. Unless we address our region's energy needs, the
consortium argues, the New York-Connecticut region faces higher energy
costs in the future.
We're not buying that, especially if state lawmakers finally get off
the dime and formulate an effective energy conservation and development
plan for Connecticut, including new, alternative energy sources that
won't desecrate Long Island Sound.
the Sound: Statement on Release of U.S. Coast Guard’s Safety
Report on the Proposed Broadwater Energy LNG Terminal and Pipeline
NEW HAVEN – An approximately one-and-a-half-square-mile safety
and security zone would be needed to secure the proposed LNG industrial
complex and, if breached, an ignitable vapor cloud could travel 4.7
miles from the complex in any direction, according to the U.S. Coast
Guard’s Waterway Suitability Report released today.
"This report shows that the three hazard zones
associated with the Shell project could significantly affect important
natural resources within 70 square miles of the industrial complex and
will impact commercial shipping, recreational boating, and commercial
and recreational fishing within Connecticut and New York,” said Leah
Schmalz, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs for Save the Sound,
a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “This proposal
raises serious legal issues concerning the rights of the citizens in
The complex that Shell wants to build in Long Island
Sound – a congressionally declared Estuary of National Significance –
would be approximately 11 miles south of Connecticut and nine miles
north of New York in New York waters. It is expected to receive two to
three weekly shipments of LNG via tankers that will enter the Sound
through The Race – the constricted, eastern-most access point.
An area around the industrial complex and around
each of the LNG delivery tankers would be quarantined, disallowing free
use by other citizens or commercial vessels. "The U.S. Coast Guard
often calls Long Island Sound ‘I-95 Wet,’ but I doubt that New York and
Connecticut would ever consider severely restricting traffic on I-95
three times a week for one corporation’s exclusive use," Schmalz said.
Broadwater would exclude citizens from portions of
the Sound and could require them to subsidize safety and security
response for the project through local cost sharing. "Allowing Shell to
usurp our citizens’ rightful use to portions of the Sound is
unacceptable," Schmalz said. "Furthermore it is unconscionable that it
also expects us to pay for responses to emergencies arising from their
facility or tankers. These two facts alone prove that this project is
inappropriate for Long Island Sound."
"In light of CFE’s Alternatives Analysis to
Broadwater released on March 2, 2006, we know with certainty that
Broadwater is unnecessary," Schmalz said. "There are a number of ways
to assure adequate gas and energy supplies for New England. They are
commonsense approaches that do not require the industrialization of a
large portion of the Sound."
"Broadwater Energy has failed to identify any
compelling local or regional need that would justify the impact that
this proposed LNG terminal would have on the environmental, economic,
recreational and historical value of Long Island Sound," Schmalz said.
Coast Guard: LNG
terminal would require additional security
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer
Sep 22, 2:56 PM EDT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A giant liquefied natural gas terminal
proposed for Long Island Sound poses safety and security risks that
would require more firefighters, escort boats and other measures to
prevent accidents or terrorist attacks, according to a Coast Guard
report released Friday.
The Coast Guard issued a security analysis that does not take a
position on the proposal by Broadwater Energy, but concludes that
additional measures would be needed to "responsibly manage risks to
navigation safety and security risks" associated with the project.
"Based on current levels of mission activity, Coast Guard Sector Long
Island currently does not have the resources required to implement the
measures that have been identified as being necessary to effectively
manage the potential risk to navigation safety and maritime security
associated with the Broadwater Energy proposal," the report states.
Broadwater Energy wants to build a floating terminal that would supply
1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to heat 4 million
homes a year. Environmentalists oppose the application and some
officials worry the terminal is too dangerous for the busy waterway
between Connecticut and Long Island.
Natural gas is cooled and condensed into a liquid to make
transportation easier. Under the Broadwater proposal, the terminal
would receive LNG shipments by boat, then pump the gas into the
existing pipeline between Long Island and Connecticut.
"The bottom line is this validates everything we've been saying. This
is very risky, very costly and potentially dangerous," said Adrienne
Esposito, executive director of the Long Island-based Citizens Campaign
for the Environment. "This should be the beginning of the end for
Broadwater. This plan turns the tranquil waters of the Long Island
Sound into the nightmare on Elm Street for the public."
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Sen. Joseph
Lieberman, D-Conn., Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Connecticut
Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other officials also said the report justifies
opposition to the project because the security measures would be too
costly. The report recommends Broadwater share in the costs but does
not provide an estimate, saying an emergency response plan must still
"The Coast Guard report seeks methods to manage or mitigate risks, but
cannot acceptably reduce or eliminate them," Blumenthal said.
Broadwater officials have argued the facility is a safe new source of
clean energy to ease power shortages on Long Island. They said Friday
that the Coast Guard report confirms that.
"We thought that the Coast Guard did a very detailed, thorough
analysis," said Broadwater spokesman John Hritcko. "The safety and
security measures that they had outlined are very much standard
practice, and the Coast Guard has determined that there are no credible
threats. They've also said that the offshore location does reduce the
Hritcko said the costs of providing security pale in comparison to the
potential cost of not adding energy sources.
"If you don't implement a project such as Broadwater to bring more
energy into the region, what are you going to do, continue to pay
higher prices for energy and use fossil fuels into the future?" he said.
The Coast Guard, which spent more than a year conducting its analysis,
concluded that the proposed LNG terminal would likely not be an
attractive target for terrorists because of its remoteness. The
terminal would be 10 miles from Connecticut and 9 miles from New York.
"We found risks to navigation safety and some risks to security. But we
did not feel those risks could not be mitigated," said Capt. Peter
Boynton, who commands the Coast Guard's Long Island Sound division, at
a press conference Friday.
The report recommends escort boats for LNG carriers to help prevent
terrorist attacks or shipping accidents. A security zone that would
limit access to the area around the facility and a similar zone around
moving tankers as they transport gas also is recommended.
"The zone gives us the ability to help people who don't want to
interfere with the tanker to safely get out of the way," Boynton said.
"It also provides us a zone that we could defend the tanker were that
to be necessary."
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment said the security zone would
severely restrict use of the Sound by residents and other commercial
vessels. The group also cited a finding that an ignitable vapor cloud
could travel 4.7 miles from the complex in any direction.
Boynton disagreed that the zones would amount to a severe restriction,
saying they would cover only a tiny fraction of the waterway. The
facility is expected to generate two to three tankers worth of gas per
During the past 45 years since LNG shipments began, eight marine
incidents worldwide have resulted in spills, but no cargo fires have
occurred on LNG carriers, according to the report.
The principle risk from an accident or attack is a fire, not an
explosion, according to the report. LNG fires are typically short but
The report concludes that existing marine firefighting capability is
"There are currently very limited resources immediately available to
respond to a large marine fire on Long Island Sound," the report states.
It also recommends that a mooring system for the terminal be able to
withstand a category 5 hurricane.
The report will be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
which will determine whether the proposal will be licensed. Decisions
usually take a year to 18 months after an application is submitted.
Broadwater submitted its application in January.
Coast Guard says
Broadwater could meet safety, security requirements; 'Foreign-flag'
traffic would increase by 20-30 percent
By Judy Benson
Published on 9/22/2006
The Broadwater Liquified Natural Gas facility, proposed to be
permanently moored in Long Island Sound, could meet the Coast Guard’s
safety and security requirements if certain steps are taken to
increase emergency resources and manpower on the Sound, according to a
Coast Guard analysis released today.
The safety and security analysis was released by the Coast Guard Friday
and represents a major milestone in the lengthy application and
approval process that will determine whether a first-of-its-kind
floating natural gas facility can be located in the Sound.
The facility, the length of four football fields, would be located 10
miles south of Branford and nine miles north of Riverhead on Long
Island. It would supply one billion cubic feet of natural gas to
the New York-Connecticut region daily.
Capt. Peter J. Boynton, of Sector Long Island Sound, emphasized that
the CG analysis is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of the
project but an objective analysis that will be one factor in the
decision ultimately made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
He said it would increase foreign-flag traffic on the Sound by 20 to 30
Company officials said they were pleased with the content of the
analysis and could meet all of the Coast Guard’s recommendations for
minimizing safety and security risks. Opponents meanwhile said they
believe the report illustrates that the facility is inappropriate for
Long Island Sound.
States Unite For A
New London DAY
By JUDY BENSON,Health/Science/Environment Reporter
Published on 12/4/2005
Over the years, the watery wedge between Long Island and
Connecticut has appeared as either the chasm of divided interests or
the bridge connecting the two states in a common purpose.
Long Island Sound has revealed itself as a rift when New York
Connecticut disagreed over such issues as the dumping of dredge spoils
in the estuary and the placement of submerged electric cables and
natural gas pipelines slicing through the sea bed.
The Sound has bridged the states when they have come together
restore its habitat and craft initiatives to curb nitrogen-laden runoff
and sewage discharges in its waters.
From its easternmost point at Race Rock to its western tip at
and New York City, territorial control over the estuary is split
between Connecticut and New York. But to many, the imaginary state line
“You really can't look at the Sound ecosystem by
boundaries, because anything you do in the Sound affects all the other
communities there,” said
Kimberly Graff, the outreach coordinator for New York state
two-decade-old federal and bi-state restoration program called the Long
Island Sound Study. “Nothing would get done if we weren't working
Since its introduction a year ago, a first-of-its-kind
proposal to park
a huge floating industrial facility in the middle of the Sound has the
two sides talking as never before. Much of the conversation has focused
on uniting against what many perceive to be a common enemy. Broadwater
Energy, a Shell Oil-TransCanada PipeLine partnership, is seeking to
permanently anchor a 1200-foot-long barge to store and process
liquefied natural gas that would be piped mainly to New York City-area
Though the barge would sit in waters controlled by New York,
from Riverhead on Long Island and 11 miles from Branford in
Connecticut, the plan has met with equal scorn in both states as a
threat to the safety and environmental well-being of the Sound. Both
the barge and the tankers that would supply it would be surrounded by a
wide safety and security buffer closing those areas to fishermen,
recreational boaters and others.
“The best thing about Broadwater is that they've united New
Connecticut in favor of Long Island Sound,” said Leah Schmaltz,
director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound and staff
attorney for its affiliate, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.
“Up until now we've had this on-again, off-again rivalry between the
two states. But this idea that Broadwater would take away a part of the
Sound from the public was something new entirely. This is probably the
most important decision to be made about Long Island Sound.”
The ultimate authority over whether Broadwater receives the
its offshore energy plant rests with the federal government, thanks to
recent expansion of powers given to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, or FERC, under the energy bill passed by Congress this year.
Resentment over loss of state control has further motivated
cooperation among the region's congressmen, state and municipal
officials, and environmental and grassroots activists groups.
“We needed to muscle up and join forces on this,” said Lonnie
member of Branford's Representative Town Meeting who's become a leader
in bringing residents of Long Island and Connecticut together. “We
wanted to create a structure moving forward to get people talking on
both sides of the Sound. The people on Long Island love the Sound just
like we do.”
Reed, a former journalist and congressional staffer, teamed
fellow Branford resident Felise Cressman, a former science teacher long
involved in environmental causes, to form the Hands Across Our Pond.
With Save the Sound as its parent organization, Hands Across Our Pond
has reached out to Broadwater opponents in both states for solutions to
the region's energy needs that won't impact the shared estuary.
“We're trying to heal some of the schisms that we've felt
energy debates, and come up with rational energy policies and create a
new relationship,” said Cressman, who lives a few steps from the shores
of the Sound, where she kayaks and sails.
Among those Cressman and Reed have approached is Sid Bail,
the civic association of the Long Island community of Wading River.
Bail, a veteran of opposition to the Shoreham nuclear power plant in
nearby Brookhaven, has welcomed the gesture.
“Over on our side of the pond,” he said, “we've have been
by some of Connecticut's actions on the dumping of dredge materials and
the tremendous amount of hostility to any cables across the Sound. But
this effort to come together (against Broadwater) is extremely
important, because this is not going to be the last issue we face in
Bail thinks a successful campaign against Broadwater could
long-term commitment. Regardless of the outcome, he said, the
Broadwater plan points out the need for the two states to establish
common policies to ensure that the Sound's open waters do not become
“Open space preservation regulations for Long Island Sound,”
he said, “are something we need to explore.”
Hands Across Our Pond has also established contacts at
Citizens for the Environment, an 80,000-member New York-based
organization in the forefront of the anti-Broadwater campaign.
Adrienne Esposito, CCE's executive director, believes the
grassroots-level teamwork is, in some ways, a revival of what happened
decade ago. Then, environmental groups from both states pushed federal
and state officials to aim for stricter limits on polluted discharges
entering the estuary. The recent unity is also a reaction to what she
views as FERC's usurpation of the approval process for LNG terminals.
“When states find their rights being yanked away from them,”
“you do find the states coming together. The federal government plays
the trump card in this. ... The only real way to protect Long Island
Sound is for the two states to work together and focus on what they
State Sen. Andrea Stillman, Democrat of Waterford, is hoping
bi-state Long Island Sound committee of elected and non-elected
officials will begin meeting in the near future. The Connecticut law
establishing the group was passed this year, but an equivalent measure
has not made its way through the New York state legislature.
Stillman's objections to the Broadwater plan, she said, were
motivation for proposing the law, but the group's purpose would go well
beyond this one issue.
“I'm looking at overall concerns about the industrialization
of Long Island Sound,” she said.
Another opponent of the project, U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd
is putting his hopes for stopping Broadwater into a bi-state group of
lawmakers he calls the Long Island Sound caucus. Before Broadwater, he
said, the New York and Connecticut delegations had come together to
craft the Long Island Stewardship Act, which enables preservation of
certain properties along the coasts of both states.
Simmons said he opposed the portion of the energy bill that
final say over LNG terminals but thinks Connecticut and New York can
still have some influence over the decision.
“Working together,” he said, “team Long Island Sound could
mount a very
powerful campaign against this project and present it to FERC
successfully. This is an opportunity for New York and Connecticut to
get together on something.”
Critics call LNG plant unsafe and
— A public hearing on a proposed liquefied natural gas plant in Long
Island Sound had all the flavor of a political protest Wednesday night
at Branford High School.
Critics of the proposal say it’s
unsafe and unsuitable for the Sound. Broadwater Energy, a partnership
formed by the TransCanada Corp. and Shell U.S. Gas and Power, says it
will help provide much-needed energy in the region.
About 250 people turned out to voice
their concerns. The $700 million Broadwater Energy plant would be 10
stories tall, four football fields long and 180 feet wide, and float in
New York waters about 10 miles south of Branford Harbor.
The public hearing was held by the U.S. Coast
Guard and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The proposal is in
the preliminary stage of a multiple-year review process. Before
the meeting, a crowd rallied in front of the school. In addition
to speakers protesting the project, Clinton’s Tom Callinan sang "Our
Water, Not Broadwater."
what if something goes awry with Broadwater in our water?" he sang as
the generally upbeat tune took an ominous turn. "How many innocent
souls will die with Broadwater in our water?" Natasha Proctor, 8,
of Orange, who came with her father and others from the New Haven Yacht
Club, danced in a blue crab costume.
