Port Ambrose impact report expected

Environmental coalition opposes natural-gas project in the Atlantic


A company’s plans to build “Port Ambrose,” a liquefied natural gas terminal in the Atlantic Ocean 19 miles southeast of Jones Beach, have stalled for months in a federal review process, but that is likely to change next month. A U.S. Coast Guard official estimated that the government will release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Port Ambrose in December.

The DEIS should analyze how Port Ambrose would affect the surrounding ocean and air, recommend regulations to limit its environmental impacts, and trigger a round of public-comment meetings in New York and New Jersey. The U.S. Maritime Administration’s website suggests that there will be at least four more public meetings on Port Ambrose, which are not scheduled yet.

Roddy Bachman, an officer in the Coast Guard’s Deepwater Ports Standards Division, said this week that Liberty has submitted information that its original application was missing, and a “limited, high-level federal agency review” of the completed application is taking place. He said Port Ambrose’s DEIS would come out “likely in the next month.” In a Sept. 22 letter to Bachman, Daron Threet, Liberty’s counsel, said the review process “should result in the issuance of a draft EIS by year-end and a final EIS in early 2015.”

That was cause for concern to environmental groups that held a public meeting last Thursday at a Bellmore fire station to plan and promote opposition to Port Ambrose. Activists from Clean Ocean Action, Sane Energy Project, New Yorkers Against Fracking and Food & Water Watch — groups at the forefront of a “No LNG Coalition” that includes more than 100 environmental organizations — said a holiday-season DEIS release could undercut public attention over Port Ambrose.

“It’s going to take citizen action to tell Obama, [the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] that we don’t want ‘all of the above,’” said Clare Donohue, a founder of Sane Energy Project. “We want clean, renewable energy.”

Speakers at the meeting, which roughly 40 people attended, enumerated many reasons why they view Port Ambrose as harmful to the region. During the meeting, they:

•Described natural gas as a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.

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