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Broadwater abandons gas terminal Sound plan

Broadwater Energy has abandoned its controversial plan to build and operate a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

Houston-based Broadwater Energy Llc made its intentions known in a letter asking a federal panel to vacate permits it had granted to the project.

"Broadwater has not commenced construction of the pipeline or the LNG facility to which it was intended to connect," said the March 7 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from Broadwater attorney Kenneth L. Wiseman of Washington, D.C.

The letter continued, "Moreover, Broadwater has determined not to go forward with any aspect of the LNG project. Accordingly, it respectfully requests that the commission vacate the certificates issued" in March 2008.

The Broadwater project suffered a setback in 2009 after the U.S. Department of Commerce upheld New York State's rejection of the project on environmental and aesthetic grounds. Broadwater wanted to build the terminal in the Sound between Wading River and the Connecticut shoreline.

The Commerce Department's decision meant that Broadwater, in a joint venture with Shell and TransCanada, had three options: abandon the project, modify it or try to overturn it.

Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TransCanada, said in an email: "We determined that we would not move forward on the project due to changes in the Northeast gas supply."

Matthew Cordaro, an energy expert who is co-chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature's LIPA Oversight Committee, said an LNG terminal in the Sound "is not as economic as it once was," citing the decline in natural gas prices and the availability in recent years of more gas sources in the state.

Nevertheless, Cordaro said the project, when initially proposed, "deserved serious consideration and not just written off because of hysterical and dramatic concerns over accidents that could not occur."

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment in Farmingdale, however, was thrilled with Broadwater's decision, calling it "death blow for an ill-conceived monstrosity. It was dangerous, unnecessary and way too damaging to the Long Island Sound."

Craig Cano, a commission spokesman, said FERC "will take subsequent action on the request," though he couldn't say when that might be. "Until the commission takes final action on the request to vacate the certificates, they remain in effect."

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