"I haven’t felt this kind of spirit since the late ’60s and Vietnam,"
said state Sen. J. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford. The New York-based
Citizens Campaign for the Environment produced 50,000 signatures
opposed to the Broadwater plant.
"I don’t get why we have to entertain every crazy proposal that comes
along," said CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito. She said
Broadwater was not a public need, but corporate greed. John
Hritcko Jr., a Broadwater regional project director, said the project
was driven by necessity.
don’t want the visual of the facility, but all you have to look at is
the energy prices in Connecticut," he said, saying 25 percent of the
gas would be pegged for the state. He said the size of the
project made sense because of the need for volume.
"LNGs are large-scale projects. They’re difficult to design and justify
on a small scale," he said. He said they’ve worked to ensure the
project will be safe from any terrorist threats.
too difficult to hit and it will not provide a spectacular event," he
said, referring to any casualties in a terrorist raid. Much of
the comment period before the panel was taken up by politicians.
not a knee-jerk, energy industry demonizer," said Branford
Representative Town Meeting member Lonnie Reed, D-5. But she said it
was wrong to "test drive" the LNG plant in the Sound. She said
she worries about potential collisions, diesel fuel spills and
"catastrophic mooring failure."
earlier fears about the safety of Broadwater were linked to a terrorist
attack, the shock of Hurricane Katrina pushed natural disasters to the
"It could make the Sound look like the Gulf," said
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. "I’m haunted by the hulks of
platforms on (the Gulf of Mexico) shore that were supposed to be
Blumenthal quoted a Coast Guard report that called the Sound "fragile
"We ought to keep in mind what doctors have as their professional
motto: First do no harm," he said.
pushed the Katrina connection further. He said the federal government
had not proven its mettle in responding to that crisis.
"I ask you to make your responsibility in this hearing the avoidance of
risk, not the management of risk," he said. He
told the panel that a University of Connecticut marine biologist said
ecology would be ruined for a generation by a major accident.
Battle brews over
By CHRIS BOSAK Hour
Sunday, September 18, 2005
REGION -- Opposition groups in Connecticut are circling the wagons in
preparation for what could be an important week in determining the fate
of the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound. In
advance of public meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, many
Connecticut mayors and first selectmen will announce their collective
opposition to Broadwater Energy's proposal at a gathering at 2 p.m. on
Monday at Walnut Beach in Milford.
"We're hoping for a big crowd," said Veda Napoletano of Connecticut
Fund for the Environment. "It will be a celebration and announcement of
the towns that have formally come out against the project." Broadwater
proposed to build a 1,200-foot-long, 180-foot-wide floating terminal in
New York waters 11 miles off the coast of Branford. The facility would
receive natural gas shipments from ocean-going tankers, about one
vessel every three days, store the natural gas in a liquefied state,
then reheat it and send it to shore via a 22- to 25-mile pipeline that
would connect to the existing cross-Sound Iroquois pipeline.
Broadwater says the terminal will help sate the region's healthy
appetite for energy. Norwalk is one of at least 29 municipalities to
formally oppose the proposal, according to Napoletano, who added that
Westport continues to debate the issue. Also, state Reps. Chris Perone,
D-137, and Toni Boucher, R-143, have announced their opposition. There
will be two U.S. Coast Guard public meetings this week in the state:
Tuesday at East Lyme High School and Wednesday at Branford High School.
Members from many environmental groups are hoping for strong turnouts
at the meetings.
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment has arranged for free
round-trip bus transportation for the Wednesday meeting and plans a
public demonstration to express its opposition. The bus will pick up
passengers at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Westport commuter lot off Exit 18
of I-95. (To reserve a spot, call (203) 787-0646.) The first two Coast
Guard meetings were held last week on Long Island. John Hritcko Jr.,
senior vice president and regional project director for Broadwater,
said the meetings went well.
"Both meetings were productive," he said. "A lot of people came with
some good questions. That's the purpose of the meetings: To get
face-to-face with officials and ask questions." Hritcko said Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission officials will be on hand will take into
consideration the questions asked when it puts together its draft
environmental impact statement. Another round of public meeting will be
held after the draft is announced, said Hritcko, who does not expect a
decision by FERC until the end of 2006.
Hritcko is expecting some opposition at the Connecticut meetings, but
also more good questions. "It's an opportunity for the people of
Connecticut to weigh in," he said. Broadwater recently released updated
graphic images showing what the terminal would look like. Overhead and
underwater images were sent to The Hour. The terminal would float and
be hitched to a mooring tower. The four legs of the mooring tower, he
said, would have an underwater footprint about the size of two
"basketball fields." Hritcko said the color nature of the images are to
show detail and the real product in the Sound would be grayish.
He added that Broadwater has already made several revisions to its
initial proposal based on public concerns and input. Changes were made
in equipment used, vaporizers and air-emission methods, he said. The
South Western Regional Planning Agency, which in early August hosted a
presentation by Broadwater Energy and rebuttals from Save The Sound and
Citizens Campaign For The Environment, has not taken a position on the
proposed terminal, according to an agency official. Robert Wilson,
executive director, said the board of directors at its Sept. 6 meeting
was preoccupied with finishing its final draft of the Regional Plan of
Conservation and Development. Broadwater may come up at the board's
October meeting, he added.
A Big Thumbs Down On
Idea To Build LNG Terminals
New London DAY
By BETHE DUFRESNE
General Assignment Reporter/Columnist
Published on 9/16/2005
Casinos moored along the Gulf Coast were tossed around like
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said it was as if a
nuclear bomb had been dropped.
That was Hurricane Katrina, but it could have been a reprise of the
1938 storm nicknamed “The Long Island Express.”
So I have to ask: Is it really a good idea to put a floating liquefied
natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound, as proposed by
Shell Oil Co. and TransCanada Corp.? The $700 million terminal — much
more than a pipe dream — would be
anchored 11 miles from East Haven and would be about 10 stories high
and four football fields long. Boaters are already protesting. But
officials from the operator, Broadwater Energy LLC, assure us that it
would be a safe way to ease power shortages.
Funny how we rarely hear anything about easing power shortages the
safest way, through conservation, especially from an administration so
intent on pushing abstinence in safe-sex programs as the best or only
solution. Now I know it's unfair to pass judgment on this project
before all the
facts are known. But the scary thing here is that President Bush's new
energy bill gives federal regulators — not us — final say over import
The public can comment — how generous of the feds — during a hearing
Sept. 20 at East Lyme High School. Maybe the terminal wouldn't be a
huge hazard or target, just monstrously ugly and in the way. But don't
forget that a few weeks ago the president said, “I don't think anyone
anticipated the breach of the levees.”
Science isn't my forte, nor does it appear to be the president's. For
more information on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), I surfed the Web,
starting with the Sierra Club. Not surprisingly, the Sierra Club gives
LNG terminals a thumbs down. To find out why, including worldwide
statistics on mishaps and resulting casualties, check out www.lngwatch.com.
The view from business is more reassuring. The Web site for Trunkline
LNG Terminal in Lake Charles (La.) noted that the facility is built to
withstand winds up to 150 mph.
Perhaps I'm just being picky, but on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane
scale, a category 4, like Katrina, has “dangerous, sustained” winds of
131 mph to 155 mph. That's a five-mile doorway to doomsday, not to
mention a “cat 5.”
A report from Hybrid Energy Advisors Inc., a Houston-based enterprise
that “provides independent business advisory services to the natural
gas industry and related markets,” concluded that “LNG appears to be a
very viable and constantly improving choice” to satisfy increased
energy needs. The report did, however, admit that LNG is a hard sell.
“LNG re-gasification terminals are viewed as large, obstructive and
generally displeasing to the eye,” it said, therefore “one mitigant to
that problem is siting the terminal off-shore ...”
Still, problems remain.
“With the threat of oil tanker, nuclear reactor and LNG ship sabotage,
political risk to siting an on- or off-shore re-gasification unit is
high,” Hybrid Energy Advisors warned.
Note the term political risk.
“Man-made or accidental explosion of such a tanker can be catastrophic
in the mind of the common person,” the report said, meaning me,“and
although studies have shown that LNG volatility is much lower in its
liquid cooled form, the image of a giant vapor cloud can have
devastating effects on the human psyche and at the very least create an
apocalyptic image that few are willing to internalize.”
Well, even though I'm just a common person, I'm willing to internalize
it. And I have to say ...
Report Raises Concerns Over Gas
Terminal; State study questions need for facility in Long Island
By Associated Press & Stephen Singer
Published on 3/9/2006
Hartford — A plan for a floating natural gas terminal on Long Island
Sound fails to factor in costs to the public and has no identifiable
market, according to a commission appointed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to
study project's impact on Connecticut.
The Broadwater Energy terminal would require public expenditures for
security and other requirements, the panel said in an interim report.
The panel said there are numerous environmental concerns with the
project. It also criticized what it called the lack of a federal energy
policy that it says has led to corporations racing to capture a
monopoly in the deregulated energy market.
Amy Kelley, project adviser for Broadwater, disputed the report
“The market is here and we'll be providing energy,” Kelley said.
“Broadwater would not propose this project if it does believe there's a
Kelley said Broadwater and state officials have a “common goal of
finding a way to provide energy in a safe and environmentally sound
Broadwater Energy, a joint venture of TransCanada Corporation and Royal
Dutch/Shell Group, wants to build the $700 million floating terminal to
receive and pipe liquefied natural gas.
It is not clear how much influence Connecticut officials will have in
determining whether the plans will go forward, said Sen. Andrea
Stillman, co-chairwoman of the panel.
The terminal, which would be as long as four football fields, would be
in New York waters 11 miles from Branford, and will also require
“We believe we will have some say,” said Stillman, D-Waterford.
Several officials involved in the report oppose the project, but Sen.
Leonard Fasano, also a co-chairman of the panel, called it an
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a long-time critic of the
plan, said that the Broadwater plan is the “worst case and worst place.”
The report called for a review that “should be methodical and
meticulous. Every alternative should be examined, every safety issue
explored and every economic impact studied and analyzed.”
Rell said in a statement Wednesday she has “very serious concerns about
this project from a point of view of public safety, security, the
environment and the economy.”
Stillman and Fasano said key information about security, such as the
impact of increased Long Island Sound traffic on the submarine base in
Groton and the environmental impact of the 25-mile connecting pipeline
and trench to install it must be provided before final decisions are
The Meddling Feds
Hartford Courant editorial
August 12, 2005
Sound has taken it on the chin, compliments of the sweeping
energy bill approved by Congress and signed this week by President Bush.
Under the new law, the authority to site a liquefied
gas terminal in the middle of the Sound has been wrested from the
states and turned over to federal regulators. The rationale? The
nation's unquenchable thirst for energy supercedes state sovereignty,
even if the gas terminal could pose a threat to the environment or the
safety of the local populace.
inside the legislation are all kinds of hidden morsels meant for
special interests. Some are downright indigestible, especially to
Connecticut and New York, which are fighting to maintain regulatory
control of the bi-state body of water.
if that weren't bad enough, the energy law also will allow companies to
bypass state courts and go directly to federal court in certain cases
in which state officials deny or delay energy projects. The proposed
Islander East pipeline is such a case. Hours after Mr. Bush had signed
the bill, the owners of the pipeline - KeySpan Corp. and Duke Energy -
were in the U.S. Court of Appeals, asking that this state's denial of a
construction permit be overturned.
Attorney General Richard
Blumenthal, a champion of the environment, has vowed to fight the
appeal, as well he should if the evidence warrants it. But the issue is
larger than this one pipeline. States' regulatory rights shouldn't be
subservient to a national energy policy.
In the case of
Islander East, a 23-mile pipeline that would connect Branford with
eastern Long Island, state officials have determined that dredging and
plowing would degrade the water quality, endanger shellfish beds and
damage the coastal environment. The state issued its ruling in 2002 and
affirmed it a year later. The owners subsequently sued in Superior
Meanwhile, the $185 million project was approved by the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of
Commerce, putting the two governmental jurisdictions at loggerheads.
instead of trying to negotiate a compromise, the feds have authorized
an end-run. Long Island Sound will be worse off because of it.
PLANT PROPONANTS FACE GRILLING
August 2, 2005
STAMFORD -- Proponents of a
plan to build a floating liquefied natural gas plant the size of four
football fields on the New York side of Long Island Sound faced tough
questions last night from area residents and environmentalists.
Standing before about 80 people last night at Stamford Government
Center, Norwalk resident John de Regt asked representatives of
Broadwater Energy, the company proposing the plant, why it couldn't be
placed in Block Island Sound -- which would keep three LNG tankers per
week from servicing the plant on Long Island Sound.
Island Sound locations weren't protected enough and those that were
suitable were too far away from main pipelines that would be used to
transport the gas to market, said John Hritcko, Broadwater's senior
vice president and regional project director.
which if all goes according to Broadwater's plan, would put a
1,200-foot-long floating plant about 11 miles southeast of New Haven in
2010. The plant would be 70 to 100 feet high and 180 feet wide.
The $700 million terminal would be used to warm natural gas brought by
tanker in its liquid state at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit before
pumping it into a pipeline to New York and Connecticut energy markets.
Much of the gas would be used for energy production.
To make the plan work, a 25-mile pipeline would be put in place leading
to the Iroquois pipeline, which runs between Milford and Northport on
Long Island, N.Y.
At last night's meeting, called by the South
Western Regional Planning Association, representatives of Save the
Sound and the New York-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment --
which oppose the plan -- shared the dais with Hritcko.
Hritcko and a Broadwater consultant spent about a half-hour explaining
the proposal, Leah Lopez Schmalz, Save the Sound's director of
legislation and legal affairs, said the plant would create a precedent
for industrialization of Long Island Sound.
If the project was successful, Lopez Schmalz asked how many more
floating plants would be put on the Sound.
Lopez Schmalz said the Sound should not be a "guinea pig" for the
plant, which would be the world's first.
Acknowledging the plant's uniqueness, Hritcko said it would help solve
the region's growing power problems.
Asked by Norwalk resident and sailor Bob Yeager what would happen if
the plant was not built, Hritcko said problems could become so acute
that power companies may fail to keep the lights on in southwestern
Lopez Schmalz countered that more than 10 LNG plants are in the
application stage and Broadwater wasn't the only alternative.
During the question-and-answer period, Jeff Cordulack, a Stamford
resident and president of the Environmental Council of Stamford,
elicited a few laughs when he asked if Connecticut residents, like
Alaskans who receive money each year from oil leases, would be paid for
use of Long Island Sound.
Hritcko said his company would pay a lease to New York..
Roy Fuchs, a Westport resident and SWRPA board member, asked Hritcko
how much money Broadwater expected to make by siting the plant on the
Sound. Hritcko said there were internal estimates, but they have not
been made public.
Broadwater will soon submit an application
for the plant to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will
hold public hearings on the proposal in the fall.
will need environmental approvals from New York, but Connecticut
agencies will have no oversight authority over the project.
