Having Successfully Defeated Broadwater, Connecticut and New York Must Look to Establish a Long-Term Energy Strategy [Commentary]

April 24, 2008

On April 10th, the State of New York delivered what will likely be a fatal blow to Broadwater Energy’s ill-conceived plan to construct the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

In denying Broadwater, New York officials agreed with the principle findings of the Connecticut Long Island Sound LNG Task Force, a committee established by Governor Rell that I have co-chaired for the past 2 ½ years. New York officials agreed with our Task Force’s conclusion that Broadwater would not provide Connecticut with any additional natural gas and simply was not a good solution to New York ’s energy needs. They also accepted our findings that Broadwater would have had a negative impact on the environment and public safety; would not guarantee low cost natural gas to New York ; and would set a dangerous precedent by commercializing Long Island Sound.

Governor Paterson and his colleagues deserve credit for having had the courage to stand up to a powerful energy lobby and federal regulators to ultimately reach the right decision on Broadwater. Governor Rell also deserves credit for creating our Task Force, which served as the primary vehicle for an open and thorough debate about the Broadwater project.

During 16 public hearings our Task Force heard official testimony from Broadwater representatives, the Connecticut Attorney General, regional economists, leading environmental scientists and energy experts. In addition, we received and read letters from hundreds of concerned citizens, both for and against the Broadwater project. Our charge was to evaluate the Broadwater project in terms of regional energy needs and its potential impact on Long Island Sound. We heard all sides and let the facts of the matter dictate our course of action. In the end, the facts spoke for themselves: this was the wrong project, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Now that Long Island Sound is out from under the threat of Broadwater, it is my hope that New York and Connecticut will continue to work together to address our region’s energy challenges in a responsible way.

Long Island Sound is an estuary of national significance that both Connecticut and New York depend on for economic, educational and recreational purposes. If we are not vigilant, we might not overcome the next threat that faces this beloved treasure.

That is why I believe the best way to avoid another “Broadwater” is to begin working immediately to reassess our region’s short-term and long-term energy needs and work with experts to develop solutions to meet them. If all of the resources Connecticut and New York dedicated to understanding and eventually rejecting Broadwater are redirected toward protecting Long Island Sound for the long term and finding innovative and environmentally responsible ways to secure our region’s energy future, I know we will be successful.