Hearing held on proposed natural gas terminal

Posted: Updated:

Many Long Island residents packed a public hearing on a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal with two underwater transfer stations less than 20 miles off the shore of Jones Beach.

The meeting was one of two public hearings on the matter and was held in Jamaica, Queens. The next is being held in New Jersey.

Some residents say the project is in the wrong place and the wrong time. Dr. Jo Eisman of Long Beach called the proposal a "problem waiting to happen."

"If we're going to put any money into energy, it should be wind or solar and not something that's going to cause problems," said Eisman.

For some, potential environmental concerns were at the heart of the issue. Others considered a possible security risk. Critics also question whether the proposed project will become an export business over time.

Liberty Natural Gas CEO Roger Whelan says the project is a safe and secure way to lower heating costs and insists it is import only.

"Nothing in our permit will ever allow us to convert this project to export," said Whelan. "Hand on heart, this is never going to be an export project. It makes no sense to export."

Supporters were also in the crowd. Some local labor unions say the project will create hundreds of construction related jobs.

Scott Winter of Local 25 Operating Engineers Marine Division said the project could create about 800 jobs.

The next meeting is being held in Eatontown, New Jersey Thursday night.


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