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Published on 1/11/2007
Connecticut has made it resoundingly clear that even though the
proposed Broadwater liquefied natural gas terminal will be in New York
territorial waters, this state has both a large stake in the outcome of
the matter and serious questions about the proposal that require clear
answers from federal regulators.
The first public hearing on the LNG proposal Tuesday night in New
London amplified the state's firm and official position, which is that
the facility would pose a threat to the Sound and the environment
unwarranted by the need it would fulfill for energy. What adds to the
credibility of this case is that it arises from the elected government
of the state, not merely from environmental groups. And it is lodged by
some of the same officials who are keenly aware of the state's energy
problems and are working on public-policy solutions to them.
The state's vocal and at times theatrical opposition (Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal took a frigid dip in Long Island Sound this week to
protest the plan) has had an apparent impact. While Connecticut has had
no formal status in the deliberations over Broadwater's plan, a federal
official announced at the hearing that the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission will meet with a state task force that has been studying the
proposal and scientists who question the conclusions in FERC's draft
environmental impact statement.
Scientists consulted by the LNG task force set up by Gov. M. Jodi Rell
have challenged the scientific conclusions reached in the FERC report
that the operation would cause minimal damage to the environment. FERC
has an obligation to address these concerns and others raised by this
state, which along with New York, is a steward over this natural
Gov. Rell led off the salvos of opposition to the project in a
statement read into the record by her commissioner of Environmental
Protection, Gina McCarthy. The governor characterized the move as a
taking of public property, colorfully comparing what would take place
as akin to obtaining an easement to drive through someone's gardens or
to locating an industrial plant in the middle of a national park. The
testimony included a repetition of the point that the project would
result in the act of handing over property held in public trust to a
private industry. Broadwater is a consortium of energy companies led by
Shell Oil Co.
The governor demanded and the state is entitled to influence FERC's
decision. Connecticut and New York are jointly responsible under law
for protecting Long Island Sound, and collaborate in confronting
pollution and other threats to the well-being of the Sound. They
arguably get little help or encouragement from the federal government.
The state doesn't need to be reminded, as several supporters of the
project did for the audience Tuesday night, of the high cost of energy
in Connecticut and the need for inexpensive energy sources . Broadwater
has postulated its project will provide relief on these issues.
But Gov. Rell addressed that matter, as well, in a pointed attack on
the federal policy that is guiding these deliberations. Under federal
energy law, Washington has launched a veritable derby, as one critic
referred to it, of competition to build LNG facilities. The region may
need cheap natural gas, but not in the quantities proposed by energy
companies in the Northeast. Gov. Rell argued that the situation calls
for a more comprehensive regional or federal approach rather than
looking at “one impact act at a time” and leaving the results to market
“The market doesn't take environmental impact into consideration,” she
Compounding the problem with the Broadwater issue may be bad federal
policy. But FERC at least can mediate the issue fairly and responsibly
and this means answering the concerns that it heard in New London
Tuesday night and no doubt will hear repeated in the remaining hearings
in Connecticut and New York in the following weeks.
Up About Broadwater: The public
needs to be heard on whether liquefied natural gas project is worth the
disruption it will bring to Long Island Sound.
Published on 1/7/2007
Beginning Tuesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hear
comments from the public on the proposed Broadwater liquefied natural
gas project on Long Island Sound and the agency's assessment of its
environmental impact. The first hearing will be from 7 to 10 p.m. in
New London at Mitchell College's Clarke Auditorium. A second is
scheduled the following Tuesday in Branford.
This is an opportunity to be heard that the public must not squander.
For this industrial project will bring substantial changes to Long
Island Sound and the communities in New York and Connecticut that
border this precious and endangered body of water. The question before
the public has to do with whether it agrees with FERC's preliminary
assessment that the project's benefits in adding to the energy supply
in the region outweigh the damage the operation will cause to the
There is considerable concern in both states that the project will
cause more trouble than it is worth. Environmental organizations and
government officials in Connecticut, including state Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal, are among the opposition. And while Connecticut
enjoys only a marginal say in the outcome because the facility will be
located in New York waters, New York is also skeptical.
New York State has expressed its concern that the project may violate
the Long Island Sound Regional Coastal Management Program, which the
state is responsible for enforcing. New York said the project would
damage the character of the Sound and limit public access to it.
Broadwater, a consortium of energy companies, argues that the project
will add 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to the energy
supply, most of this going to New York. The added natural gas would
help lower the costs of electricity by supplying energy generation,
among other benefits, the advocates argue. FERC's draft environmental
impact statement contends that the project will fulfill a need while
having a minimal impact on the environment.
The extent of mitigation that would be required underscores the
concerns that exist in both states. The project would impose upon the
Sound off Branford a large industrial facility 28 stories high off its
waterline, 200 feet wide and 800 feet long on space that belongs to the
public. One issue before New York is whether it is willing to grant the
necessary easement to the private company.
The operation would entail large security zones around the facility and
along the routes of the 800-foot long tankers that would transport the
liquefied gas to the terminal, entering the Sound at The Race and
adding to the congestion of commercial vessels navigating the Sound.
Tankers would re-supply the facility two to three times a week.
The Federal Energy Act furnishes FERC with considerable power over the
states to make decisions of this magnitude regardless of how the states
feel. This authority does not preclude the public from weighing in on
this important matter. The draft report is available on the agency's
Web site. Read it, see whether you agree and then let FERC know.
Presumably the agency will listen.
Defining Decision for Long Island
Sound; Sides line up over propsed mid-Sound tanker terminal
By Judy Benson
Published on 1/7/2007
More than two years after the idea of parking a large fuel depot in the
middle of Long Island Sound first stirred strong reactions in the two
states that share the waterway, the proposal by Broadwater Energy has
reached an important juncture.
Until recently, the bureaucratic reviews of the $700 million project —
where as much as 8 billion cubic feet of liquid natural gas could be
held for transfer through a 22-mile underwater pipeline — has proceeded
at a methodical pace.
Now the approach has quickened, and a crucial decision by a federal
regulatory agency is just months away.
“We've put out an action alert to our members, and put announcements on
the radio, done a massive flier distribution and taken out full-page
ads,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of a group opposing
Broadwater, the 80,000-member Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
At 1 p.m. today, activists will be joined by Connecticut Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Joe Lieberman in an “Our Water, Not
BRRRroadwater Polar Plunge” at Branford Point Beach. The event,
organized by Save the Sound and the Connecticut Fund for the
Environment, is intended to bring attention to a series of meetings on
the project that begins this week.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that will decide
whether to grant Broadwater one of the key permits it needs, will host
four public meetings over the next two weeks. Specifically, FERC wants
comment on its draft report, released in November, about the likely
environmental impacts of the facility. That report said the project
would have few serious negative effects and could fill a need for
The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mitchell College in New
FERC will then move to Long Island for public meetings on Wednesday and
Thursday nights. The series will conclude back in Connecticut on Jan.
16 at Branford High School.
These meetings preface FERC's Jan. 23 deadline for comments from
citizens, environmental groups and government officials. After that,
the agency will produce a final environmental report, which should lead
to a decision within a few weeks, said Tamara Young-Allen, spokeswoman
for the agency.
The FERC decision is one of the major hurdles in the complex approval
process for Broadwater.
“We encourage participation,” Young-Allen said. “It's very helpful in
shaping the final EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). If you see a
gap in the draft, you need to let us know.”
The terminal in the Sound would be 80 feet high and 1,200 feet long —
the length of four football fields.
It would be supplied by tankers designed to carry natural gas from
overseas wells in a super-chilled, liquid state.
At the terminal, the fuel would be heated back into a gas and fed into
supply lines serving New York and Connecticut.
The proposed project comes as supplies of liquefied natural gas are
increasing along with worldwide demand. New regulatory rules and
federal policies in this country have encouraged an explosion of
proposals for new terminals.
“Generally,” said Young-Allen, “we believe the more natural gas the
better. And the safest and cheapest way to get it to customers is
Today there are five LNG terminals in the United States, and nearly 20
more have been approved for this country, Mexico and Canada. Another 20
proposals are pending, including Broadwater's, which is a new design
with a floating platform miles from the nearest shore.
The company has pinpointed a spot at the widest part of the Sound, 9
miles north of Long Island's Riverhead and 10 miles south of Branford
in Connecticut. Once operating, it could supply enough fuel to power up
to 4 million homes a year, according to Broadwater, which is a
partnership of Shell Oil and TransCanada Corp.
Broadwater would like to begin operations by 2010, said company
spokeswoman Amy Kelley.
The New York-Connecticut boundary line in the Sound runs just north of
the terminal location, so it would be just within New York waters. The
Coast Guard-mandated exclusion zone around the depot, however, would
extend into 40 acres of Connecticut waters.
“Broadwater is specifically designed for the needs of this region,”
Kelley said. “That's why we chose a floating facility away from people
and away from the sensitive coastal environment.”
Taking advantage of what may be the last opportunity to comment, said
Leah Schmaltz, who leads the anti-Broadwater campaign at Save the
Sound, “is very critical. This document will give the entire basis for
The document is likely to be considered by other agencies with
jurisdiction over other permits Broadwater needs. The report, by FERC
staff, concluded that any safety and security challenges posed by the
terminal and tankers traveling to and from the platform could be
Four scientists with expertise in various aspects of Long Island Sound
recently told a panel of Connecticut legislators that the draft report
fails scientific scrutiny for thoroughness and rigor.
One of the essential questions opponents have raised, said Blumenthal,
is “whose Sound is it, anyway?” Turning over a piece of the Sound to a
private corporation, the attorney general said, contradicts how most
people in both states view the waterway.
If FERC decides for Broadwater, Blumenthal said, he will take the case
to court. Meanwhile, he added, “I can't afford to give up on FERC.”
He plans to argue at the New London meeting that the project would be
too great a security risk.
At the public meetings, along with FERC, representatives of the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers will take comments. The corps will determine
whether to allow a 22-mile pipe entrenched in the sea floor that would
connect the terminal to an existing natural gas supply line.
The New York State Department of State will have representatives at the
two Long Island meetings.
That agency will decide if the industrial terminal is in keeping with
the Coastal Zone Management Act, a federal law designed to protect
waterways and shore areas.
Some opponents of Broadwater, including Esposito, at Citizens Campaign
for the Environment, and state Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, have all
but given up on FERC. They say the draft report sets the stage for a
Fasano said he is angry about FERC's dismissive attitude toward
Connecticut, noting he requested in early December for an extension of
the comment period but has not heard from the agency.
He and state Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, co-chair a special
panel set up by the governor on the Broadwater project.
“I'd love to believe FERC is open minded, and I'd love to believe FERC
is not going to be short-changing the process by coming in predisposed
to it,” he said.
Esposito and others say they are now encouraging opponents to try to
stop the project through the New York state agency, believing that is
their best chance. A recent letter from the N.Y. State Department of
State bolstered their hope.
On Dec. 20, the New York agency wrote to FERC about concern the
Broadwater proposal would “impair the character of the Sound and of its
traditional coastal communities” and would “limit public access to a
portion” of the Sound.
The letter further said it would “potentially displace, adversely
impact or interfere with water-dependent commercial and recreational
fisheries, navigation and general recreational uses.”
Contrary to arguments the project would harm the environment,
Broadwater says bringing in a new supply of the cleanest-burning fossil
fuel would be good for the environment.
The company estimates household utility bills would be $300 to $400
less a year with Broadwater than without. About three-quarters of
Broadwater's gas would be sent to New York markets and the rest would
go to Connecticut, according to the company.
As appealing as that sounds, opponents say better alternatives can be
“The main problem is the country's energy policy,” said Creig Peterson
of East Lyme, a retired science teacher who plans to attend the New
London meeting and write to FERC about the serious flaws he said he
found in its draft report.
“Whatever you do to make people more dependent on fossil fuels” only
delays the need to develop alternatives and reduce dependence on
foreign energy supplies, he said.
One supporter of the project is Bozrah First Selectman Keith Robbins,
who is also chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of
“We have an energy problem in New England, and we keep putting up
roadblocks in front of anything that might solve it,” he said. “I find
it interesting that some of the politicians who are rallying against
projects such as this in the next breath are rallying against high
energy costs. ...
“I would rather have that platform in Long Island Sound than have a
thousand more tankers on I-95.”
Chairman Won't Sit Out Gas Plan
Talks; Sees No Conflict Of Interest
March 15, 2006
Courant Staff Report
The chairman of the agency reviewing the Broadwater LNG proposal has
declined a request from lawmakers to step aside from the deliberations
because of his ties to a law firm representing the developer.
Joseph T. Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, said in a letter to the lawmakers Tuesday that his "paid
employment" for the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae
"lasted little more than two months," and that he left the firm in 2000.
He said the commission's ethics counsel advised him that there would be
no need to recuse himself from the Broadwater review.
LeBoeuf has been retained by Broadwater Energy to represent it before
the commission. U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer of New
York and U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, who represents the east end of Long
Island, wrote Kelliher last week asking him to step aside to avoid any
appearance of a conflict of interest.
Bishop said Tuesday he was disappointed by Kelliher's response. "I hope
that at the culmination of the FERC review, we can all agree that the
process was as free as possible of any potential conflict."
Broadwater wants to put an import terminal for liquefied natural gas in
the middle of Long Island Sound, in New York waters. The Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission is the chief agency reviewing the proposal, which
has generated furious opposition.
Kelliher, one of three members of the commission, has extensive
background in energy policy, both as a lobbyist and as an adviser to
Concerns Over Gas Terminal; State study questions need for
facility in Long Island Sound
By Associated Press & Stephen Singer
Published on 3/9/2006
Hartford — A plan for a floating natural gas terminal on Long Island
Sound fails to factor in costs to the public and has no identifiable
market, according to a commission appointed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to
study project's impact on Connecticut.
The Broadwater Energy terminal would require public expenditures for
security and other requirements, the panel said in an interim report.
The panel said there are numerous environmental concerns with the
project. It also criticized what it called the lack of a federal energy
policy that it says has led to corporations racing to capture a
monopoly in the deregulated energy market.
Amy Kelley, project adviser for Broadwater, disputed the report
“The market is here and we'll be providing energy,” Kelley said.
“Broadwater would not propose this project if it does believe there's a
Kelley said Broadwater and state officials have a “common goal of
finding a way to provide energy in a safe and environmentally sound
Broadwater Energy, a joint venture of TransCanada Corporation and Royal
Dutch/Shell Group, wants to build the $700 million floating terminal to
receive and pipe liquefied natural gas.
It is not clear how much influence Connecticut officials will have in
determining whether the plans will go forward, said Sen. Andrea
Stillman, co-chairwoman of the panel.
The terminal, which would be as long as four football fields, would be
in New York waters 11 miles from Branford, and will also require
“We believe we will have some say,” said Stillman, D-Waterford.
Several officials involved in the report oppose the project, but Sen.
Leonard Fasano, also a co-chairman of the panel, called it an
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a long-time critic of the
plan, said that the Broadwater plan is the “worst case and worst place.”
