City of Long Beach decides to wait on LNG environmental review
The Long Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to wait for an environmental impact report on a proposed LNG terminal in the Port of Long Beach, rather than take a public stance against the project.
The report is due out in fall, and will be used by federal energy regulators to determine if the project site is safe and appropriate for the import of liquefied methane. While the council has no formal decision-making power over the project because it is planned on port property (and thus requires a lease from the port) and would be regulated by officials in Washington, it was thought a public vote of opposition could be a roadblock for the terminal.
Attorneys for the developers of the project, ConocoPhillips and Mitsubishi, said in a letter to Long Beach's City Attorney Robert Shannon that the developers had spent $40 million on the terminal since May 2003, and that a city council vote opposing the project could jeopardize that investment.
The terminal could have an effect, however minimal, on ships arriving at the port (particularly those calling at the neighboring Hanjin terminal) because Coast Guard officials favor caution when LNG tankers enter crowded port areas. Measures used for LNG tankers in Boston include a non-incursion zone, which other harbor traffic is prohibited from entering.