Senator Fasano Asks FERC To Meet With Connecticut Officials Regarding LNG Proposal

December 18, 2006

Senator Len Fasano, R-North Haven, has formally asked Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Joseph Kelliher to demonstrate his agency’s expressed concern for Connecticut’s views regarding the proposed installation of a liquefied natural gas storage facility (LNG) in Long Island Sound by meeting with Connecticut officials outside of the routine public hearing process.

Senator Fasano, co-chair of the Long Island Sound LNG Task Force, asked for the meeting in response to a letter the FERC chairman recently sent to Governor Rell in which he wrote that Connecticut has an important role – though, apparently, not a formal legal role – to play in the process leading to a decision regarding the LNG project. The LNG task force has already asked FERC to extend the public comment period on FERC’s draft environmental impact statement beyond the normal 60-day comment period to March 23, 2007. FERC will hold public hearings on the draft report next month in Branford and New London.

“It is a fair assumption that both public hearings will be well attended by the public who will be anxious to let their views be known to FERC. Therefore, the ability to share ideas between our experts and the FERC DEIS (draft environmental impact) review staff will be extremely limited. As a result, if, as your letter suggests, you encourage the Governor and state agencies to have input into the final EIS report, then it is fair to assume that FERC will be cordial enough to set up a separate meeting so that our specific concerns can be fully addressed, without the time constraint which we would face in a public hearing process that FERC has established,” wrote Senator Fasano in a letter dated December 15th.

Senator Fasano, noting that several environmental experts have been less than complimentary about the quality of work that went into preparing FERC’s draft environmental impact statement, said that he, along with the task force, will continue to pursue every possible opportunity to ensure that Connecticut’s interests are protected.

“That Connecticut is being denied a formal, legal, role in the LNG process is wrong. Siting the LNG facility in Long Island Sound, 11 miles from our shoreline, has the potential to affect us, our safety, and our environment for generations to come and we should not have to beg for a seat at the table where these decisions are being made. Having said that, Connecticut has a moral right to be involved, and we will continue to remind FERC of that fact. At the very least, FERC owes Connecticut officials the courtesy of a meeting and Connecticut residents sufficient time to read and respond to its draft environmental impact statement,” said Senator Fasano.