The report called for a review that “should be methodical and
meticulous. Every alternative should be examined, every safety issue
explored and every economic impact studied and analyzed.”
Rell said in a statement Wednesday she has “very serious concerns about
this project from a point of view of public safety, security, the
environment and the economy.”
Stillman and Fasano said key information about security, such as the
impact of increased Long Island Sound traffic on the submarine base in
Groton and the environmental impact of the 25-mile connecting pipeline
and trench to install it must be provided before final decisions are
State DEP Seeking A Role in
By Judy Benson
Published on 3/3/2006
The state Department of
Environmental Protection is seeking special status in deliberations of
federal authorities on whether to grant Broadwater Energy the permits
it needs to locate a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Long
Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced the
action Thursday, the same day the DEP, at her request, filed a petition
with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for intervener status in
the Broadwater decision. The DEP also requested that Broadwater be
reviewed for compliance with Connecticut's coastal management policies.
“I am committed to pursuing every
available opportunity for Connecticut to play a meaningful role in the
review of the Broadwater application,” Rell said in a news release,
adding that she has already gone on record as opposing the plan.
“The steps we are taking today will
help guarantee that Connecticut plays a legitimate role in the
decision-making and is not left on the sidelines,” she said. “The
issues already raised are critical to the future of Long Island Sound
and the well-being of our state.”
Under the federal Energy Policy Act
of 2005, FERC has final authority over permits for LNG facilities. Rell
noted, however, that states can have input on safety issues and provide
an advisory report to FERC.
The DEP is the second state agency
to request intervener status in the Broadwater decision. Last month,
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, also a Broadwater opponent, filed
a parallel request.
“The governor adds significant force
to our fight against Broadwater,” he said in a statement.
Environmental Report says
LNG Terminal in Sound 'unnecessary' -
Lawmakers Opposed To Project Say document Strengthens Their Position
By Judy Benson
Published on 3/3/2006
Broadwater Energy's plan to park a huge liquefied natural gas terminal
in Long Island Sound is not needed to fill the region's long- or
short-term energy needs, according to a report released Thursday by the
two environmental groups leading opposition to the project.
The report, commissioned by the Connecticut Fund for the
Environment-Save the Sound, one of the two groups, was prepared by
Synapse Energy Economics, a research and consulting firm based in
Cambridge, Mass., that specializes in energy, environmental and
economic policy. Joining CFE-Save the Sound in the presentation was the
Citizens Campaign for the Environment, based on Long Island.
“We can now say with certainty that Broadwater is unnecessary,” said
Leah Schmaltz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the
Sound. “As this report points out, even if we do nothing to invest in
efficiency or renewables, our needs will be met by new supplies before
Broadwater even finishes its full review process.”
The report was released at a Washington, D.C., news conference attended
by all seven members of Connecticut's congressional delegation, both
New York senators and two U.S. representatives from that state. Sen.
Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said the report lends important support to
arguments against the plan, now in the early stages of review by
“It's easy to say no,” Dodd said. “But we have some ideas (for
alternatives.) The report today shows that from a pure energy
standpoint, an LNG facility is not the best solution for our area.”
Other speakers, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Connecticut
Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.,
used the release of the report to reiterate their opposition to the
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign, said
the report clearly shows that Broadwater cannot justify a project that
would threaten a critical natural resource such as the Sound.
“Broadwater will not save us money,” she said. “Broadwater is not
needed. And Broadwater is not wanted.”
Broadwater is currently seeking permission from the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to place a floating terminal and storage barge
for liquefied natural gas in New York waters of the Sound, about 9
miles north of the Long Island town of Riverhead. It would be the first
offshore, floating LNG terminal. The liquefied gas would be revaporized
and stored on the terminal, and fed into a new 21-mile undersea
pipeline connected to an existing main pipeline that supplies the New
York City area.
It would add about 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to the
main pipeline. Officials at Broadwater, a partnership of Shell Oil and
TransCanada PipeLine, have said about one-quarter of the gas would
The plan has generated widespread opposition among state and local
officials, citizens and environmental groups in both states concerned
about placing a large industrial facility in the middle of the region's
most important waterway. Both the terminal and the ships that would
supply it with imported liquefied natural gas would be encircled by
safety and security quarantine zones set by the Coast Guard.
In its report, Synapse Energy concludes that the Broadwater project “is
not well suited to local or regional gas supply needs” and that its
main purpose may not be to supply the New York City area with natural
gas. Rather, the report states, “the Broadwater project is designed to
serve a much broader market, financially if not physically. The primary
attraction of locating an import terminal in Long Island Sound is not
that it addresses the supply requirements of the local market. It is
that by injecting gas in this downstream position, the facility would
have access to high-priced gas markets anywhere in the eastern United
In other words, the location is attractive because it is at a kind of
crossroads of the natural gas infrastructure.
There is no evidence, according to the report, that the region needs
its gas supply expanded at the level Broadwater is proposing,
especially in light of the impact on the “environmental, economic,
recreational and historic value of Long Island Sound.”
More economical alternatives exist to meet the region's needs that have
been well tested, according to the report. These include:
•Increasing on-shore storage facilities for LNG, which would be tapped
only during periods of peak energy demand. The stored gas, held in
large tanks, would be fed into existing gas lines as needed.
•Investing in energy conservation measures, increasing the amount of
energy generated by renewable sources, refitting gas-burning power
plants so they burn less fuel, and expanding the use of combined heat
and power technology that seeks to capture and channel heat lost in the
power-generation process. Projected increases in gas demand can be
reduced by as much as 75 percent, the report says, with these
•Tapping into the LNG supplies scheduled to come on line as soon as
2008 in eastern Canada. Two terminals and pipelines under construction
are intended to supply the Northeastern United States. The locations of
both pose fewer environmental threats than Broadwater, the report says,
and could yield lower-priced fuel because the cost of transporting LNG
to eastern Canadian ports is cheaper due to the shorter distance to LNG
supplies. Broadwater plans to have its terminal in operation by 2010.
Several other, more suitable LNG terminal plans also have been proposed
to serve the Northeast, the report notes.
It also questions whether increasing gas supplies with the Broadwater
project would result in lower costs to consumers. While new LNG
supplies are being developed, demand also is increasing worldwide, and
continuing price increases are likely. This region would be better
served if it does not become more dependent on these supplies, the
John Hritcko Jr., senior vice president of Broadwater, said that while
he agrees with some of the report, much of it is flawed. For example,
he said, the region's growing energy needs cannot be met by the kinds
of measures the report suggests. He agrees, however, that conservation,
increased use of renewable sources and other steps will be important,
but that these will not be enough to offset all the demand. The
increase that's needed, he said, is in base supplies as well as in
what's available when demand peaks in the winter months.
“Energy providers and planners have all been saying that the demand is
there,” he said. “It isn't just Broadwater. This region desperately
needs more gas supplies.”
In addition, Long Island Sound is the best location because it is
closer to population centers than eastern Canada. Hritcko said gas
prices would be cheaper coming from the Broadwater terminal than from
eastern Canada, the opposite of what the report concluded.
He added that completion of one of the two projects being built in
eastern Canada is uncertain. He also disputed the notion that
Broadwater's gas is really not intended specifically for the New
“Our gas will go to the region we've defined, and it will bring down
the price,” he said.
Most of the current supplies of LNG originate in Indonesia, Malaysia,
Australia, Brunei, Algeria, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, as well as
Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. New LNG sources in nations
such as Russia and Norway are expected to double worldwide supplies in
the next decade, Hritcko said.
“There's no question the supply's going to be there, and the supply
will more than match demand,” he said.
dismiss gas terminal design changes
By ROBERT KOCH, Hour Staff Writer
February 27, 2006
NORWALK — Opponents of Broadwater Energy's plan to build a floating
liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound praise the company
for listening to the public, but vow to continue fighting the project,
which last month went to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for
"I do credit them with sitting down with the public, but all the issues
remain the same. The environmental impact is going to be significant,"
said Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save
The Sound Program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, an
environmental advocacy group based in New Haven,
Broadwater Energy LLC, a joint venture between Shell Oil and
TransCanada Corp., last month submitted its application to the
regulatory commission for review. Environmental groups, lawmakers
and many Connecticut municipalities have labeled the project a threat
to the environment and public use of the sound.
Broadwater officials say the terminal will provide needed energy to a
large market cornered by high prices, operate cleanly and efficiently
and reduce the need for oil and coal-fired plants. And, they say
they've listened to the public.
"We've listened to many of their concerns and addressed those as best
we could. We actually moved the location one mile to the west — that is
a direct result of conversations with lobstermen," said John Hritcko
Jr., senior vice president regional project director for Broadwater.
"We changed the technology for warming the liquefied natural gas back
to gas. It actually lowers the profile 20 feet."
Broadwater's plan calls for a 1,200-foot 180-foot-wide floating
terminal in New York waters 11 miles off the coast of Branford. The
facility would receive natural gas shipments from ocean-going tankers,
about one vessel every three days, store the natural gas in a liquefied
state, then reheat and send it to shore via a pipeline that would
connect to the existing cross-Sound Iroquois pipeline.
Natural gas shipped into the terminal and piped onward would go largely
to repowered power plants — oil and coal-fired plants converted to run
modern gas-powered turbines — according to Broadwater. Broadwater
hopes to receive all necessary approvals by 2007 and have the estimated
$700-million facility up and running in late 2010.
Review agencies include the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S.
Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York
Department of State and New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and
Amy Kelley, project advisor with Broadwater Energy, said the technology
allowing the facility's profile to be lowered from 100 feet to 80 feet
will reduce emissions to the lowest possible level. Broadwater has
strengthened the terminal moorings to withstand a 10,000-year storm,
and shortened the connection pipe from 25 miles to 22 miles, she said.
Save The Sound Program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment remains
critical of the project.
"They're minimal changes. They always said their profile would be 75
feet to 100 feet," Schmalz said. "I can't think of any significant
changes, where they could maintain their profit margin and all the
issues we have could be fixed." Schmalz said Save The Sound is
mobilizing for public hearings, which she anticipates the regulatory
commission will hold this summer after reviewing the Broadwater
application and issuing a draft environmental impact statement.
Said Schmalz: "The only thing we've seen is that the opposition has
Broadwater and its detractors each maintain that they are winning
support in what has become a public relations battle over the proposed
terminal. Broadwater officials point to letters from hospitals,
school districts and groups concerned about rising energy costs. At the
very least, those groups are urging a fair and impartial review of the
project, they say.
"We've had a lot of letters filed to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission by various groups saying, 'We need projects like this. We're
dying from high-energy bills,'" Kelley said.
Consumer Power Advocates — whose member institutions include Columbia
University and Mount Sinai Medical Center — has endorsed the project.
"CPA believes that the Broadwater Liquefied Natural Gas project would
provide a much needed new source of natural gas supply and will also
improve air quality in the region," wrote CPA Executive Director
Catherine M. Luthin. "On behalf of our CPA members institutions, I urge
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give the Broadwater LNG
Project its full consideration."
A resolution passed by the New York City Council last December asks the
public, and federal and state agencies to provide all natural gas
supply projects, "including the proposed Broadwater Energy Project, a
fair and full review."
At the same time, the list of Broadwater opponents continues to grow.
Norwalk is among 40 Connecticut municipalities to have sponsored
resolutions opposing Broadwater, according to Sound Alliance No! To
Broadwater, a coalition of organizations, elected officials and
individuals against the project. In addition, Sound Alliance has
enlisted 50-plus organizations, including Audubon societies and many
yacht clubs that oppose the proposed terminal.
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., last week announced his
opposition. While Lieberman said he remains concerned about how to
bring down energy prices for Connecticut residents, he also labeled
Broadwater a unacceptable trade-off between environmental protection
and economic health.
"Approval of the facility would remove forever a portion of the Sound
from the public trust for commercial use, and its operations would
impact the commercial and recreational uses already provided by the
Sound," Lieberman said. "I simply cannot support this project."
A group of New England lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Christopher
Shays, R-4, last week called for a new regional approach to siting
liquefied natural gas facilities and urged federal regulators to adopt
a "rational process" for approving new projects.
The congressmen said the current project-by-project review of proposed
liquefied natural gas facilities by federal regulators is not good for
"We believe that this ad-hoc approach is unsuitable for New England and
that a more comprehensive and regional approach is required," wrote the
lawmakers in a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.
Lieberman was not part of the group that sent the letter, but said he
supports the concept. Shays last August took aim at the $12.3 billion
federal energy bill, which he said would give Connecticut and New York
no say in Broadwater project.
Federal LNG Siting Authority Seen As
Liability Of Energy Bill
By LOLITA C. BALDOR & ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published on 7/30/2005
— New England lawmakers said Friday they voted against the wide-ranging
energy bill passed by the House and Senate in part because it will give
federal regulators the power to site liquefied natural gas facilities.
Chafee, R-R.I., and Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., were
among just six Senate and 31 House Republicans to vote against the bill
— which was a key priority for the GOP administration.
they split from their party on the bill for a number of
reasons. The LNG provision alone, said Shays, was a good enough reason
to vote no.
said that he had several major problems with the bill,
including its failure to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil,
increase fuel economy for vehicles and expand support for alternative
energies. Expanding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's
authority over LNG plants, he said, was another significant issue.
that it may seem contradictory for lawmakers to complain that
the bill doesn't do enough to promote alternative fuels, and yet
opposed the LNG provision, but Congress members said they oppose the
idea of taking away state authority in the LNG sitings.
facilities have been proposed in Connecticut, Massachusetts and
Rhode Island. The Federal Regulatory Commission, which under the bill
has the authority to approve LNG facilities over the objections of
state officials, has approved the Weaver's Cove Energy project for Fall
River, Mass. But it rejected the KeySpan LNG proposal to convert its
existing LNG storage tank in Providence, R.I., into an import terminal,
citing safety concerns.
terminal is being proposed for Long Island Sound between
Connecticut and New York by Broadwater Energy. It would be located
about 11 miles off Connecticut's coast and would be about four football
bill has many shortcomings, but the LNG provision that
strips states from making decisions based on the safety of its citizens
is an outrage,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. “This provision
protects only the gas companies and not the citizens of the United
officials have said they needed Congress to affirm FERC's
authority over LNG plants in order to help meet the nation's growing
Lieberman, D-Conn., was the only senator in southern New
England to vote for the bill. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said that
despite the administration's rhetoric about reducing the country's
dependence on foreign oil, the bill does little to get that
we getting the message and getting behind these alternative fuels,”
officials have expressed relief that the Providence
proposal was rejected, but they also oppose the Fall River plan because
it would require ships to pass up through Narragansett Bay to the
officials have said they will go to court and do everything possible to
stop the Fall River project.
FERC Approves Fall River
LNG Facility, Rejects One In Providence
New London DAY
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Published on 7/1/2005
— Saying they tried to
balance New England's energy needs with public safety concerns, federal
regulators Thursday approved plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal
in Fall River, Mass., but rejected a proposed expansion of an LNG
was the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission's first rejection of a new LNG facility; seven others have
approved since 2003.
commission approved the $250
million Weaver's Cove project for Fall River by a 3-1 vote.
said the project met safety standards, though residents and government
officials have protested it would put the community at risk.
