The jury is out on LNG platform

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This is a not a project that should be rushed through. An LNG port would unquestionably alter our precious South Shore waters. We are uncertain that it would be a higher-priority terrorist target than any other energy installation. It would, however, potentially pose environmental threats that we have not faced in the past, including liquid natural gas leaks in open water that local fishermen depend on for their livelihoods. One need only type “LNG plant leaks” into Google and the hits come fast and furious.

Such concerns, however, should not be construed as a condemnation of the project –– not yet, at least. We simply feel that the public needs more time to research LNG in order to come to a more-informed opinion about it.

Liquefied natural gas is a considerably better energy source than coal, which the U.S. depends on far too much to power this nation. Coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, accounts for 50 percent of America’s energy mix. Extraction of this “black gold” has caused massive environmental destruction, particularly in the South, and the carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants is among the leading causes of climate change –– the slow heating of the Earth over decades.

By contrast, natural gas emits 50 percent less carbon dioxide and one-third less nitrogen oxide than coal when burned –– and virtually no sulfur dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Readers will remember that acid rain caused by sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants destroyed whole sections of Adirondack forests before the EPA regulated the pollutant in 1995.

Environmentalists have expressed concern that the Port Ambrose platform could be used to export natural gas from the U.S. to other parts of the world. Perhaps. Exporting gas, however, could help replace America’s exports of coal to Western Europe, while also relieving Europe’s dependence on natural-gas imports from Russia, according to Bloomberg News.

The U.S. is an energy-hungry nation. The question is, how do we power the country in as safe and environmentally friendly a way as possible? More information is needed to determine whether an LNG platform in the Atlantic could help achieve this aim.

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