JONES BEACH - Long Island is no stranger to discussions about building natural gas terminals off its shores, but a new plan that's gaining momentum has some residents on the South Shore worried that the project could soon become a reality.

The plan would put an underwater liquefied natural gas terminal about 19 miles off of Jones Beach. Dubbed Port Ambrose, the terminal would be visited by tankers eight to 10 times per year, which would offload natural gas to underwater transfer buoys.

Liberty Gas, the company behind the planned project, says the terminal would "help reduce and stabilize energy prices for New York consumers during the peak winter and summer months, while utilizing state-of-the-art environmental technologies." But environmentalists from New York and New Jersey worry about the port's proximity to popular fishing grounds and sensitive coastal communities.

Others are concerned that the terminal would become an export facility, instead of one that imports gas, but Liberty Gas says the port would not have the capacity or equipment to export gas.

A public hearing on the matter is being held in Long Beach next week. Several local legislators are criticizing Liberty Gas and the federal government for holding just one public hearing on Long Island about the plan, and for failing to promote it better.