HOUSTON, TX – Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) applauds Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s decision to oppose the licensing of any future offshore liquefied natural gas terminal that proposes to use the open-rack vaporization system, more commonly known as open loop LNG.
Gov. Blanco released a letter today to John Jamian, acting head of the Maritime Administration (MARAD), the agency in charge of issuing LNG permits, in which she echoed the concerns of recreational anglers over the impacts of the terminals.
In her letter, Gov. Blanco stated “…I will oppose the licensing of offshore LNG terminals that will use the open-rack vaporizer system. Until studies demonstrate the operation of the open rack vaporizer will not have an unacceptable impact on the surrounding ecosystem, I will only support offshore LNG terminals using a closed loop system having negligible impacts to marine life.”
“It is clear that Gov. Blanco shares the concerns of sportsmen over the impact these facilities will have on marine resources in the Sportsman’s Paradise,” said David Cummins, CCA president. “This is a courageous and important step in the fight to prevent damage to the nation’s marine resources from the siting and operation of these facilities.”
Gov. Blanco’s decision is especially significant in the wake of MARAD’s recent decision to grant an open-loop permit for a terminal owned by Shell US Gas & Power 38 miles off the coast of Cameron, Louisiana. In that case, MARAD rejected the concerns of CCA, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“CCA fought very hard to get monitoring and mitigation language added to the permit for the Shell facility,” said Jeff Angers, executive director of CCA Louisiana. “We made a 30-year commitment to be the watchdog on the impacts of that terminal. We are very pleased to make another commitment to work with Gov. Blanco to see that closed-loop systems are not just the responsible choice, but the required choice for any other energy company building these terminals.”
A number of other open-loop LNG terminals are planned for the Gulf of Mexico, including one proposed by ConocoPhillips, a mere 11 miles south of Dauphin Island, Ala. The Coast Guard recently announced it was suspending the approval process for that facility to address new concerns from the Environmental Protection Agency about potentially damaging effects on fish populations.
“Clearly there are serious concerns with open-loop LNG systems that cannot be ignored,” said Angers. “We call on the governor of Alabama and the governors of all Gulf coast states to follow the lead of Gov. Blanco and join her in this effort to protect the valuable and irreplaceable resources of the Gulf of Mexico.”