We live in a world that thirsts for energy. As the population rises, the need for energy grows ever greater. So it should come as little surprise that a corporation is seeking to construct a liquefied natural gas platform in the Atlantic Ocean, 17 miles south of Jones Beach, partly in waters where an offshore wind farm has also been proposed.
A public hearing convened by the U.S. Maritime Administration at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach on July 9 drew hundreds of protesters, who claimed that the planned Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas platform, where LNG from far-off ports would be offloaded and piped to the mainland, would pose a security risk to the New York metropolitan area because it would be a terrorist target. At the same time, they said, it would “industrialize” local marine habitats with a massive platform and ships crowding what was once open ocean.
The project, which Liberty Natural Gas LLC proposed last September, is now in what the Maritime Administration calls the “scoping phase” of a yearlong licensing process. During the scoping phase, the administration hears from all sides, including company officials, environmental experts and average citizens, looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of the project before an environmental impact statement is drafted.
The scoping phase lasts for a mere 36 days, according to the Maritime Administration. Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, is calling on the administration to extend this phase to 120 days to give people more time to digest the facts of the proposal and to voice their concerns and criticisms.
We agree that the scoping phase should be given more time. A notice for the Long Beach public hearing was published in the Federal Register on June 24. Beyond that, however, the hearing received little publicity. While the meeting attracted a number of protesters, surely there were many South Shore residents who did not hear about it, but likely would have wanted to attend and possibly speak out at it.