Environmental groups gear up to fight liquefied natural gas terminal off N.J. coast

Public hearings are planned this week on a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal about 20 miles off the coast of Long Branch in New Jersey.

More than two years after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the project, Liberty Natural Gas has submitted an application for a new design.

The proposal comes at a vulnerable time for Jersey Shore communities, according to Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action

“We’re trying to rebuild. We’re trying to restore, and they are on a fast track,” she said. “This project is moving faster than anything I’ve ever seen, and they’re doing it at a time when we’re trying to restore our communities. So we’re doing the best we can to fight back.”

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Zipf says the terminal and a pipeline to carry the gas could pose environmental and safety risks.

“You’re talking about putting a liquefied natural gas tanker, which can be very explosive, right in the pathway of chemical tankers, oil tankers, coming in and out of the harbor,” she said. “So you’re talking about a navigational risk which can have extraordinary devastating consequences.”

In his 2011 veto, the governor seems to agree with Zipf’s assessment. Christie said offshore liquefied natural gas poses unacceptable risks to the state’s natural resources, economy, and security.

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