Cuomo Rejects Port Ambrose Gas Project Near New York City

  • New York Governor cites risks from terrorism to climate change
  • Project would have brought gas to New York area at peak demand

Governor Andrew Cuomo will veto a liquefied natural gas project off Long Island that would have brought gas to the New York City region during periods of high demand.

The Port Ambrose project involved creating a deep-water docking station 19 miles (31 kilometers) into the Atlantic Ocean, and an underwater pipeline that would pump about 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per vessel a day into the existing Transco Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline, according to the project website.

Cuomo’s veto ends three years of review and he cited concerns ranging from potential terrorist attacks on the infrastructure to the need to combat climate change. He raised the memory of damages wrought to the coastline during superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

“We have seen painfully the damage that Mother Nature can do,” Cuomo said at a press conference at the Long Beach Ice Arena. “The reward was not worth the risk."

Projects such as Port Ambrose require the approval of governors in adjacent coastal states under the Deepwater Port Act. In this case, both Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would have had to signal their approval -- or simply stay silent -- for Port Ambrose to obtain the necessary deepwater port license.

Such projects are being proposed all along the U.S. coastlines as gas flows out of shale formations. U.S. gas stockpiles may have reached an all-time high of 3.977 trillion cubic feet in the seven days ended Nov. 6, according to the median of 18 analyst estimates of a government report to be released Friday.

“We are disappointed and very surprised with Governor Cuomo’s decision today to not allow a cleaner, more affordable energy supply to reach New York consumers,” Roger Whelan, the chief executive officer of Liberty Natural Gas LLC, the developer of the Port Ambrose project, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We had hoped that the safety and environmental concerns raised by the Governor this afternoon had been thoroughly addressed and dismissed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement,” Whelan added.

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