LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Residents along the south shore of Long Island are thrilled over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rejection of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in the waters off New York and New Jersey.
Cuomo formally announced his opposition Thursday at an event in Long Beach, Long Island.
“And when I finish these remarks, I am going to sign a letter to the Maritime Industry vetoing the Port Ambrose project,” Cuomo said.
Residents in some coastal communities have opposed the gas line, citing environmental and terrorism risks.
“We know that Al Qaeda has spoken about LNG terminals as a possible terrorist threat,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo also cited the vulnerability of the terminal in storms like Superstorm Sandy, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
The deep-water docking station known as Port Ambrose was to be built 19 miles off Jones Beach on Long Island and 29 miles off Long Branch, New Jersey.
Liberty Natural Gas LLC, the company vying to develop Port Ambrose, said the pipeline would lower home heating bills in the area, which are among the most expensive in the nation.
For years, the company had been trying to obtain approval from the federal Maritime Administration to operate the facility.
Federal regulators require the governors of the neighboring states — New York and New Jersey — to approve the pipeline proposal. An objection from either governor would force the agency to deny Liberty’s application, according to regulations. ��
“My administration carefully reviewed this project from all angles, and we have determined that the security and economic risks far outweigh any potential benefits,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday morning. “Superstorm Sandy taught us how quickly things can go from bad to worse when major infrastructure fails — and the potential for disaster with this project during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a similar version of the proposal in 2011 and vowed to continue opposing the project for as long as he served as governor.
Environmentalists urging Cuomo to veto the proposal have held several protests over the last year, including a rally outside of a Broadway show the governor was attending.
“This is terribly dangerous,” said environmentalist Jessica Roff. “It’s volatile. It’s dangerous. It’s a terrorist threat.”
A similar protest was planned for Thursday night at a Cuomo fundraiser.
Liberty’s president, Roger Whelan, has maintained that many of the people opposing the project are misguided and acting out of fear. He argued that a federal environmental study on the proposal discounts any thought the port presents any type of safety risk.
A message left with Liberty was not immediately returned Thursday morning.
Environmentalists like Cindy Zipf, of Clean Ocean Action, applauded the decision.
“This was a seven-year battle that came to conclusion,” Zipf told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “This really brings to rest this project that would never seem to die.”
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