Plans to more than double the storage capacity for liquid natural gas at Savannah's Elba Island terminal have moved closer to reality as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has concluded the project is not likely to cause significant environmental harm.Of course, fear-mongers walk among us:
Elba is one of only four import terminals for liquid natural gas in the continental United States. Plans to build dozens more have met with community opposition from Maine to California, particularly in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.I doubt much would.
But Elba's proposed expansion has met with little debate.
"Community after community, we've asked less questions than anybody else," Jennings said. "It's like the heat has fried our brains."
The Sierra Club and the Savannah Riverkeeper commented on the draft environmental impact statement, as did dozens of concerned landowners along the pipeline route.
LNG is methane that has been cooled to ultra-low temperatures to condense it for transport and storage. Critics worry that incoming tankers or the import facility itself could be the target of a terrorist attack.
Experts suggest a catastrophic attack on a tanker at the terminal or on the tanks could produce a fire so large and hot that a two-mile buffer would be needed to avoid burns to exposed skin.
Accidents are also a worry. In March 2006, the 940-foot-long tanker Golar Freeze pulled away from its moorings on Elba after a passing ship created a surge.
The fact that no spill occurred does not comfort Jennings.
More info on the LNG facility from its owner, El Paso Corporation (from which, I should note, I will someday receive a pension) here.
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