Friday, April 30, 2010

Natural Gas Pipeline Foes Have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Their Side by Daniel Edward Rosen - NY Daily News

Read original...

Rockaway residents are "breathing a sigh of relief," officials said Tuesday, after a key gatekeeper vowed to veto proposals for liquefied natural gas terminals off the Atlantic coast.

But the companies that want to build the terminals aren't sailing away just yet.

"This community really has a fear of this project. It does not serve a purpose for us or for the city," said Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14 in Far Rockaway.

He and other local officials hailed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's pledge last week to oppose LNG terminals near the shorelines of New Jersey and New York.

Christie, who along with Gov. Paterson, has veto power over such projects, said LNG terminals "are not the answer for New Jersey's needs."

"I remain unconvinced of the need and efficacy of these facilities, or their ability to lower prices," he said.

Christie's pledge renders such projects "dead on arrival," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn).

"Let's not waste our time - pull the plug now," Weiner said.

The Atlantic Sea Island Group, BlueOcean Energy and Excalibur Energy have been courting state officials in both states to build these terminals.

The Atlantic Sea Island Group wants to build a man-made island 15 miles off Rockaway. A terminal there could deliver up to 2billion cubic feet of gas per day through an underwater pipeline connected to the mainland in Nassau County, according to planners.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer said she wasn't sure why Gov. Paterson has not rejected the terminals himself.

"We thought it would be good if our governor took the initiative and said 'no' right away," said Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach).

But Joel Baskin, a spokesman for the administration, said the governor has been silent on the proposals because he has "yet to receive a proposal for any LNG terminal."

Gary Lewi, a spokesman for Atlantic Sea Island Group, said the company had not given Christie a detailed report on its terminal and hopes to do so "before there is a final decision on the project."