Suedeen Kelly, the lone
dissenter, said the project would damage the environment and aquatic
in the river, and that tanker traffic along the narrow Taunton River
raise safety concerns and disrupt the community.
River mayor Edward Lambert and
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., who watched the vote, vowed to do
is necessary to defeat the proposal, including suing in federal court.
Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly said officials are asking
FERC to reconsider its decision.
kill this project with a thousand
paper cuts,” said Lambert. “We'll use every avenue, legal, political,
relations and regulatory.” Commission chairman Pat Wood said he
the vote would not be popular, but said the terminal would help meet
England's serious energy needs.
are looking at the long range
economic health of the oldest region in our country,” he said. Wood
that the commission needs to better educate the public on the benefits
of LNG and FERC's role in the approval process.
of Massachusetts' congressional
delegation, along with lawmakers from Rhode Island, all said they plan
to fight the Weaver's Cove decision, saying the terminal is an
target for terrorists and will put residents in both states at
Gordon Shearer, chief executive officer of Weaver's Cove Energy, said
company is prepared for a legal battle.
don't expect this to come quickly,
but we're well down the road,” he said. “We would not have gone as far
as we have, if we were not comfortable that we would be able to comply
with the permits.”
commission voted 4-0 to reject
the KeySpan LNG proposal in Providence, saying the project didn't meet
safety standards. Commissioners said that converting the existing LNG
tank on the Providence waterfront into an import terminal would require
KeySpan to bring the facility up to current safety standards.
England does need additional
LNG import capacity,” said FERC commissioner Joseph Kelliher. “This
demonstrates that the commission does apply high safety
The company has said it would cost more than $35 million and would
officials to take the tank out of service for two to three
KeySpan executive vice president David Manning said the company is
by the vote, and will consider its options after reading the full FERC
significant issue, he said, will
be FERC's conclusion that the project is a new terminal that must be
up to current code, rather than an existing facility that meets
standards and would not need costly safety upgrades. Sen. Jack
D-R.I., said FERC accurately found that the KeySpan plan did not
balance the region's energy needs with the safety of citizens.
Island Gov. Don Carcieri said
he was pleased by the KeySpan rejection, but said the approval of the
River terminal was a setback. To reach a Fall River terminal, a 73-acre
former Shell Oil site along the Taunton River, the LNG tankers must
26 miles in mostly Rhode Island waters.
remain deeply concerned about
the dangers of transporting large quantities of LNG through
Bay,” Carcieri said. Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch
said the Fall River vote “puts a kill zone in the heart of a densely
New England city.”
is natural gas supercooled until
it turns to liquid so it can be shipped. If released, it becomes a
odorless vapor that can catch fire and explode in a confined
Residents and community leaders in both cities have vigorously battled
the projects, arguing they don't belong in such densely populated
They also argue the ships carrying the LNG will create a safety hazards
as they pass local communities.
two New England proposals are
among about 40 LNG proposals nationwide being discussed or reviewed by
the commission. There are currently four onshore LNG terminals in the
Federal regulators poised
to vote on New England LNG projects
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated
Jun 30, 1:20 AM EDT
(AP) -- As a storm continues
to brew over states' rights to site liquefied natural gas projects,
regulators Thursday will vote on two LNG proposals that could feed New
England's growing need for energy sources.
proposals for a $250 million
LNG terminal in Fall River, Mass., and the $100 million expansion of a
facility in Providence, R.I., have triggered heated opposition in the
communities and calls for more state power to veto such projects.
Cove Energy would build
a ship unloading berth, storage tank and two pipelines on the
in Fall River. And KeySpan LNG would build a marine dock at its
terminal to accept LNG delivers and add a direct connection to the
Gas Transmission system.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
votes will come just two days after the Senate approved a far-reaching
energy bill that endorsed FERC's authority to decide where LNG
can be located.
officials are braced
for FERC to approve the Weaver's Cove proposal and are already
legal arguments for a federal court appeal.
colleagues and I, together with
the Fall River community, continue to believe that this project
puts residents at great personal risk and opens up our coastline to
attack," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Island lawmakers, however,
are pinning their hopes on comments by FERC commissioners suggesting
KeySpan LNG would have to bring its existing facility up to current
standards before the expansion could go forward.
gave both projects generally
positive environmental reviews.
Cove spokesman Jim Grasso
said Wednesday that the company is encouraged by FERC's positive
but he said there are many other required permits if FERC approves the
project. The company has already applied for a U.S. Army Corps of
permit to dredge about 20 miles of the federal channel up through
Bay, at a cost of $50 million, he said.
final review of KeySpan raised
concerns, saying the company has not shown that the terminal could be
into compliance with current safety standards and that would be
in the final decision.
spokeswoman Carmen Fields
said the company believes the terminal meets all applicable safety
"and our additional proposals were enhancements to an already safe and
meet current standards, KeySpan
would have to spend millions to buy surrounding property for a buffer
and take its LNG tank off-line for three years for construction.
officials and community
leaders from Fall River and Providence have fought the projects every
of the way saying they don't belong in such densely populated
and that they will create safety hazards as the ships carrying the LNG
travel up the bay and under highway bridges.
question to FERC Chairman Pat
Wood, is how many and which Americans are expendable?" said Fall River
Mayor Edward Lambert Jr.
IS THE STATE'S RIGHTS
QUESTION A POLITICAL CONUNDRUM?
CFE Activist Alert ******
SOUND NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT...and it got it...as well as the bill - BUT,
story is not over 'til the bigpower brokers sing (i.e.
With less than
three weeks to go in the 2005 session of the Connecticut General
many important pieces of legislation must still be voted on.
bill affecting the future of the Long Island Sound has just passed the
state Senate and will be voted on by the Connecticut House of
in the next few days!
637 An Act Concerning a Bi-State Long Island Sound Committee" will help
usher in a new era of New York and Connecticut partnership, ensuring
both states work together on Sound-wise initiatives to provide for
enjoyment and protection of the natural resources of Long Island Sound.
This bill is
critically important in ensuring our elected officials in Connecticut
New York focus their legislative energy on timely issues needed to
protect and enhance the Sound's habitats, waters, and fisheries.
The rapid growth
of population and industry around Long Island Sound requires all of us
to work together NOW to guarantee the long-term restoration and
of Long Island Sound - one of the most beautiful and important bodies
water in the United States and a vital
part of our
THE HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES TODAY. ASK
TO SUPPORT SB 637 - THE BI-STATE LONG ISLAND SOUND COMMITTEE BILL.
Island Sound is our REGIONAL TREASURE.
TODAY to protect its future!
- and -
here to contact your state legislator and the leadership of the House
and Republican caucuses.
toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
U.S. LNG imports jump
29% in 2004
By Stephanie I. Cohen, MarketWatch
Last Update: 5:59 PM ET April 15,
(MarketWatch) -- Imports
of liquefied natural gas into the United States jumped 29% in 2004 and
helped meet soaring demand for natural gas, the U.S. Energy Department
of the fuel increased to
a record 652 billion cubic feet from 507 billion cubic feet in the
year, according to a report from the Energy Department's Office of
Energy. Although these imports accounted for just 3% of total
natural-gas demand in 2004, the Energy Department anticipates continued
growth will have imports meeting 20% of demand by 2020.
natural gas is formed when
natural gas is cooled to -260 degrees Fahrenheit, a process that
its volume by more than 600 times and makes it easier to transport in
around the world. In 2004, five companies imported 244 cargos of
liquefied natural gas into the United States, including BG Group, BP
Distrigas, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Statoil, the Energy Department
a third of all liquefied
natural gas entering the United States came through Dominion Resources'
Cove Point receiving terminal on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore.
also arrived at three other receiving terminals located in Georgia,
and Massachusetts. About two dozen new terminals have been
for the United States, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory
71% of total imports came
from Trinidad. The United States imported smaller quantities of
natural gas from Algeria, Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Tobago, Oman
LNG firm to pursue offshore Fall River
By Andrew Miga
Published on 7/18/2008
Washington - The company hoping to build an LNG terminal in Fall River,
Mass., said Thursday it is focusing on an alternate plan for an
offshore berth in Mount Hope Bay to receive tanker deliveries.
The original proposal from Weaver's Cove Energy depended on tankers
traveling up the Taunton River to Fall River.
Critics, including Fall River officials and members of the state's
congressional delegation, worked to block the original proposal, saying
it poses unacceptable risks to the heavily populated area. That plan
also was opposed by officials in nearby Rhode Island.
The Weaver's Cove announcement came one day after the House voted to
extend federal “wild and scenic” environmental protection to the
Taunton River, dealing a setback to the company's plan for an LNG
terminal on an urbanized stretch of riverbank in Fall River. The
Massachusetts congressional delegation was behind the bill.
Under the new plan, tankers would unload LNG offshore into a four-mile
underwater pipeline to Fall River. Company officials said the proposed
offshore berth would be located about one mile from the nearest
shoreline and two miles south of the Braga Bridge.
”This new proposal would not require LNG ship traffic within the
confines of the Taunton River and would address concerns previously
expressed by the community and the U.S. Coast Guard,” Weaver's Cove
officials said in a statement. “It would also greatly decrease dredging
within the Taunton River.”
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., said he has concerns about safety risks
posed by the latest proposal. He said it was misleading for Weaver's
Cove to characterize it as an “offshore” proposal.
”Mount Hope Bay is not the Gulf of Mexico,” McGovern said in a
statement. “It's a crowded waterway, and LNG tankers would continue to
pose a significant hazard to commercial and recreational boat traffic.
But the most important point is this they still want the storage
tankers on land in Fall River, a stone's throw away from residential
-- April 1, 2005
Pipelines wants to build a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in
Bay. The terminal would transfer super-cooled LNG from tankers to a
facility. Then it could be transported in pipelines to customers and
formed a partnership with Conoco Phillips to build a $350 million
at a former U.S. Navy fuel depot in Harpswell. But town residents
the proposal in a March 9 referendum.
After the rejection
in Harpswell, TransCanada resumed its search for a site. One
is Hope Island - the 89-acre island owned by the New York developer
Cacoulidis in the middle of Casco Bay. The town of Cumberland would
to change zoning for the island to allow an industrial facility.
considered is Cousins Island. TransCanada has had preliminary
with Yarmouth officials about building the facility next to Wyman
an oil-burning power plant. There has been no permit request - just
the island is on the list of possible sites.
- farther up the coast - was discussed briefly. But neither its
nor an energy company seem seriously interested in the location.
LNG is shipped
in tankers that keep it cooled to -256 degrees Farenheit. At that
it is in a liquid state. Its volume is reduced 600 times and more
transported by ship as a liquid. The terminal being proposed would
the LNG to its gaseous state. Then it is pumped into the pipeline
as natural gas. (More information about the process)
say LNG is a relatively clean source of energy. Such a facility could
millions more in tax revenue and addtional economic benefits for its
community. But opponents cite concerns about safety, environmental
and disruptions to fishing vessels in the area. Proponents cited tax
for the town, job creation and a source of clean energy.
to local approval, such a facility would need to reviewed by the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Marine
Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard, which send their recommendations to
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC maintains that the
government has sole jurisdiction over the siting and construction of
natural gas terminals. This approval process could take three years.
island is in the town of Cumberland and owned by the New York developer
John Cacoulidis. It sits between Chebeague and Cliff islands. The town
would have to rezone the island from residential to industrial. (More
island off of Yarmouth already is home to Wyman Station - an
power plant. The LNG terminal could be placed near the plant. The water
around Cousins Island is shallower than the ideal, but the island has a
large industrial zone and is close to the mainland. (More info)
On March 9,
Harpswell residents rejected a lease agreement for an LNG terminal
Fairwinds. Harpswell would have received lease fees and tax revenue for
letting TransCanada and its corporate partner, ConocoPhillips, develop
70 acres of town-owned land.
Same characters, different place
(we have L.I. Sound as potential victim)
LNG issue far more than just
tankers; The real problem is that reserves get smaller rather
larger, so what's the long-range plan?
last year's debate about a
possible liquified natural gas terminal near Searsport, summer resident
and investment banker Matthew Simmons expressed his concern this way:
to even think about sending
one of those (tankers) up to the top of Penobscot Bay. That should be
last, last thing we do before we just, y'know, dismantle our economy."
from a man who has spent his
life studying energy and who has visited the facility in Qatar where
apparently the vote by Perry residents
to keep such tankers out of Passamaquoddy Bay was a wise thing to do.
it only dodges the real issue,
one that, as far as I know, has never been addressed by this newspaper:
the depletion of fossil fuels in North America and, indeed, the world.
very fact that we debate whether
to send aircraft-carrier-sized vessels filled with methane into our
treasured areas is a testament to the crisis we refuse to face.
geologist Jean Laherrere says
in a paper for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, "The
fact that . . . natural gas discoveries peaked in the '70s is for the
a well hidden secret."
he says, is "devastating for
(the United States)," because production necessarily tracks discovery:
you can only extract gas that you have found.
follows, as discoveries decline,
so does extraction. And indeed, natural gas production has been flat
years in both the United States and Canada, even as demand skyrockets.
hundreds of gas-fired generation
facilities are being built across the country. We currently depend on
for 50 percent of our electricity generation, as well as for 50 percent
of our home heating.
molecules are the "feedstocks"
for the production of agricultural fertilizers, plastics and industrial
chemicals. But as Simmons says, "Sixty-five percent of the world's gas
supply . . . is now in decline."
oil, 99 percent of our gas
comes from North America. Gas from abroad is not easy to get as it
ship well. Oil can be poured into tankers and offloaded into pipelines.
Gas must be frozen and pressurized, then carefully thawed and
at the terminal.
with gas in the Western Hemisphere
in terminal decline, there is no place else to get it but from places
Qatar. Problem is, everyone else wants it, too.
symptom of gas scarcity is cost:
"The wellhead price of natural gas skyrocketed 400 percent" since 2000,
according to Randy Udall of the Community Office of Resource Efficiency
in Colorado. This happens even as we spud more wells, because 17 must
drilled each day just to keep supply flat.
America has not run out of
natural gas," Simmons reminds us. "What we are short of is any way to
our energy supply."
is bound by NAFTA to sell
us their gas, even as their production goes flat and their consumption
rises, just like the United States. Problems will arise when they need
to burn their gas more than they need to ship it to us - it's much
we only import 15 percent of
our gas from Canada. The problem is, this represents over 50 percent of
we pull our heads out of the
sand and learn to use less gas, we can count on the future bringing
of what we've seen in the past: vast blackouts, fertilizer plant
and higher prices - for everything, not just gas.
that, or we float bombs up
and down the Maine coast.
About the Author
Michael Bendzela of Standish,
an adjunct professor of English at the University of Southern Maine,
oil and gas depletion as a hobby.
Opposition to LNG facility
By CHRIS BOSAK,
Norwalk HOUR, 3/14/05
Many are vehemently opposed and outspoken about it. Many others simply
want more information before taking a stand.
