By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
A company called Liberty Natural Gas wants to build a liquefied natural gas port in the Atlantic. Tankers loaded with compressed natural gas would hook into a new pipeline that would carry the gas to an existing line that feeds Long Island, New York.
The location is 28 miles off of Long Branch, and 18 miles off Long Island. The company calls it Port Ambrose. New Jersey environmentalists and two shore Republican legislators gathered today to oppose it.
“We’re here today to announce again reaffirming out opposition to Port Ambrose and the lack of need for such a ridiculous facility in the middle of our ocean,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.
The opponents say the gas is not needed, that two similar ports in Massachusetts are idle because there’s no longer any demand for foreign natural gas, and that putting it out there is dangerous.
“It’s an overcrowded shipping zone. Why in the world, when you have some of the busiest ports in the world, would you put a target like that right in the middle of them,” said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande.
The company has been trying to build for eight years. An earlier attempt was vetoed in 2011 by Governor Christie.
Clean Ocean Action has a video of him saying he’ll never support it: “As long as I’m governor I will oppose any application for any type of LNG project.”
Senator Jennifer Beck is sponsoring a resolution to stop the project.
“No will be no today, 10 years from today, 20 years from today. They need to go home,” she said.
“We need an LNG port off our coast like we need another superstorm. And if we have one out there when there is another storm, it’s a bomb waiting to go off,” said the Sierra Club‘s Jeff Tittel.
“Absolutely not. That is all hype by Clean Ocean Action,” said Jim Donofrio, who heads the Recreational Fishermen’s Alliance, and supports the project.
“We don’t see this as a threat. We see it as something positive,” he said.
He says natural gas doesn’t spill like oil and that the fishing industry depends on cheap fossil fuels.
“A lot of these people who go to these protest meetings are very disingenuous. They still drive their cars, and they still heat their houses with natural gases and other oil products. Until they can ride their bicycles and find another way to heat their house they have no credibility with me,” he said.
The company told NJTV News, “We are confident that when the facts about the minimal impacts and many benefits that Port Ambrose would bring to the region become known, the public will support the project.”
To hear these people tell it, an LNG port off the coast of New Jersey poses serious risks and isn’t needed. They’re relying on Governor Christie to do what he did four years ago, when the project was proposed off Asbury Park, and veto it.