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Audubon group opposes LNG plant

The South Shore Audubon Society has added its name to the list of groups opposed to liquid natural gas plants off the New York coast, including the proposed Atlantic Sea Island project south of Long Beach.

The group’s conservation chair, Jim Brown of Long Beach, says a resolution expressing environmental concerns about the project was passed in the fall by directors of the South Shore group, which represents about 1,500 families, and adopted in part last month by the state Audubon Society.

“We don’t need it,” Brown said of LNG. “It’s unnecessary, it’s potentially very dangerous and it contributes to global warming and sea level rise.”

The resolution contends that liquefied natural gas is “significantly more polluting” than domestic natural gas when the cooling, reheating and transporting of the gas is factored in and that “Long Island and the whole region adjoining the New York Bight are very vulnerable to the damaging effects of sea level rise linked to global warming.”

The Bight is the great expanse of shallow ocean between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.

The Atlantic project is pending federal and New York State approval. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie opposes it, and a variety of Long Island politicians and environmentalists and civic groups from here and New Jersey are urging New York Gov. David A. Paterson to do the same.

Project promoters contend that Paterson should wait for the Environmental Impact Statement now nearing completion before making a judgment.

 “Millions of dollars in scientific, environmental and economic data has been researched over the last several years to provide as comprehensive a document as possible for a project that has the means to make a crucial difference in providing competitive natural gas to a region whose energy demand powers the economy,” spokesman Gary Lewi said in an e-mail statement. “It would be irresponsible, and counter to our nation’s current energy policies, to now simply bow to political expedience. Thoughtful people who are tasked with making strategic decisions will ultimately decide whether this project goes forward or not."

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