Monday, May 21, 2007

Malibu LNG Project Terminated

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a proposal to build a terminal for importing liquefied natural gas 20 miles off the coast of Malibu on May 20 citing environmental problems of air quality and protection of coastal and marine environments. Specifically, the environmental reviews concluded that the project would contribute to smog and global warming, harm marine mammals, ocean views and birds near Channel Islands National Park.

The governor's letter to the U.S. Maritime Administration backed up earlier rejections from the state Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission of the proposal from BHP Billiton, an Australian mining and energy company. The project would have brought liquefied natural gas from Australia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. BHP Billiton filed its application in 2003. The Center backed the project because it would bring affordably priced natural gas to generate electricity for factories, stores and homes.

Other companies working on LNG plans in California include Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Northernstar Natural Gas Inc. The port of Long Beach in Southern California in January voted to block a facility proposed by ConocoPhillips and Mitsubishi Co. Another project south of California, a land-based plant, which could serve Southern California, is nearing completion in Baja California, Mexico.

Texas and Louisiana have proven more receptive to such projects. Four U.S. LNG plants are being developed along the Gulf Coast in those states by companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, Sempra Energy and Cheniere Energy Inc. Sempra is also building a plant in the Baja California region of Mexico.

A state law signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006 increased the demand for natural gas by prohibiting the importation of electricity to California by coal-fired, out-of-state power plants. (Barbara Boxer Statement) (L.A. Times)

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