It’s time for both Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie to step up and put an end to Port Ambrose, the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal that Liberty Natural Gas LLC is looking to build 19 miles off the coast of Jones Beach.
At a time when Long Beach and other South Shore communities are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, this is an unnecessary project that would have little public benefit, would create just 20 permanent jobs, according to a spokesperson for Liberty, and raises too many safety and security concerns. Its potential negative impact on the environment alone should prompt Cuomo or Christie to veto the plan. (Either governor can do so.)
Our local leaders are to be commended for joining forces and putting aside their political differences to oppose the project. Last Thursday, U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, County Legislators Denise Ford and Laura Curran and the Long Beach City Council held a rally on the Long Beach boardwalk, where, joined by local environmental groups and residents, they called on Cuomo to reject the plan.
We agree with State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who, in a letter to Cuomo last week, wrote that while increased energy sources are critical to our state and local economy, the negative impact of Port Ambrose would outweigh any perceived benefits.
Liberty Natural Gas’s proposal is the latest of several attempts to build a liquefied natural gas terminal. In 2010, after years of community opposition, a plan to develop a terminal 13 miles off Long Beach — nicknamed “Insanity Island” by its opponents — was shelved when the developer, the Atlantic Sea Island Group, backed away due to an uncertain economy and the widespread condemnation of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Liberty proposed a similar terminal off the coast of New Jersey, but Christie vetoed the plan in 2011. In 2012, Liberty withdrew a revised application, again amid public criticism, but filed its current proposal months later. A heated meeting at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach in July 2013 further illustrated public outrage over the plan.