Entrepreneur envisions man-made island to house natural-gas facility

"In another era, such a bold and unconventional proposal might be dismissed as a pipe dream. But it comes as Governor Corzine pushes innovative clean energy projects, such as wind farms off Atlantic City, to make New Jersey a leader in the fight against global warming. And President Obama's policies may lead to more gas-fired rather than coal-burning power plants, increasing demand for natural gas.

The liquefied natural gas project could supply up to 30 percent of the natural gas the region uses to run electric plants, heat homes, and power stoves and other home appliances, according to the investors, the Atlantic Sea Island Group...

...Environmentalists who support the idea say LNG is a relatively clean fuel that could help wean America off its dependence on coal and oil and serve as a stopgap until wind, solar and other renewable energy sources are developed.

Importing liquefied natural gas by tanker poses fewer environmental hazards than drilling for natural gas on the U.S. mainland, Tittel said. Domestic drilling requires chemicals that Tittel said can pollute drinking water aquifers. The environment is also disturbed when pipelines are built to access new sources of natural gas...

...The project has support from trade unions. It would create 90 permanent jobs on the island, and 300 to 500 jobs during construction, Bovers said.

"This country desperately needs infrastructure projects," Bovers said. "Where else do you find a project that could have a positive impact on 30 million people? And we have the best location."

The Nassau Suffolk Building Trades endorsed plans today to build a Safe Harbor Energy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility some 23 miles from New York Harbor and 19 miles from New Jersey. The facility would provide 4 million man-hours of work for construction trades throughout the region while ensuring safe, secure access to this clean, crucial fuel.

James Castellane, President of the Building Trades, stated, “Deemed `complete’ by the Coast Guard after two year’s worth of study and research, this proposal will now undergo a vigorous review by various government agencies that range from security to environmental. But this much is clear: Built on an island far out to sea, it will be distant from populated communities, protective of the ocean environment, and provide us with the means to ensure an adequate supply of LNG that is heating more homes, factories and offices. The building trades intend to be part of the process that gets it built.”

The construction trades represent some 62,000 union members throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties and have been a strong force for progressive construction that protects the economy, the environment and the region’s quality of life.