Suffering Mortality at the Hands of Broadwater
The estimate of the amount of fish larvae and eggs that will be destroyed annually by Broadwater comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a January 18 letter to FERC. The letter points out that the LNG terminal, and the tankers that will carry LNG to it, will draw as much as 30.9 million gallons of water a day from Long Island Sound. That water will contain fish eggs and larvae. Of particular concern are the eggs and larvae drawn in by the tankers. As the Fish and Wildlife Service delicately puts it:
All of these organisms would likely suffer mortality.
The specific fish that are likely to suffer mortality are weakfish, scup, fourbeard rockling (seriously), tautog, sea robin, Atlantic menhaden, windowpane flounder, bay anchovy, smallmouth flounder, sand lance, and butterfish.
The estimated number of eggs and larvae of these fish that will suffer mortality is as high as 275 million a year. Somehow the experts who wrote and reviewed this exhaustive and comprehensive environmental impact statement, which concluded that Broadwater would have no affect on the environment, forgot to study that issue.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is also looking into whether two federally listed birds – the piping plover and roseate tern – might also suffer mortality. The draft environmental impact statement forgot to study that issue as well.
I suppose if you were charitably inclined you might say that it was an oversight on FERC’s part that it studied the environmental impacts of a giant industrial facility in an important estuary and forgot about what the impact might be on fish. If you’re less charitably inclined, like me, you’d think it’s just lame. I don’t think that FERC, under the influence of Broadwater and Shell and TransCanada, and presumably knowing full well that the issue of fish eggs and larvae suffering mortality is a big problem at power plants on the Hudson River and elsewhere, would leave that information out of the DEIS on purpose. Would they?
Judy Benson of the New London Day is apparently the only reporter reading the FERC online files. She had the story in Saturday’s paper