It's the proposed
LNG (liquified natural gas) floating facility that would be located in
Long Island Sound about 11 miles off the coast of New York and nine
off the coast of Connecticut, just east of New Haven.
It would resemble
a large ship permanentely situated on the Sound. The facility has been
proposed by Broadwater Energy, a joint venture between TransCanada
and Shell. For those already opposed, a meeting was held recently at
officials from both states voiced their concerns.
"I have long
opposed ill-conceived and poorly planned energy projects that threaten
our natural resources and public trust lands," state Attorney General
Blumental said in a statement read at the meeting.
is another sad chapter in the ongoing saga of energy industry projects
that put profits ahead of our environment and public interest." For
who need additional information, a briefing will be held Wednesday,
23 as part of the Connecticut Maritime Association's SHIPPING 2005.
officials and others will join LNG experts in an informational meeting
at the Westin in Stamford. State Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, of Norwalk often
takes sides with the environment, but like others, he wants to get all
of the facts.
"It's a massive
application for Long Island Sound," he said. "Anytime that type of use
is proposed for recreation and small-use water, it's definitely going
raise concerns. The state and federal governments have spent millions
dollars getting the Sound to where it should be." That the facility was
proposed for New York waters was no accident, added Duff.
"It was proposed
for that side of the state line for a specific reason," he said. "They
knew that if they put it in Connecticut, it would be more difficult to
get it in. I think they are a little shocked by the opposition in New
lot of opposition, but a lot of people just don't understand it yet,"
said. "If we determine that it's not in the best interest of us in the
region, we have to mobilize against it." People oppose the facility for
a variety of reasons, including safety concerns and the asthetic beauty
of the Sound. The Broadwater Web site addresses some of the concerns.
security are among the most vital elements of our entire project," the
site states. "An unsafe facility is not a viable project for us or the
residents of the region."
U.S. Rep. Chris
Shays, R-4, is far from a supporter of the project, but he realizes
southwest Connecticut's energy sources must come from somewhere. "We
reject every idea that comes along," he said last week during a visit
"We have less
refineries than 20 years ago. There needs to be a meaningful debate
briefing on March 23 will shed light on some of the questions.
to the Connecticut Maritime Association, the briefing will focus on the
operation, engineering, safety and commercial aspects of liquified
question and answer session will be monitored by Warren Bluestein,
of BGT of Stamford. BGT moves LNG from Indonesia to Tokyo, a project
has been going on for nearly 25 years.
of the Broadwater Web site welcomes public opinion. It claims that a
determined that 73 percent of registered New York voters wanted to know
more about the project before formulating an opinion. According to the
Web site, "By 2010 Broadwater could be safely and reliably delivering a
large new supply of clean-burning natural gas to homes, businesses and
power generation plant. Your input will help Broadwater build a project
compatible with the public interests in the region."
Some have formulated
their opinions already. "The Long Island Sound is a priceless natural
shared by the people of both Connecticut and New York, and we must
be mindful of our mutual responsibility as stewards of this
treasure," State Sen. John McKinney, R-Southport, said during the
with officials from both states.
this threatens the Sound's ecosystem by the damage it will inflict to
seabed, along with the continual danger of pool fires and vapor clouds.
That is why selling off part of the Sound to private industry for these
kinds of projects is not responsible stewardship -- it is shortsighted
and should be vigorously opposed."
Public voices concern over
Mark Zaretsky, NHRegister Staff
HAVEN — The company that wants
to put a $700 million liquefied natural gas plant the size of the Queen
Mary II in the middle of Long Island Sound took its plan before the
for the first time Monday, but not before an array of environmentalists
and public officials raised questions.
events took place in the Omni
New Haven Hotel at Yale.
coalition led by state Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and environmental
groups held a press conference preceding Broadwater Energy’s first
house" information session on the project.
officials, led by project
director John Hritchko Jr., listened to concerns expressed in the hotel
lobby, then went upstairs to address, on a one-to-one basis, questions
or concerns the public might want to voice about the project.
share their concerns" about things
like safety and the environment, Hritchko said. But he said the
nine miles off Long Island and 10 miles from the nearest point in
would be safe and that a study for a similar project recommends a
zone of 1.6 to 2.4 miles.
LNG facility ever has been built
in the middle of the water, although similar facilities have been
off Santa Barbara, Calif., and China.
are four on-shore facilities
in the U.S. that turn liquefied natural gas back into its gaseous form,
as Broadwater would do.
source of concern was that while
the floating platform would be built 11 miles south of Branford Harbor
and, according to Save the Sound environmental group, 10.5 miles from
Haven’s town beach, it would be in New York State waters and would have
no Connecticut regulatory review.
Crismale of Guilford, president
of the Connecticut Commercial Lobersterman’s Association, and his
in Branford River Lobster, Michael Guarniere, were more concerned about
their lobster pots.
been there for 32 years," Crismale
said. "Where am I going to put them?"
said he fears Long Island
Sound "is in danger of becoming a dumping ground."
who spoke made clear that
they oppose the project, a joint venture between TransCanada Corp. of
and Shell U.S. Gas & Power, a subsidiary of the Dutch energy
Blumenthal and DeStefano stopped
short of that.
Blumenthal said when asked
if he was coming out against the project. "We are saying at this point
we have more questions than answers" concerning everything from the
proposed technology to the 25-mile underwater pipeline that would
it to the Iroquois pipeline off Milford to what security measures might
be in place.
said he "genuinely would
be willing to look at anything," but that, given the state’s lack of a
coherent energy policy he believed there was an "air of inevitability"
that ultimately all in Connecticut might end up fighting it.
Bill On Sound Dies In
By DAVID LIGHTMAN,
Washington Bureau Chief
-- It looked so easy. The Connecticut delegation's effort to provide
new protection for Long Island Sound zoomed through the Senate, and
had hopes of slipping it through the House.
Then Rep. Richard
Pombo got a look.
It was over
in an instant. The California Republican stopped the bill cold and
its chances of approval this year because, said his spokesman Brian
"The congressman does not rubber stamp anything as significant as this."
and bill supporters saw other motives. They see the bill's demise as a
result of a trend of increased clout on environmental issues for
often Western, lawmakers who are skeptical and even fearful of
control of their land and their lives. Their clout comes at the expense
of power wielded by Connecticut and other like-minded members of
from the Northeast.
is a guy who's really frightened by what most people consider to be
conservation practices," said Betsy Loyless, vice president for policy
at the League of Conservation Voters.
Shays, R-4th District, saw another motive. "He thinks it's another
of Easterners telling Westerners what we want to do with property owned
by the American people," Shays said.
congressional delegation will revive the bill next session, and hope
effort will get it enacted.
get back on track," said Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District. "It's
going to take awhile longer."
But there are
no guarantees - in fact, there's plenty of pessimism - because Pombo,
of the House Resources Committee, has a lot of serious questions about
the legislation, including a projected price tag that could reach
of millions of dollars.
the process is the shift in congressional power to the South and West,
as well as to more conservative Republicans.
The death of
the bill this year is a big blow because it was a top 2004 priority for
the New York and Connecticut delegations.
They used almost
every howitzer in their arsenal to win passage. Sen. Joseph I.
D-Conn., got the Senate to act by holding up a powerful Republican's
House members tried a maneuver of their own to avoid bringing the
before Pombo's committee, dominated by Westerners.
Pombo is "likely"
to bring the bill back next year, said Kennedy, with possible hearings
in Connecticut and in Washington. If witnesses and lawmakers can make
case before his committee, he said, the bill has a shot.
But it's probably
a long shot. There are currently no Connecticut or New York members on
the 52-member panel.
The top Democrat
is from West Virginia, and the subcommittee chairmen, all Republican,
from California, Wyoming, Oregon and Maryland.
Pombo is a
northern California rancher, with a history of questioning what he sees
as too much government intrusion into private property rights. He is
a protege of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, heading a committee
has a strong influence on forest, energy, parks and other environmental
Pombo has long
been viewed with suspicion by the environmental community. Loyless
him "the darling of the private property rights movement," and her
of Conservation Voters' 2003 score for Pombo was 5 out of 100.
drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and has spent years
to rewrite the Endangered Species Act to make it less harsh on private
interests - something that is expected to be a second-term priority of
President Bush's administration.
And when Pombo
sees Eastern lawmakers trying to rush - let alone sneak - through what
they view as an important Long Island Sound reform, it's no shock when
the one on Long Island Sound can set precedents," Kennedy said, anytime
the government wants to dictate to landowners.
Pombo has often
cited instances where environmental regulations have had the potential
to create problems for private interests.
When his committee
considered the Missouri River Breaks National Monument, for instance,
was leery that protecting the acreage would hurt private landowners -
though their land was not included as part of the monument area.
going to be a renewed battle in 2005 is a clear disappointment to the
delegation, which had seemed so close and so clever this year in
the Long Island Stewardship Act, a broad program to preserve open space
and give the public more opportunity to use the Sound and its adjacent
It would set
up a special panel to advise the Environmental Protection Agency.
and private "stakeholders" would be involved, and they would help
important ecological lands and the best ways for the public to enjoy
aware of the concerns of Pombo and like-minded members of Congress, had
a special section written explaining in detail how the program was
If anyone wanted
to have his land involved - perhaps by selling it or having it
from development - they could seek money from a special fund. The act
have authorized $25 million a year for this fund for the next seven
It also would have authorized another $40 million a year for other
first hurdle this year was the Senate, where James Inhofe, R-Okla.,
of the Environment and Public Works Committee, was not enthusiastic.
though, used his power as a senator to put a "hold," or indefinite
on a favorite Inhofe water resources bill. Move my Long Island measure
smoothly, Lieberman signaled, and I'll let your bill go.
and the Long Island measure sailed through the Senate in October with
had hoped to use their tactic, and angled to get the bill taken up
a special procedure used for non-controversial legislation such as
are dubbed "suspensions," and are usually considered in bunches with
debate. They bypass the usual committee hearings, and require a
House vote for passage.
the tactic was considered because "it was in his [Pombo's] committee,
he didn't do anything."
about the effort and blocked it. "Because this bill is so expensive,
covers an area that involves state, local and federal rules and
the chairman felt it would be impossible to green-light the bill,"
a House version of the bill had been around since July, thus providing
time for hearings and study, Kennedy said Long Island Sound was not a
priority for Pombo, who was trying to fashion a major energy bill.
wanted to make sure no property rights were being compromised, and he
the cost seemed high.
Kennedy said, "is something that raises eyebrows right away."
So now the
Long Island Sound project faces an indefinite delay - and its chances
have even been hurt by the local lawmakers' effort to rush the bill
"I don't know
if what they did hurts," Kennedy said, "but it doesn't help."
Energy Proposal Raises
Alarms; Coalition Fighting L.I. Sound Project
December 5, 2004
By WILLIAM WEIR, Courant Staff Writer
has been growing steadily
in the weeks since the announcement of a plan to build a liquefied
gas terminal - 1,200 feet long and up to 100 feet high - that would
11 miles off the Branford shore.
just don't understand where these
companies get the idea that the Sound is for sale," said Barbara
president of the Connecticut Seafood Council. "It's a monstrosity. Next
they'll be renting out condos in the middle of the Sound."
recently helped form the Long
Island Sound Action Coalition, a group of environmentalists, fishermen
and residents, to fight the project proposed by Broadwater Energy, a
venture of TransCanada Corp. and the Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
Broadwater Energy officials say
the public still has much to learn about the project and the company
hold two informational meetings on the project this week. The meetings
are open to the public and will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and 5
8 p.m. Tuesday at the Omni Hotel in New Haven.
proposal is the latest example
of the tricky balancing act between serving the needs of an
region and addressing environmental concerns. Environmentalists are
smarting from the 2002 installation of the Cross Sound cable that runs
from New Haven to Long Island and continue to fight the pending
East plan for a 22.6-mile natural gas pipeline under Long Island Sound.
After Broadwater Energy's plan was introduced last month, Attorney
Richard Blumenthal declared Long Island Sound "a dumping ground for
easier storage and transport,
the natural gas is liquefied by being cooled to minus 260 degrees
Later, it is warmed up at the terminal and returned to gaseous form. As
planned by Broadwater Energy, the $700 million terminal would use a
pipeline to bring the gas to the existing Iroquois Natural Gas pipeline.
natural gas, or LNG, has
become an increasingly popular option. There are nine other LNG
throughout New England and New York.
Energy officials say the
facility would resemble a large ship and supply 1 billion cubic feet of
natural gas a day - enough to supply energy for 4 million homes. It
be ready for use in 2010.
the terminal would be in
New York waters, Connecticut will have little input in the regulatory
which is in its early stages at the New York state and federal levels.
But Blumenthal said he and other Connecticut state officials will
watch the process and continue to ask questions.
say the project is unprecedented
and Broadwater Energy has provided little information regarding the
potential environmental impact and what safety precautions would be in
place. Leah Lopez of Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund
for the Environment, said the company has yet to address the
of an explosion, let alone what visual and noise impacts it would have
on the area.
say they will wait and see.
Though she said she's "very concerned" about the proposal, Branford
Kiki Kennedy said she is keeping an open mind. She will go to the
meetings this week and "continue to gather information with scientists
and other environmentalists."
very concerned that this could
be the first part of the industrialization of the Sound," said Kennedy,
a member of Stop the Pipeline, a group that formed in opposition to the
Islander East gas pipeline plan.
there are four other LNG facilities
in the United States - in Boston, Maryland, Georgia and Louisiana -
said she fears Long Island Sound will be a guinea pig for the first
John Hritcko, spokesman for Broadwater
Energy, said the technology plan's main components have been used
in current offshore and onshore operations.
of this is existing technology,
so there's nothing new in terms of concept - it just hasn't been done
the LNG side," he said.
also said the distance between
the facility and any populated areas is so great that there are no
to communities on the shore. And the design of the floating facility
minimize contact with the sea floor and avoid impact on the near-shore
liquefied natural gas is used
in numerous locations, Hritcko said, very little is known about the
That's the purpose of this week's informational meetings. It is still
in the regulatory process, he said, and his company intends to present
more scientific analysis to alleviate concerns about safety and
he said, the project
could be environmentally beneficial by providing a substantial supply
clean-burning natural gas.
Broadwater Energy officials
have said the project would have little effect on commercial fishing,
in the lobster industry said the terminal would kill off an already
1999, the Sound's lobsters
have been dying off for reasons still being investigated. But Nick
president of the Connecticut Commercial Lobsterman's Association, said
the latest research offers hope that the industry can be revived. But
terminal would be located exactly where the fishery stands its best
of revival, he said.
think it's worst idea they could
ever imagine - it's like putting an atomic bomb in the Long Island
he said. "You want to put it right over the primary spot where the
are trying to come back to live. It's going to put us out of business."
Rejection Sheds Light on LNG Options
By DON CASCIATO
Article Launched: 12/22/2006 09:16:45 AM EST
News Analysis--During the past year, much of the environmental coverage
on TV and in state newspapers has focused on Broadwater Energy's
proposal to build a large platform in Long Island Sound for the
importing of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).
