Gov. Christie kills natural gas project off Jersey Shore
Natural gas facility planned for 15 miles off Jersey Coast killed by Gov. Christie, citing environmental concerns.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 21:49
OUT OF GAS: Gov. Christie has pulled the plug on a proposed offshore natural gas rig project, which would look very much like this, citing environmental and tourism concerns. (Photo: Write Pics/Flickr)
Just a couple of weeks ago, I reported that a New Jersey environmental group, Environment New Jersey, issued Gov. Christie's environmental record a scathing grade of C-. Despite the bad grade, they noted that he had plenty of time to improve it, because he had several important environmental decisions approaching.
Just last week he made one of those decisions, and it is sure to improve his environmental grade significantly.
"Gov. Christie stopped a proposed natural-gas facility that was to be built 16 miles off the state's coast, citing the potential environmental risks," Bloomberg Businessweek's Stacie Servetah writes. "The governor, a first-term Republican, said he was using authority granted to him by the federal Deepwater Port Act to veto the project. The decision prevents Liberty Natural Gas from building and operating an offshore port to receive foreign vessels transporting liquid natural gas to the U.S."
According to a statement from Christie's office, the company's proposal also included construction of a nine-mile onshore pipeline from Linden to Perth Amboy, and 44 miles of submerged pipeline to transport as much as 2.4 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas from the deepwater port to the shore.
"I take very seriously our obligation to protect the environmental health of our coastal waters," said Christie. "We must ensure that our 126 miles of shoreline remain an economic driver for tourism and that our fishing and shellfish industries remain healthy and productive now and for future generations."
I'm not entirely sure that this was all about the environment. I can understand the risks of having a natural gas facility close to the shore — potential leaks, explosions and so forth. However, anybody from New Jersey understands the economic importance of the "Jersey Shore." In fact, anybody who watches MTV probably can understand the economic importance of the Jersey Shore. The environment is a large part of the Shore's success, so I can also understand using it as the basis to kill this project.