Blumenthal vows to fight FERC

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal predicted that the controversial Broadwater natural-gas platform in Long Island Sound will soon win approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Blumenthal, appearing with state lawmakers reviewing the proposed huge 1-billion-cubic-feet-per-day facility, said that when that happens, Connecticut will contest FERC.

"We will take the deficiencies in that federal approval and go to federal court as soon as we can," Blumenthal said. "Longer term, we're prepared to fight this battle as long and hard as necessary."

But until then, the governor's task force reviewing the proposal will attempt to persuade New York state officials that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) platform 10 miles off the coast of East Haven would be an environmental hazard and also vulnerable to seismic activity.

"We assume that New York officials are going to be hard-headed and realistic," Blumenthal said during an afternoon news conference in the Capitol complex. "They should have no interest in Broadwater. They should soundly reject Broadwater as abhorrent to New York citizens if there are realistic alternatives."

Connecticut also contends that there are better ways to get fuels to the metropolitan New York market than putting the Sound in jeopardy; and there are two other LNG pipelines, in less-critical locations, that could supply a total of 2.4-billion cubic f et a day. "If the law's enforced, Broadwater will never be built," Blumenthal said.

"And we will take every step in every forum, both state and federal, to make the courts enforce the law." Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, one of the two co-chairmen of the task force, said the preliminary FERC ruling was "cursory" and failed to directly address criticism of the Broadwater proposal on its potential environmental vulnerability.

A mooring system that Connecticut officials believe is inadequate and that needs to dig farther down into bedrock than current plans are also part of the criticism. "FERC seems to be happy to say 'we'll deal with that at a later process,' " Fasano said.

"In our view it just doesn't go far enough. The purpose and scope of the project is defined such that the only project that can satisfy that purpose and scope is Broadwater."

Blumenthal called the FERC process "fatally deficient." Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said energy consumers in New York and Connecticut have been offered "a false choice" between having Broadwater or not getting enough LNG.

"We know we need to get more natural gas and other energy forms to the people of New York, but they're not telling you the whole picture," McKinney said, stressing the need to persuade New York officials to oppose it over the next 60 days.

"There are environmentally better ways, cost-efficient ways of getting energy and natural gas to the people of the state of New York," McKinney said. "There are a host of other options that are better than siting the largest LNG platform in the world in Long Island Sound," McKinney said. "We cannot continue to commercialize Long Island Sound. We cannot say to the people of Connecticut and New York, recreational fishermen, boaters and everybody, all of us, that we're selling off Long Island Sound to the highest bidder."


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