I know that you are considering permitting LNG
facilities into your fine state because your residents have contacted me
here in California, and because I closely follow LNG related stories.
As you may already know, I host a comprehensive
website on the Risks and Danger of LNG recognized by the energy industry,
Federal and State agencies, universities and journalists the world over.
This past week, Upstream (an oil &gas industry
newspaper/newswire),and Dow Jones Newswire conducted lengthy interviews
with me. The two resultant news articles are included below for your
convenience. Please read them and visit my website as you consider
permitting LNG -DANGER into your peaceful communities.
The LNG website is updated frequently, so if you
haven't visited it recently - here is the hyperlink:
Once there, scroll down briefly and click on the
Risks and Danger of LNG.
Please feel free to contact me at anytime.
"Tide turns as LNG protests grow"
UPSTREAM November 14, 2003 08:28 GMT
“Hot topic: the prospect of
LNG landing facilities in the vicinity of metropolitan areas along the US
Gulf coast and near
Los Angeles (top) have stirred up a hornets nest as
protesters mobilize (sic) to block the plans due to safety concerns.
California's new governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose constituents have
experienced major fires up close in recent weeks, will face tough
decisions as the state's massive energy needs are counterbalanced by
protesters' cries that an LNG mishap could lead to even greater
devastation than that caused by the forest fires.” Montage: CHRISTIAN
November 14, 2003 08:28 GMT
Tide turns as LNG protests grow
Industry is forced into rethink as opposition grows to onshore sites
By Dann Rogers
“Before Shell got its liquefied natural gas ambitions
booted off Mare Island in southern California a year ago by a citizens'
group that threatened the political future of the local mayor, opposition
to the expanding import sector in the Lower 48 States was relatively
‘We see a Nimby (not in my backyard) response at the
community level, but nothing on a national scale,’ says Mark Stultz of the
US Natural Gas Supplier Association.
Many even thought a Pimby (please in my backyard)
response awaited their LNG import terminal proposals in the US Gulf coast
states of Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.
However, bird protection organization the
Houston Audubons Society is challenging Freeport LNG
Development's proposal to site a facility 1.6 kilometres from a bird
sanctuary at Freeport in Texas. "Our biggest concern is that the Texas
barrier islands are such an incredible resource," said Audubon member Flo
Hannah. "We think they should site the project offshore."
Despite the opposition in this instance, Cheniere
Energy is still expected to win final approval from the US Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (Ferc) for the $400-million terminal in early 2004.
Ferc has already concluded in a draft impact
statement that the Freeport terminal will pose little threat to the
Mobile Bay, Alabama, lawsuits are in varying states
of preparation to oppose ExxonMobil's proposal to retool a former US Navy
site into a regasification terminal with connections to pipelines running
New York, the mid-west and Florida.
Landowners will be suing for a fall in prices of real
estate located within three miles (4.8 kilometres) of the site.
‘The Alabama lawyers are also going to sue the Port
Authority to stop the sale of the property on the grounds that it is being
undersold,’ says California personal injury lawyer Tim Riley, whose
website timrileylaw.com is an unofficial US chatroom for anti-LNG
campaigners. In California, Riley is promoting a letter-writing campaign
to local lawmakers to oppose two offshore LNG plants proposed by BHP and
local group Crystal Energy.
At public hearings, he talks of a catastrophic LNG
future filled with mass destruction and death as the super-cooled natural
gas is ignited by either accident, negligence or a terrorist act.
‘Only the construction of nuclear energy plants on
our beaches could be worse for all the communities from
Santa Barbara to Malibu,’ says Riley on his website.
‘We can get by without the new LNG terminals if there
is better regulation and penalties for the manipulation of the energy
trading markets to artificially raise prices as was done a few years ago.
I think things will be a lot better off for everybody without them,’ he
Bob Nimocks of LNG research company Zeus Development
is not sure why there does not seem to be the same amount of opposition to
LNG projects in Europe even though Europeans are considered more conscious
of environmental matters than Americans.
The LNG companies are looking to site regasification
facilities close to the Lower 48 States at points where they have access
to multiple pipelines that connect them to a variety of relatively
Citizens say ‘not in my back yard’ for a variety of
reasons, including fear of deadly explosions, traffic being halted if a
tanker goes under a bridge, destruction of wetlands, disturbance of
fishing grounds, devaluation of tourism potential and because many find
mega-industrial facilities an eyesore.
“Launched in November 1996,
Upstream is one of the most respected newspapers in the oil and gas
industry. The new 24-hour online service is generated by the very same
expert reporters who consistently deliver top-quality stories. The service
will provide round-the-clock news, five days a week, published "real-time"
from our offices in Asia, Europe and America.
Upstreamonline provides you with links to related
stories and offers open access to its comprehensive archive, which dates
back to the newspaper's launch. Additional features are planned to
complement the service for Upstream subscribers. Upstream supplies its
readers in over 94 countries with a hard-hitting mix of news, politics,
topical features, opinion, personal profiles and market information from
every corner of the globe.” [By subscription only].
DOW JONES NEWSWIRE
11-19-03 1614 ET
As LNG Imports Soar, Safety Concerns Are Hotly Debated
By Spencer Jakab
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones) -- Surging U.S. imports of
liquefied natural gas are facing a public backlash over the safety of the
huge tankers used to transport the fuel.
