A phalanx of 150 opponents of a planned gas port off Long Beach yesterday held hands and gazed out over the ocean, temporarily shielding it and their city from pollution and other risks.
"I would hate to see the seashore damaged by liquefied natural gas," said Nancy Golden, 65, a lifelong Long Beach resident. Like many protesters, she preferred a plan for a wind farm.
"I'm sure there are other options. The wind farms are much nicer to look at -- and not toxic."
Liberty Natural Gas' plan to build a terminal for liquefied natural gas about 18 miles offshore is being reviewed by federal officials.
Company officials say the port will curb seasonal spikes in fuel prices.
"Port Ambrose is needed, safe and will reduce energy costs for New York consumers," company chief executive Roger Whelan said in a statement.
Opponents counter that renewable energy is far less polluting, and does not speed global warming.
"It's just the idea of a natural gas port in this beautiful, pristine place," said Johanna Mathieson of Long Beach.
"My extended family lives here in Long Beach and I want them to stay healthy," said Ellen Durant, 81, of Manhattan.
The New York City Council last week called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to veto the project. Several speakers at Saturday's protest urged Cuomo to reject Port Ambrose the way he banned the natural gas drilling practice called fracking.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also holds veto power.
GOP Assemb. Brian Curran, noting he represents Lynbrook, not Long Beach, assured the crowd their cause had widespread regional support.
New York and federal officials, who have received thousands of negative public comments, also have raised numerous questions about the draft environmental impact statement.
The New York Power Authority said the port might cover as much as 20 percent of the area sought for a wind farm. The company has said it would take up only 4 percent of that site.