Many conservationists and Connecticut residents are opposed to the
facility, which would be located about 9 miles off the coast of
Riverhead, N.Y., and about 11 miles from the nearest Connecticut
shoreline -- if it gains approval.
That is considered a big "if" by Connecticut Attorney General Richard
Blumenthal and many other LNG terminal foes on both sides of the Sound.
Nonetheless they expect a difficult battle whether they win or lose.
In another development involving the use of Long Island Sound, the
state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced this
week that it had issued a new denial of a Water Quality Certificate for
Islander East Co.'s bid for a pipeline approval. The state agency
concluded that the proposed route would damage water quality, fragile
natural resources and prime shellfish beds for clams and oysters.
It isn't a sure thing that rejection of the Islander East project sets
the stage for rejecting Broadwater's LNG terminal request. But, much of
logic could apply to the Broadwater plan.
Comparing Two Projects
For example, natural soils and sediment that create a habitat for
commercially valuable oysters and clams, as well as other aquatic life,
could be permanently replaced with gravel material along a
37-foot-wide, 1.1-mile trench if the Islander East pipeline had been
approved, according to DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy
"This dramatic change in the composition of the bottom of Long Island
Sound would have a devastating impact on shellfish and aquatic life --
and Islander East has presented no credible evidence of the ability of
the Sound to restore itself," she said.
The same environmental fears have been voiced about the LNG terminal
and are expected to surface again as the Broadwater plan is reviewed.
It might be difficult to reject one project but give an OK to another
one that could cause similar damage.
In effect, McCarthy's pipeline rejection has provided possible language
for rejecting the Broadwater terminal. Three other major concerns of
A total of 3,723 acres along the bottom of the Sound, including
sensitive shellfish areas -- would be damaged from the scraping of
anchors or their cables used to hold barges in place while work is
A total of 587 acres of shellfish beds would be damaged with uncertain
prospects for recovery. This includes 240 acres of Branford's town
shellfish beds and 347 acres of state beds. Although this might not
apply to the LNG terminal, there has been little publicity about what
is on the floor of the Sound at the proposed LNG site.
Shellfish, shellfish habitat and overall water quality will be damaged
by both disturbed sediment and materials used in lubrication for
drilling that will be released into the water and ultimately settle on
the surrounding seafloor. There is certainly a chance that a larger
project could damage the area -- both during the construction phase and
afterwards if the LNG forces win the day.
"The Islander East proposal required DEP experts to give serious
consideration to an issue not many people often think about: the future
health and well being of the bottom of Long Island Sound," said the DEP
"While the bottom of the Sound may be out of sight, we cannot allow it
to be out of mind. The unique geological and biological characteristics
of the bottom of the Sound -- especially in the area around the Thimble
Islands near Branford -- make it a special place for marine life and
the breeding and harvesting of shellfish. It is unacceptable to trade
away unique natural attributes like this for an improperly sited
[Islander East] energy project."
The DEP decision noted that the most damaging impacts of the project
would occur between the Branford shore and the area where waters of the
Sound are less than 20 feet deep. This is the result of construction
techniques required in shallower waters and the presence of shellfish
beds and habitat in this location.
The DEP decision said that Islander East would likely be able to avoid
the most disruptive installation techniques and have less impact on
water quality and coastal resources if the pipeline were proposed in a
location where deeper waters are closer to shore.
The DEP concluded that the proposed pipeline project was "inconsistent"
with the state's Water Quality Standards. DEP said state and federal
law directs the agency to enforce these standards to safeguard existing
uses of the Sound and the levels of water quality.
Although McCarthy is against the pipeline at its proposed location, she
emphasized the agency is not opposed to the construction of a natural
gas pipeline across Long Island Sound.
"Islander East just insists on putting it in the wrong place," she
said. "We can clearly strike a better balance than this between
obtaining the energy we need and protecting the quality of our
environment. The route along the Thimble Islands proposed by Islander
East runs through some of the purest waters of the Sound and some of
its most fragile and sensitive areas."
During hearings in the past several years regarding Broadwater's LNG
proposal, officials of the company were asked about alternate sites by
some of those attending the sessions. The critics suggested that
Broadwater might be able to put the terminal elsewhere in the Sound.
Company officials listened to the ideas but didn't indicate a desire or
willingness to change the site.
freeze on Sound cables
By Tobin A.
Coleman - Stamford ADVOCATE Staff Writer
May 16, 2003
The state House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill that would
extend a moratorium on new electric and communication
gas pipelines across Long Island Sound. The measure already had
the Senate, but a technical amendment added by the House requires the
return to the Senate for another vote. The House vote was 135-7.
At a news conference
yesterday, Gov. John Rowland said he would probably sign the extension,
if there are no legal concerns. Among possible legal problems is the
bankruptcy of NRG Energy Inc., which owns and operates power plants in
Connecticut. One of its plants is the Norwalk Harbor electric generator
on Manresa Island. The Legislature last year approved the
which stopped new approvals of projects in the Sound and of overland
cables including a proposed 22-mile Bethel-to-Norwalk line. The
would cover only projects in the Sound.
was reached on the Bethel-to- Norwalk project last month that would
most of the cable and avoid most of the 135-foot towers in the original
proposal. The city of Norwalk, not included in the agreement, is still
in discussion with Northeast Utilities. A task force operating
the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State
in Willimantic has been conducting studies involving
electric, gas and telecommunications projects.
have sought to determine the least environmentally damaging
for the transmission lines while providing for the state's long-term
and communications needs. The studies are due June 3, one day
the end of the legislative session. Bill sponsors said the
extension was needed because the Legislature needs time to review the
and decide whether laws need to be changed to reflect the results of
studies before the moratorium is lifted. There were about a dozen
utility projects proposed last year to cross the Sound, adding new gas,
electricity and communications lines between Connecticut and Long
advocates have questioned the need for many of the proposed projects,
the utilities simply want to sell power to Long Island, where they can
charge higher prices than in Connecticut. The projects do little to
an electric-transmission bottleneck in lower Fairfield County because
Island has few generating facilities, moratorium proponents say.
If approved, the moratorium extension could delay even further the
up of the Cross-Sound Cable Co. electric line from New Haven to Long
cable was installed last year. But cable operators TransEnergie and the
Long Island Power Authority were unable to bury it deep enough in seven
places to satisfy its permit with the state Department of Environmental
Protection. The moratorium blocks the DEP from acting on
for the cables and the agency has taken the view that it also cannot
on requests for modifications to existing permits. The companies have
a modification to their permit to allow electrification of the cable.
issue is in court.
But if the
DEP view is upheld and the moratorium is extended, the earliest Cross
Cable Co. could energize the cable would be June 3, 2004, when the
moratorium would expire. State Rep. Robert Duff, D-Norwalk, vice
chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee, said the extension
allow the state to put plans in place to protect the environment while
providing for energy needs. "It shows their commitment to Long
Sound and that they'll do everything to protect our environment," Duff
said of the overwhelming House vote.
Donald Sherer, R-Stamford, also the Stamford harbormaster, said many
have caused environmental damage to the Sound and the moratorium should
continue "until we have a comprehensive plan."
From the Connecticut
POST...Friday, April 12, 2002 - 12:00:00 AM MST
veto expected from Rowland; But new order would put hold on
By KEN DIXON
Gov. John G. Rowland will veto a controversial bill aimed at blocking
imminent high-voltage cable under Long Island Sound.
legislation to create a one-year moratorium on all cross-Sound utility
lines flawed, Rowland spokesman Chris Cooper said the veto will come
But the governor may give lawmakers -- considering the wisdom of a veto
override -- a reason for not doing so this morning. At 10:30 a.m.
in the Bethel Municipal Center, Rowland will announce an executive
to halt state approvals of all power lines, allowing eight months to
the environmental effects of additional power and gas lines throughout
the state, both above ground and underwater. The order, however,
would not affect construction of a Cross Sound Cable Co. line from New
Haven to Brookhaven, N.Y.
the moratorium legislation may violate Cross Sound's constitutional
and could expose the state to a judgment of up to $60 million if the
won a court challenge.
in a rare move, U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., called from
for the General Assembly to override Rowland's veto. "I am
that Gov. Rowland wants to rush approval of new energy lines across
Island Sound before we have a full understanding of the environmental
of all of the proposed projects," Lieberman said.
leaders vowed to attempt a veto override, requiring two-thirds majority
votes in both the House and Senate. The Democratic margin in the House
is 100 to 51; in the Senate it's 21 to 15. A Rowland veto would
Cross Sound Cable -- a subsidiary of Canada-based TransEnergie US, to
ahead with its 24-mile ditch about 6 feet under the Sound's seabed.
It also will
force the General Assembly to put its convictions on the line, after
bipartisan support for the moratorium bill. It passed the Senate 31 to
2 Wednesday and the House 138 to 11 last week. "The question is
Republicans have the backbone to stand up to their governor," said
Majority Leader George C. Jepsen, D-Stamford. Charging that Rowland has
a record of favoring corporate interests, Jepsen is pushing for an
is clear on coming down on the side of energy over the interests of
and the environment," Jepsen said.
order is expected to create a task force to study energy needs and
considerations. It would temporarily halt projects like Northeast
planned overhead electrical transmission line from Norwalk to Bethel,
site of today's appearance by the governor.
The task force
would have until Jan. 1 to finish its study.
vice president of TransEnergie US, said Thursday the company is
at Rowland's promised veto. "I am highly gratified that the
has given such serious consideration and has seen the value of looking
at the issues that protect the state and provide public
[power] reliability," she said. Bowlby said that when the Siting
Council rejected the cable plan last year, the company worked hard to
concerns before resubmitting the proposal, which also was approved by
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental
get Rowland through the election cycle," said Jepsen, who is
for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to run against the
who is expected to seek a third four-year term.
E. Williams, Jr., D-Killingly, co-chairman of the Environment
said Rowland's executive order may be "too little, too late," because
lets the Cross Sound project move forward. The cable-laying could begin
late this month or early in May.
Richard Blumenthal said Thursday he "deeply regrets" Rowland's planned
veto. "This was a measure that had overwhelming support in the
and the public," he said. Blumenthal's planned challenge of the
Sound plan before the state appellate court was delayed Thursday, when
his office was informed that the proper venue for a challenge is the
Supreme Court. The attorney general vowed to pursue the case.
who supported the moratorium bill stressed that they would have to read
Rowland's veto message and scrutinize his executive order.
issued a handful of vetoes since taking office in 1995, most notably
year's veto of a bill to clean up old power plants in Bridgeport,
New Haven, Norwalk, Montville and Middletown known as the Sooty Six.
Sen. John McKinney,
R-Fairfield, who also supported the moratorium, took a wait-and-see
toward Rowland's announced veto. "The executive order is a very
piece of the puzzle for me," he said. "It was probably a lot easier for
lawmakers to pass this, because we didn't have to worry about the
of an expensive lawsuit."
that he, like many southwestern Connecticut lawmakers, are concerned
underwater Sound crossings, as well as the planned overhead
line from Norwalk to Bethel. A proposal to create a moratorium on
electric lines died this year in committee. Another gubernatorial
candidate, former Democratic Comptroller Bill Curry, said Thursday the
Legislature should override the veto. He called Rowland's executive
"a public relations ploy."
this moratorium for a moment on projects that aren't going forward to
the public while he pushes through the one he wants -- the cross-sound
cable project," Curry said.
veto cannot officially take place until later this month, after
lawyers present Rowland with the bill's legal language. Then he has
days to act.
Motion To Block Cable Construction
12:10 PM EDT,April
9, 2002 - Associated Press
Conn. -- A Superior Court judge Tuesday denied a request to block
of an electric power line across Long Island Sound.
Schuman ruled against a motion filed by Attorney General Richard
and the city of New Haven while they appeal the Connecticut Siting
approval of the plan.
said Tuesday he would appeal to the state Supreme Court.
of the line to move forward while our appeal is pending will cause
irreversible harm to New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound,"
said. A hearing on the Siting Council appeal is June 7.
Cable Co., a Westborough, Mass.-based division of Hydro-Quebec, plans
install the 24-mile high voltage cable between New Haven and
N.Y. The Siting Council approved the project in January.
The state Senate
is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would put a
on all utility projects in Long Island Sound pending a comprehensive
January 04, 2003 - 3:41:01 AM MST - CT POST
still not at proper depth; Cross-Sound asks to turn on power DEP
still says cable not deep enough
By KEN DIXON
the Cross-Sound Cable Co. hasn't reached the required depth in New
Harbor for its controversial high-voltage underwater electrical cable,
the firm on Friday asked the Connecticut Siting Council for permission
to turn on the power.
Despite a negative
ruling from the state Department of Environmental Protection,
Cable cited a recent letter from the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers
as the reason why it should be given permission to energize the line to
Brookhaven, N.Y. But a DEP official said Friday that its Dec. 24
ruling against the cable going online stands.
And Sen. George
L. Gunther, R-Stratford, the Legislature's chief cable opponent,
a call for an investigation into how the cable ever won
2000. In a Friday interview, Gunther blasted federal and state
including New York's U.S. Senate delegation, for working behind the
to provide cheap electricity to Long Island at the expense of
said the company, a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, will continue to
plans to properly submerge the cable to 48 feet below
mean low water
if operation of the line is approved.
In a two-page
request to the Siting Council, the company claimed that the average
of the cable is more than 50 feet below mean low water, while the
depth along the 24-mile line was not met along only a small portion of
the joint Hydro-Quebec and United Illumination Co. project. In a
Dec. 30 letter to Cross-Sound, Col. Thomas L. Koning, the district
for the Army Corps of Engineers, said that after consulting with the
Marine Fisheries Service, it was determined that there will be no
environmental harm or threat to navigation with the cable in its
[Cross-Sound] are working in good faith to reach the required burial
the Corps of Engineers has no objections to you operating the cable at
this time," Koning said.
said the project has satisfied nearly all of state officials'
and concerns. Charles H. Evans, director of Long Island Sound
for the DEP, said Friday that Cross-Sound's permit cannot be extended
operating the cable until the correct depth is
hundreds of feet of New Haven Harbor. Last month his unit rejected a
to dredge so-called soft areas of the harbor. A larger issue is a
600-foot stretch of rock elsewhere in the harbor. Cross-Sound is still
devising plans on how to reach the mandated depth there.
disagrees with DEP's assertion that the cable may not legally operate
being in full compliance with the DEP burial depth requirement of at
48 feet for the entire cable route. The company believes the Siting
has exclusive jurisdiction over the operation of electric cables, even
though the DEP has oversight on dredging permits and related waterborne
activities, Cross-Sound said.
Council will meet on the issue Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in its New
headquarters, about the time Gov. John G. Rowland is sworn in for a
term. Gunther believes the hearing was scheduled so the council could
approve Cross-Sound's request.