Analysts expect LNG's market share to grow from just
over 1% of overall gas supply last year to about 13% by 2025. Much of it
is shipped in tankers that typically hold the equivalent of 20 billion
gallons of natural gas and which some worry could be the target of
"It's such a tremendous source of destruction that
they don't need a bomb," said Tim Riley, a lawyer in
Oxnard Shores, Calif., who has been a vocal critic of
plans to build an LNG receiving terminal near his community.
Foes of LNG development point to the fact that the
potential energy content of a single LNG tanker, which contains natural
gas that is supercooled to 260 degrees Fahrenheit and concentrated to
1/600th of its normal gaseous volume, is equivalent to 700 tons of TNT or
about 55 times the atomic bomb that destroyed
But representatives of the industry and the U.S.
Department of Energy insist that LNG has an admirable safety record since
large-scale commercial shipment began in the 1960s.
Doug Quillen, an executive with ChevronTexaco Corp. (CVX),
writes: "Liquefied natural gas tankers have been run aground, experienced
loss of containment, suffered weather damage, been subjected to low
temperature embrittlement from cargo spillage, suffered engine room fires,
and been involved in serious collisions with other vessels - no cargo
Critics, however, cite an LNG spill in
Cleveland in 1944 of 5% of the volume contained in a
modern tanker that left 128 people dead and 225 injured. The industry
counters that it has since learned much more about how to safely store the
supercooled liquid, including the use of double-hulled nickel-alloy tanks,
and that storage and unloading facilities are no longer located near
residential areas. "LNG tankers are inherently much more robust than
typical crude, fuel and chemical tankers," according to Quillen.
Studies Say Tanks Could Be Ruptured
Opponents such as Riley are unconvinced. "Look at the
USS Cole – forget double hulls." A study prepared for the Pentagon in 1982
by Amory and L. Hunter Lovins on energy security concluded of LNG tanks
that "proneness to brittle fracture implies that relatively small
disruptions by sabotage, earthquake, objects flung at the tank by high
winds, etc. could well cause immediate, massive failure of an above grade
LNG tank." A General Accounting Office study similarly concluded that
"tanks afford limited protection even against non-military small arms
But the industry's safety arguments point out that
even if such an incident cannot be ruled out, LNG is not explosive, as
proven by both laboratory tests and years of practical experience. A video
statement by chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Alan Heeger on Shell's
website says that "anything capable of piercing a double-hulled carrier or
storage tank would almost certainly ignite the escaping gas," thus
limiting the fire to the immediate vicinity. Shell is part of Royal Dutch
Petroleum Co. (RD).
Indeed, many countries, especially in East Asia and
Europe that are far more dependent on LNG imports than the U.S. have never
experienced such accidents. LNG is only flammable once it has turned back
into gaseous form and only once it has reached a concentration between
5-15% in the air, its so-called "lower flammability limit" or LFL.
But LFL is what makes LNG so dangerous according to
Riley. He points out that a local study done in 1977 said a severe 125,000
cubic meter tanker spill could create a vapor cloud that would spread up
to 30 miles before ignition.
Energy executives, the DOE and the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission have cited a study by Oklahoma-based QUEST
consultants that analyzes various scenarios involving tank punctures and
atmospheric conditions and concludes that any fire would remain relatively
close to its source, about 470 feet, and would create "radiant flux
levels" harmful to humans within roughly 1,770 feet for a 5 meter
puncture. This study was cited when LNG tankers were allowed to reenter
Boston Harbor after a brief ban following the Sept.
QUEST Study Becomes Source Of Controversy
As if the subject were not rancorous enough, now the
QUEST study itself is a source of controversy. Prominent scientists,
notably Dr. James Fay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have
disputed its findings and have pointed out that it was never subject to
peer review or submitted to a scientific journal. The author of the study
even expressed surprise in an interview at its widespread use and said
that it was done on short notice for what he understood to be internal
purposes. For reasons that remain unclear, the DOE at one point denied
commissioning the study but later backtracked when QUEST confirmed it was
hired by the department.
Rep. James Markey, who represents the district in
Massachusetts where one of the four U.S. LNG import facilities is located,
demanded clarification in public letters to Energy secretary Spencer
Abraham and FERC Chairman Pat Wood on Nov. 7. "It's peculiar given that
the author of the study said it was a quick and dirty study and not meant
for these purposes," said Jeff Duncan of Markey's office.
Professor Fay, an expert on hazardous material
dispersion, says the extent of spills could go well beyond proposed site
boundaries for sites being planned. He wrote earlier this month: "For all
credible spills, including terrorist attacks on the storage tank and LNG
tanker, the danger zone for humans extends nearly two miles from the
terminal site," a distance several times greater than the QUEST study
Whatever the outcome of the safety debate, observers
of the industry doubt that development can be halted due to the pressing
economic need for such facilities. The only exception would be if there
were an accident that put a chill on development the way that the Three
Mile Island and Chernobyl events stopped the nuclear industry in its
Ben Smith, an LNG expert and managing partner of gas
industry watcher Enercast.com, thinks that protests may delay development
or make it more expensive but won't halt it. "You have to compare it to
the alternatives and right now LNG is the best option," he said. Still, he
says that concerned citizens such as Riley play an important role. "We
need these people out there lobbying so that the right precautions are in
(END) Dow Jones Newswires