Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hundreds oppose Long Beach LNG plant

The fiercest opposition to the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal exploded at the Long Beach City Council chambers last night, in a rancor of testimony and protest:

The project has provoked strenuous opposition among residents who fear that an accident or terrorist attack could cause a catastrophic fire. But others have argued vehemently that Long Beach needs the jobs the terminal would provide.

Two proposed California gas terminals have been canceled because of public criticism. If the council votes to terminate negotiations, it will seriously undermine the Long Beach project. Although the city's Harbor Commission holds the power to cancel the project, commissioners would have a difficult time forging ahead in the face of council opposition.

The council meeting attracted residents from across southern Los Angeles County.

Tom Miller, 40, came with his wife, Rebeca Shelley, 38. They are 10-year residents of Long Beach who own the Viento y Agua gallery and coffeehouse.

"We're frightened about the possibilities of liquefied natural gas coming to Long Beach — not only its presence but what could happen in a potential terrorist attack," Miller said. "I just don't trust big business anymore, and the way it works with local government."

The Long Beach City Council seems less than enthusiastic about the project--a decision which, as with the Coliseum and the NFL could whittle down the options to one.