"That the Army
Corps of Engineers came in at this point and said it should activate it
stimulates more questions than answers," Gunther said. He charged that
for decades state and federal officials alike have known the shallow
of the harbor should have precluded cable development.
have state and federal observers on the boat when Cross-Sound did the
work last spring?" Gunther asked. He said both the Siting Council and
Corps "went in the tank" to move the Cross-Sound project along.
that they can sit there and justify what Cross-Sound did," Gunther said.
March 21, 2002 - 12:00:00 AM MST
to cut Sound cable; Blumenthal will file to overturn OK
By KEN DIXON
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a controversial electric line
from New Haven Harbor to Long Island on Wednesday, prompting Attorney
Richard Blumenthal to seek a last-ditch injunction to halt it.
will fight the project in New Britain Superior Court, but an executive
for the Canada-based corporation that's pushing the project anticipates
that cable-laying will occur on time next month. The attorney
staff will file for an injunction today. Blumenthal, during an
news conference, called the Corps of Engineers' decision a
and anti-environment," Blumenthal said. "To our consumers and
it will be lasting damage to a finite resource, which is Long Island
At stake, he
said, are the harbor and Long Island Sound, as well as electric prices
for consumers. "The threat is imminent, real, immediate because
will start on April 1 unless the court helps us save Long Island
He wants an
injunction to force the courts to probe the appropriateness of the
Siting Council's approval of the project, which would bury a
cable through the harbor, its neighboring shellfish beds and over to
N.Y. Blumenthal said the Siting Council was wrong to approve the
project this year, when it turned down an identical project last year.
"We think the Siting Council reversed itself without any legal or
justification and we believe the court ought to compel the Siting
to obey the law," Blumenthal said.
His staff will
maintain that the project will damage the harbor and threatens the
channel, despite claims from the Cross Sound Cable Co. that it will be
buried at least 6 feet below the sea bed, even after a planned dredging
of silt from the harbor.
with all of these cables is that the damage to the aquatic life and the
ecosystems is inevitable, it's enduring and it's virtually
But Rita Bowlby,
vice president of TransEnergie, the parent firm of Cross Sound Cable,
the power line would be a state-of-the-art line. She anticipates that
courts will uphold the project. "We feel that the AG had their
in court through the intervenor status at the Siting
they did not make their case," Bowlby said. "It's a viable project
has benefits to Connecticut." She said the cable would help
Connecticut's ability to receive power from New York state during an
emergency. It would also create about $800,000 in additional tax
for the city of New Haven.
with the approval of the Corps of Engineers, there is no outstanding
on the effects of the cable on the harbor. "It will not interfere
with navigation or future dredging," Bowlby said, adding that the
vessel is on its way to Connecticut. Delaying the cable by as
as two months could kill off the viability of the project, company
of project may need to be constructed so the company can earn money as
swiftly as possible selling power to Long Island," Blumenthal said.
that's not a condition that ought to drive Connecticut.
called on Gov. John G. Rowland to side with him in fighting the
spokesman for Rowland, who was out of state on business, said the
believes the oversight process was thorough.
experts and they'll render their decisions," Pagani said.
who covers the Capitol, can be reached at (860) 549-4670.
FROM THE YALE DAILY NEWS...
Friday, January 18, 2002
challenge to cross-sound cable rejected
Siting Council has rejected a request by state Attorney General Richard
Blumenthal to reconsider its approval of a plan to install electric
across Long Island Sound.
said Thursday that he will continue to fight the proposal in the courts
and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Cross-Sound Cable
Company's 24-mile cable system would run from New Haven to Brookhaven,
N.Y., and transport up to 330 megawatts of power in either direction.
is disappointing, but it is not the end of our case against the Cross
cable," Blumenthal said in a prepared statement. "The project remains
to raise energy prices, harm the Long Island Sound environment,
access and dredging in the New Haven Harbor and damage our state
Council, which approved the plan the first week of this month, voted
Thursday to reject Blumenthal's request.
no new facts," council Chairman Mortimer Gelston said. "We made our
based on 13 hearings. We didn't think it was in the best
still needs the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Ferry Operator Sentenced For Dumping Sewage In Sound
6:19 PM EST, January 30, 2006
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The operations manager of a municipal ferry service
was sentenced Monday to 30 days in prison and fined $10,000 for dumping
raw sewage into Long Island Sound and the Thames River over four years.
Mark Easter, 54, of Bozrah, operated two ferries that provide service
between New London and Fishers Island, N.Y. as part of the Fishers
Island Ferry District, a department of the Town of Southhold, N.Y. The
dumping occurred from 2000 to 2004, federal prosecutors said.
Easter was charged under the federal Clean Water Act. He agreed to a
30-day prison sentence under a plea deal.
"Hopefully, this prosecution and this sentence will send the message
that the U.S. Attorneys Office and our federal law enforcement partners
are serious about vigorously prosecuting crimes against the
environment," said U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor. "Individuals who
knowingly and willfully pollute our waters face the very real
possibility of incarceration."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith called Easter's behavior,
"stupid, reprehensible and, for a man of the sea, absolutely shameful,"
according to prosecutors.
A telephone message was left for Hubert Santos, Easter's attorney.
Easter has not been suspended or fired from his job so far, authorities
A telephone message was left for Reynolds DuPont, chairman of the
Fishers Island Ferry District Board of Commissioners.
The ferry service provides year-round trips from New London to Fishers
Island, N.Y. for passengers and vehicles. There are about 20 round
trips during peak season and one or two round trips offseason, Coast
Guard officials said.
A tip led to a Coast Guard investigation and on July 13, 2004 officers
made an unannounced boarding of the two ferries, the Munnatawket and
the Race Point. Coast Guard Captain Peter Boynton has said they found
that the valves of the holding tanks of the on-board toilets were
unlocked and open, a violation of federal law. The Munnatawket can
carry more than 200 passengers and the Race Point has the capacity for
150 people, the Coast Guard said.
Easter initially told authorities he was not aware the valves were left
open, but in federal court admitted they were opened on his direction.
Department of Environmental Commissioner Gina McCarthy said Easter's
sentencing sends a strong message that Connecticut is serious about
protecting its waters. DEP is working with the federal government to
establish zones across Long Island Sound where treated sewage cannot be
discharged. Raw sewage cannot be dumped anywhere.
"This is the best approach to safeguarding the waters of the Sound and
the health of people who use the Sound for swimming, fishing and other
recreational purposes," McCarthy said.
Runoff Control Scores Low
Marks; 'Save The Sound' Says Towns Could Do More
August 21, 2006
By DAVID FUNKHOUSER, Courant Staff Writer
After 20 years of cleaning up industry and fixing sewage treatment
plants, the effort to restore the health of Long Island Sound is
shifting its focus, and your driveway is in its sights.
Storm-water runoff - the mixture of gunk ranging from waste oil and
road salt to fertilizer and pesticides that washes into rivers, streams
and the Sound - is a prime source of pollution. Because it comes from
so many sources, such as highways, malls, driveways, roofs and other
impermeable surfaces, it is hard to control.
"Across the United States, storm-water runoff is recognized as the
primary reason that 40 percent of our water bodies do not meet water
quality standards for fishing and swimming as defined under the Clean
Water Act," reports Save the Sound, an environmental group.
Save the Sound recently issued a "report card" on what 74
municipalities in Connecticut and New York are doing to help clean up
the Sound. And the marks are not good.
The group gave only two communities - Brookhaven and Smithtown, N.Y. -
a grade of "very good" for addressing storm-water runoff, and said most
municipalities do not have strong programs to control runoff.
The results of the survey are hard to interpret: Many communities
simply did not reply, and not every town answered every question. What
is clear is that efforts to control runoff are still mostly in the
talking stages. And, the money to fix the problem just is not available.
There are some bright lights, including a program in Norwalk, cited in
Save the Sound's report, that uses high-tech filters in catch basins to
zap bacteria and filter out sediment and other materials.
"The largest problem here is street runoff," said Terry Backer, head of
the Soundkeeper office in East Norwalk. "It contains every contaminant
imaginable, from dog feces to heavy metals. We consider this a
cutting-edge way of getting at this stuff."
Backer's office collaborated with the city, the Maritime Aquarium and
the filter's manufacturer, Abtech Industries of Scottsdale, Ariz., to
get the program going. The first filters were installed last fall and
now are at work in nearly 300 of the city's 10,000 storm drains.
Backer said tests indicate the "Smart Sponge" filters, which drop into
an ordinary catch basin and are easily maintained, are removing at
least 75 percent of harmful bacteria from the water, along with
thousands of pounds of contaminated sediment.
He plans to expand the program to other areas and hopes Norwalk will
serve as a model for other communities.
The project has been funded by $500,000 in grants from the federal
Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environmental
Protection, the Fairfield County Community Foundation and the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Both New York and Connecticut have cleaned up much of the industrial
waste that used to flow into the Sound, and there are ongoing programs
upgrading sewage treatment plants.
Now, the EPA is requiring communities to come up with plans to address
runoff. The region around the Sound has grown rapidly, and all of the
sprawling housing developments and malls add to the problem.
But, notes Save the Sound, most municipalities are unlikely to
aggressively tackle the problem without a reliable source of funding.
"By far the biggest obstacle to implementing effective storm-water
management and smart growth practices is the lack of available
funding," said Robin Kriesberg, Save the Sound's interim director of
Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship.
Some federal money is available. But programs have been cut back. In
Connecticut, the state's annual contribution to Clean Water Act
programs has yet to be approved, and environmental groups say the $50
million in proposed funding is crucial to keep the state on track for
the long term.
Save the Sound's report noted that communities can take a variety of
actions to improve their impact on the Sound, from simply cleaning
streets and catch basins more frequently, to educating citizens about
how their own personal habits can affect what winds up washing into the
Some communities are considering setting up storm-water utilities,
which would collect fees from residents and businesses to pay for the
cost of controlling runoff.
"The culture in the last 20 years has evolved that we can now continue
to make good progress," Backer said. "Things are a lot better now than
they were 30 or 40 years ago."
But Backer said that while solutions tend to be long term, the public
needs to keep focused on the problem, and noted countries around the
world are struggling with vast changes in the ocean environment.
"We're running out of tomorrows when it comes to our oceans," he said.
See the report at www.savethesound.org.
Schooner Amistad Gets Back To Its
African Past; Namesake Of Historic Spanish Ship Arrives 'Home' In
By David Collins
Published on 12/8/2007
THE SCHOONER AMISTAD was launched in Mystic seven years ago and hails
from New Haven, the ship's official homeport.
But most everyone associated with the recreation of La Amistad, the
ship commandeered by African captives in 1839 and discovered adrift off
the coast of Connecticut, agrees that Sierra Leone, where the Africans
were captured to begin with, is Amistad's spiritual place. And on
Friday the modern Amistad — like the captives of La Amistad, who were
eventually exonerated by an American court and freed — made it home.
The schooner arrived in the port city of Freetown in Sierra Leone just
after 8 a.m., the latest stop in a daunting, 14-month, 14,000-mile
voyage along historic slave routes. Christened the Atlantic Freedom
Tour, it began unofficially at the end of a winter overhaul at Mystic
Seaport, where the ship was built. The schooner, aided by
surprisingly strong trade winds, actually arrived two days ahead of
schedule. A rousing welcoming celebration Sunday is expected to draw
thousands of people from around the country.
“It is awesome, totally, totally awesome,” Eliza Garfield, the ship's
captain, said in a scratchy cell phone interview Friday night as the
ship's crew enjoyed its first meal ashore. She said they've already
been welcomed by cheering crowds and big smiles wherever they go.
“We've really had this feeling (in recent days) of coming home,”
Garfield said. “I really felt today like she was bringing not just the
spirit of their ancestors but something else to the living and
breathing people of Sierra Leone. I feel like we've only begun to
scratch the surface.”
Garfield said that, as the Amistad picked its way through some shallow
waters off the African coast early Friday, the crew was greeted by the
strange sight of fishing trawlers with no navigation lights but fires
burning on deck. After dawn, they were awed by the sight of the
majestic mountains of Sierra Leone. In the harbor they were met
by a tug carrying William Pinkney, the first captain of the Amistad who
has returned to the command of the ship for parts of this voyage, as
well as Quentin Snediker, the shipyard director at Mystic Seaport who
was in charge of building the schooner.
“It was an incredibly exciting moment for me personally,” said Pinkney,
who was the first African-American to sail solo around the world.
“Joining me was Quentin Snediker, who built the boat in Mystic. We both
knew, the moment the Amistad touched the water back in 2000, we knew in
our hearts and minds that someday this could happen.”
Pinkney and Snediker are part of a group of about 30 officials and
supporters of Amistad America, the nonprofit association that owns the
129-foot schooner, on hand to greet the crew. They were to be joined
this weekend by even more Connecticut delegates, many from New Haven,
which is a sister city to Freetown.
“This is a very historic event,” said Alfred Marder, head of the
Amistad Committee, the organization that helped formulate the idea to
build a teaching ship to tell the story of the Amistad. Marder left
Friday afternoon with a delegation of 16 others going to Sierra Leone.
“What this is doing is bringing the story to the homeland of Sengbe
Pieh (the captive leader known as Cinque) and the other captives,”
Marder said. “The (people of Sierra Leone) have been most generous in
their hospitality and have organized a very exciting welcome. The
Amistad story has great meaning for them, and Sengbe Pieh is a national
Sierra Leone held a successful election in August and has a new
government after 11 years of civil strife. Pinkney said that makes the
visit of the Amistad especially poignant.
“It's incredible, the timing that has brought us here now,” he said.
Amistad left Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July. It had a very successful
Atlantic crossing, with one stop in the Azores when the engineer broke
a toe, and arrived in Falmouth, England, in early August. The ship had
a long layover in Lisbon, Portugal, before taking up the leg toward
Africa. From Sierra Leone the schooner will make its way to
Senegal, Cape Verde and the Caribbean before returning to Connecticut
by summer. On this last leg of the trip, the crew made good time
with the strong trades, caught tuna that they cooked and ate, watched
pilot whales frolic around the ship, and occasionally stopped for swim
calls to escape the brutal heat.
On board, in addition to the professional crew, are students who are
earning college credits and for whom daily classes are part of the
shipboard routine. In the days leading up to the arrival in Sierra
Leone, everyone on the ship read aloud biographies of the Amistad
captives, some of whom had been taken into slavery to settle family
debts or to placate a tribal king or leader.
“After such a beautiful day,” Garfield wrote in a blog transmitted from
the ship by satellite phone earlier this week, “filled with the tastes,
touches, sights, sounds and smells of this amazing patch of water eight
and a half degrees above the equator and just 14 degrees west of so
many other places, we will have to fire up Amistad's engines and begin
our final last leg 'home.'
“Amistad will be bowing her head to the east, to the ancestors she has
known only in the abstract, until now.”
Mike Moreland, the second mate, was also anticipating the arrival in
his blog from sea.
“The rumor board has been whispering of big parties with local
musicians and politicians, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people
and a week of open ship in the sweltering African heat with enough
people to sink the ship at the dock,” he wrote. “It may not be easy,
but then again, nothing worth doing usually is.”