Another Liquidfied Natural Gas Terminal Receives Regulatory Approval, What Does This Mean For Whales?
Approval for a liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG) on the US East Coast was granted by federal regulators last Thursday. LNG is natural gas that has been supercooled, reducing its volume so it can be transported in a tanker ship. The $700 million LNG facility, to be built by Broadwater Energy in Long Island Sound, was opposed by many regional organizations as well as the Connecticut government. Joseph Kelliher, chairmen of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission defended the decision claiming, "Our environmental review shows that without increased natural gas supplies in the region, consumers will experience higher prices and reduced reliability of natural gas supply," From my perspective, it sounds as if FERC conducted an economic review to justify their decision, rather than a comprehensive review which encompasses impacts of the terminals construction on the local habitat. What does building an LNG terminal have to do with whales anyway? For starters, the construction of the terminal brings an increased amount of acute ocean noise. This noise is a by product of drilling needed for the terminals support beams in the bedrock below and laying down the pipe needed to carry the LNG from the offshore terminal to a shore based facility. There are problems that come with increased noise from shipping traffic in and out of the terminal, not to mention the danger of shipstrikes to whales found in the area. For more information on what you can do to protect whales from the effects of ocean noise, click here.