Ed posted on the Pickens Plan yesterday, but I had one quick thought as a follow-up: Pickens wants to increase the use of natural gas in the U.S. economy, and presumably a good portion of it will be imported — at least in the short and middle term. But as things stand now, nobody wants LNG facilities anywhere near populated areas. The risk is: If one goes boom, it’s a big boom. (For the record, I agree with the permit denials for the first two, but think the third option is the way to go)
Here in New York, a permit was just denied for a major facility in Long Island Sound:
RIVERHEAD, N.Y.: Broadwater Energy has filed an appeal to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce related to the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) objection to Broadwater’s certification of the consistency of the proposed Broadwater Energy liquefied natural gas (LNG) project with the Long Island Sound Coastal Management Program.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The city of Fall River, Mass., and Patrick C. Lynch, attorney general for Rhode Island, have filed a statement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC) formally opposing Weaver’s Cove Energy LLC’s request for an extension of time to complete construction and place in service the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline facilities authorized by FERC.
Fall River and Lynch called the request “wholly deficient, unsupported and premature.”
The city and Lynch point out in their FERC filing that the project may never go forward because FERC’s approval of the project is expressly conditioned on approval by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Interior. The Coast Guard has denied Weaver’s Cove’s request for approval of the waterway for LNG vessel traffic, “and that denial (upheld on reconsideration and appeal) is largely the reason for delays in issuing permits related to dredging and related activities, including the required dredging permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Even off-shore facilities are facing opposition, although there is quite a disagreement on whether the apocalyptic scenario presented below could ever happen:
On the map shown by Donna Johnson as she sits in her living room, a fireball shaped like a winged serpent obliterates almost everything from Santa Barbara to Simi Valley. Much of Ventura County is gone save for a few areas that include land tucked behind the Conejo Grade.
“The only thing that’s going to save Newbury Park is going around that mountain,” Johnson said.
She’s a school accounting clerk who is also neighborhood council president for Oxnard’s Pleasant Valley Estates, meaning she worries about trash pickup, road repairs, and the planned natural gas pipeline about a half-mile from her home. Some of her neighbors think the offshore terminals could bring jobs. Others said gas prices could fall. More than a few have never heard of natural gas and don’t know what to think.
Johnson keeps a blue binder of documents that warn of LNG’s dangers. She worries that if a tanker collided with another vessel or was attacked by terrorists, the fire could extend in any direction for more than 30 miles.
The fact is, there is no free lunch. Democrats are against offshore drilling for natural gas as much as they are against drilling for oil. None of them wants to create ways to import more natural gas. None of them wants to create ways to refine more oil into gasoline. None of them wants more nuclear plants. None of them wants to increase mining in the U.S. to get the metals needed for hybrid car batteries. And except for certain parts of Texas and Oklahoma that have a rich energy history, there’s little appetite for an exponential increase in windmills across the country.