Monday, June 27, 2005

Row erupts over Governor's LNG remarks

Governor Schwarzenegger's support for the Cabrillo Port LNG terminal has raised tempers along the coast among the NIMBY set:

Project opponents in Ventura County fear the governor's remarks could give the Oxnard project the edge.

"I've taken the opinion from the beginning that, unless proven otherwise, I am strongly opposed to this project. And nothing the governor said has changed that," Oxnard Mayor Tom Holden said Friday.

In nearby Malibu, where many residents dislike the prospect of any offshore energy facility, Mayor Andy Stern also expressed concern about the governor's comments.

"I'm very disappointed he would make up his mind before the process is completed," Stern said. "I'd like the governor to retract his statement and say he has an open mind until all the facts are in."

Of four possible locations, the two getting the most serious attention are the Oxnard proposal from Australia-based BHP and the Long Beach plan by a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corp.

Some critics of the proposed Long Beach terminal two miles from the city's downtown say they are heartened by the governor's preference for an offshore site.

"Having an area offshore is significantly different than putting thousands or hundreds of thousands of people at risk," said Long Beach Councilman Frank Colonna, who opposes the Mitsubishi terminal. "Not that we're opposed to the value of LNG, but let's keep it away from the people."

Those upset by Schwarzenegger's remarks, just as they were when Congress gave onshore LNG siting authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, clearly don't understand that neither the Governor nor the FERC have the final say on the Oxnard project--that will be in the hands of the Coast Guard and State Lands Commission.