Thursday, August 18, 2005

Long Beach struggles with LNG decision

The City of Long Beach is struggling with plans to open a liquefied natural gas terminal in its port.

A proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in the Port of Long Beach provoked a messy debate Tuesday among the City Council, which considered but stopped short of taking a formal position on the project after the city attorney warned against any such vote.

The debate was sparked by an agenda item that asked the council to request the Harbor Commission make public safety the "overriding consideration" of the project. The Harbor Commission will have final say over the proposal.

The council voted unanimously to make that request to the commission, although the discussion took numerous turns to get there.

The debate ignited a testy exchange on the merits of the terminal itself, with Councilman Frank Colonna at one point proposing that the council take an immediate position on the project. Colonna withdrew the request after City Attorney Bob Shannon warned that there had been no public notice for such a vote and cautioned that the council would "look pretty silly" if it proceeded.

After the meeting, however, an aide to Colonna said the councilman will seek a formal council vote on the project at the council's Aug. 23 meeting.

No worries, though, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will make their minds up for them!