Monday, January 15, 2007

Another Newsday Columnist Loves Broadwater

It used to be that newspaper publishers, as represented by their editorial writers, always promoted whichever development scheme big business was trying to bring to their area, and it was the newspaper’s reporters who had to find out and then write the reality that these development plans at best usually compromise environmental qualities and at worse damage them. From what I see of newspapers in our region, publishers and editorial boards are deeply skeptical of Broadwater’s plan for a liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound, but reporters – or at least columnists – are on the side of big business.

Joye Brown in Newsday was one example the other day, and today it’s Raymond J. Keating (see footnote at end of this post), who mocks the Long Island residents who think Broadwater’s proposal is a bad idea but seems to have swallowed about a gallon of the Broadwater and FERC kool-aid.

Raymond J. Keating seems to think that because a government agency makes an assertion in a draft environmental impact statement, the assertion is correct. “Earth to Raymond J. Keating! A draft environmental impact statement can be as much a promotional document as it is an analysis of environmental impacts! The developer pays for it and it pretty much gets to conclude what the developer wants it to conclude! And even at its honest best it’s a document to be debated and analyzed.”

I’d bet a dollar that Raymond J. Keating hasn’t read more than the executive summary of the DEIS, if that. And I’d be another dollar that he’s not qualified to say whether the DEIS’s analysis is on the mark. Yet here’s what Raymond J. Keating writes:

Of course, a little sober reflection could point to something substantially different than the frightening environmental and security sermon preached by the environmental crowd. Might the Broadwater terminal actually help meet rising energy demands in the region by providing 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, powering roughly 4 million homes? Isn't it possible that FERC was correct when concluding in its November report that the terminal would have no "significant impacts on the environment"? And could the U.S. Coast Guard be right in its assessment that with additional measures, safety and security would be responsibly managed?

In fact, given the extensive expertise used for these reviews and the obvious economic incentives for Broadwater to serve consumers and the public, as well as to protect its investments, the most likely answer to each of these questions is yes. This project would be good for consumers and the economy, while doing no substantive harm to the environment. For good measure, it is worth noting that natural gas ranks as the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel because it burns so cleanly.

Hey, Ray. Broadwater might help meet rising energy demands, although it also might be true that a LNG plant about to be built in Canada will meet rising energy demands, as the company says despite the Broadwater/FERC assertion to the contrary in the DEIS.

[Here’s what the president of the Canadian company wrote to FERC about the assertion in the Broadwater DEIS:

… The important fact to be considered in the Broadwater analysis is that Repsol will be able to deliver at least 0.73 bcfd of gas sourced from Canaport LNG, into the northeastern United States pipeline grid with access to all of the markets served by that grid. It is also important to note that the Canaport LNG terminal can be expanded to provide additional incremental supply that can access northeastern US markets, including New England and New York.

… Second, the DEIS states in Section 4.3.2 (page 4-20) that the Canaport LNG terminal would not be able to supply the needed volume of gas to the regional markets and that substantial upgrades to the downstream interstate pipeline systems would be required to meet regional market needs. However, since the DEIS does not identify specific markets that have committed to utilize gas supply from the Broadwater LNG Project, it is difficult to judge the accuracy of such a grad statement. …]

And it’s possible that the project will do no substantive harm to the environment but it’s also possible, as four Connecticut scientists said (here and here), that the environmental analysis isn’t worthy of a lazy college student.

Here’s what Raymond J. Keating is really saying: I don’t like Long Islanders’ attitudes or the way they behave; they should prostrate themselves in front of the wonderful folks at Shell and TransCanada and Broadwater (with newspaper downsizing you never know, I might want a corporate PR job someday). Basically, don’t confuse me with the facts, or with a serious analysis.
[Footnote: I'm afraid I owe respectable reporters and columnists an apology for lumping them in with Raymond J. Keating. Keating works for a group called the Small Business Survival Committee, which lobbies on behalf of the tobacco industry and opposes and disagrees with essentially everything environmentalists believe in, according to SourceWatch. To compare him to a respectable journalist like Joye Brown is an insult to Joye Brown, in my opinion. But why doesn't Newsday identify him in their online edition?)

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

The argument that one would need a facility right there in Long Island Sound to service 4 million homes for their natural gas needs right there is patently false.

Natural gas is routed mainly up from the Henry Hub in Louisiana and from Canada, which is why the Canadian's response is so important. Everything is interconnected. About the only place you're not getting natural gas is from the Rockies and westward.

I can't predict the future but right now, natural gas storage is at an all time high and unit prices have been falling. Over the last 12 months, NYMEX prices have almost fallen by almost half ($11.50 per million BTU to about $6.50 today). Did I say almost half?

The market is extremely fickle and not necessarily driven by demand, but now that the hedge market is withdrawing from the hydrocarbon market, I would expect that the immediate "need" for a LNG terminal in the LIS is a specious argument. If they want to try to make a buck, fine, but the FERC is totally wrong in saying that demand is required right then and right there. /Sam

9:43 PM  
Blogger gallerycafe said...

Hi I recently purchased a beach home on Point Breeze Drive in Rocky Point.
The very thought of Broadwater disgusts me.
A Gas Terminal in the middle of the Long Island Sound doesn't make any business sense to the tax paying residents. At MOST you will see a very small change in your gas bill. In the larger scheme of things this proposed terminal will only bring bigger profits to an energy company that is raping the US people after posting RECORD BREAKING PROFITS this year. how will this benefit the PEOPLE??? It doesnt. There is no upside for RESIDENTS & TAXPAYERS. Federal, Local and State security will need to be paid for and most likely the burden will fall upon the local taxpayers to ensure port security from illegal drugs and contraband, stow away illegal aliens, terrorists and terrorist attacks, 2-3 diesel burning tankers (that pollute the air and water) a Week will eventually turn into 10-20 tankers a week disrupting ecology; polluting & destroying the waters that we as local taxpayers enjoy swimming ,fishing and beachgoing in and around with family & friends. Broadwater & Shell, sorry!!! It's back to the drawing board for you!!

Broadwater estimates that the project would reduce future natural gas and electricity prices by an average $680 million per year in the New York, Long Island and Connecticut region.
The median household energy cost savings attributed to Broadwater would be $300 per year from 2011 – 2025.

WOW look at the savings Thats less than a $1.00 a day, 82 cents to be exact and that doesnt even figure inflation into the equation! thats not even a cup of coffee. Some benefit!

9:09 PM  

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