CCA Alabama Call to Action

Gov. Riley Stands by Commitment to Conservation

Posted on June 09, 2006

MONTGOMERY, AL – As the clock ticked down on a permit sought by ConocoPhillips to operate an open-loop liquefied natural gas terminal 11 miles south of Dauphin Island, Gov. Bob Riley remained firm on his pledge to protect the marine resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The result was the withdrawal of the permit application and a victory for conservation.

“Gov. Riley has stood fast on this issue and we applaud his strong stance supporting our state’s marine resources,” said Manning McPhillips, past-chairman of CCA Alabama. “He listened to the concerns of sportsmen and conservationists -- and kept his commitment.”
 
ConocoPhillips was the latest of a string of energy companies seeking permits for offshore facilities in the Gulf to receive and process LNG using an open-loop system to reheat the gas. The open-loop system heats liquefied gas back into a gaseous state by circulating seawater through a radiator-like system. The system can filter more than 100 million of gallons of seawater per day and chlorinates it to prevent fouling of the intake pipe, creating the potential to kill billions of fish eggs, larvae and plankton annually.
 
Last month Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour both vetoed an open-loop terminal proposed by McMoRan Exploration off the Louisiana coast. That company has since said it intends to pursue the project using closed-loop technology which is significantly less harmful to the marine environment.
 
“The governors’ refusal to allow harmful reheating technology does not mean these projects cannot go forward. CCA is not opposed to ConocoPhillips developing this facility as long as does not use this risky technology,” said Pat Murray, CCA Director of Conservation. “The message being delivered by the Gulf Coast governors is simple: There is a better way, one that does not jeopardize the resources that so many people value so greatly.”
 
CCA has worked extensively to prevent use of the technology in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past year, CCA has testified at public hearings, engaged its membership to send thousands of emails and worked with state officials and federal agencies to remove open-loop technology as an option in the Gulf.
 
“Gov. Riley’s stance on this issue represents a major victory for good stewardship of our resources. We thank him for his continuing commitment to the people and resources of Alabama,” said McPhillips. “ConocoPhillips recognized the strong opposition to this technology and did the right thing in withdrawing their application.”
 
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CCA Calls on Gov. Riley to Stand Firm on LNG Terminals
 
 MOBILE, AL – A standing-room-only crowd at a public hearing in Mobile last month delivered a strong message against the use of open-loop liquefied natural gas terminals in the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Conservation Association Alabama is urging Gov. Bob Riley to not allow the state’s marine resources to be subjected to the unnecessary risk posed by these terminals.
 
“Gov. Riley pledged last year to veto any facility using open-loop technology, and we believe he will keep that promise and veto the open-loop LNG terminal that ConocoPhillips proposes to build 11 miles south of Dauphin Island,” said Dan Dumont, CCA Alabama president. “Gov. Riley has always been a strong supporter of conservation and recreational fishermen across the Gulf applaud his strong stance supporting our marine resources.”
 
CCA opposes terminals that use “open rack” vaporization systems, also referred to as open-loop systems. These types of LNG terminals receive imported liquefied gas and convert it back to a gaseous state by circulating seawater through a radiator-like system to reheat it. An open-loop system can filter more than 100 million gallons of seawater per day, then chlorinates it to prevent fouling in the intake pipe, creating the potential to kill billions of fish eggs, larvae and plankton annually.
 
In recent letters sent to the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, CCA has called on elected officials to protect the Gulf’s marine resources from the potential damage posed by open-loop technology.
 
“We recognize the need for these terminals to provide an important product for America. But we also realize that this goal can be achieved without taking such a huge risk with our marine resources,” said Pat Murray, CCA Director of Conservation.
 
ConocoPhillips is seeking federal approval for the proposed terminal. Even though such terminals are licensed by the federal government, the governors of impacted states have a say in the process. The deadline for Gov. Riley to make a decision on whether to allow the Compass Port terminal to use open-loop technology is June 11.
 
“Our problem is not with ConocoPhillips; it is with the technology they propose to use. Simply put, we’re not prepared to accept harm to our natural resources so that LNG terminals can operate more cheaply,” said Dumont. “We are very pleased that Gov. Riley listened to the concerns of conservationists at this meeting, and gave his support to Gov. Blanco of Louisiana when she recently vetoed a similar project that threatened her state’s marine resources. We are hopeful Gov. Riley will take the same strong stand for conservation.”
 
Alabama’s Coastal Resources
Need Your Help!
 
Join fellow conservationists in showing Gov. Riley
 that you want him to veto “open-loop” LNG 
off Alabama’s coast. Your voice will make a difference 
in this critical fight for our marine resources.
 
May 24, 10:00 a.m.
International Trade Center
250 N. Water St.
Mobile, Alabama
 
Show Gov. Riley that open-loop LNG 
is an unnecessary threat to your coastal resources!
 
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April 2006
 
ConocoPhillips – Compass Port LNG Terminal
Dauphin Island, Alabama
 
 Coastal Conservation Association Testimony
 
Coastal Conservation Association is a grassroots organization with 90,000 members in 15 state chapters dedicated to the conservation, promotion and enhancement of the present and future availability of coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. CCA has been active in local, state and federal fishery management issues for more than a quarter century.
 
We are here today to formally, and strongly, oppose the use of open-rack vaporization technology for the Compass Port Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal proposed by ConocoPhillips 11 miles south of Dauphin Island, Alabama.
 
Coastal Conservation Association has studied the issue of open-rack vaporization and concluded that the concerns voiced by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, among others, are simply too great to be ignored.
 
CCA rejects assertions that open-loop LNG facilities will have minimal adverse impacts on marine resources. There is simply not enough data to make that claim. CCA is concerned about impacts to the entire marine ecosystem, from predators to plankton. No science has been produced yet that can demonstrate minimal impacts to that wide range of organisms. No one knows what the true impact will be because no one knows exactly what is floating in the Gulf at all depths at all times of year.
 
CCA is opposed to open-loop systems for the simple reason that there are still too many questions left unanswered about the impact of not just this one terminal, but several operating all together in the Gulf of Mexico. The effects of chilling and chlorinating hundreds of millions of gallons of seawater every single day are likely to be profound and far-reaching.
 
Particularly relevant to this debate is the recent release of a draft guidance document from the National Marine Fisheries Service on March 21 in which the agency declared…
“Closed-loop systems are the ‘best available technology and a best practice’ for avoiding or minimizing impacts on the marine and coastal environment.”
The risk to our marine resources is significant and unnecessary. Conservationists are aware of the very real need to supply energy to the country, but that does not require us to risk unknown damage to populations of marine species when there are other viable technologies that can balance our energy needs with our responsibility to protect the marine ecosystem as fully as possible.
 
It is a founding principle of CCA to err on the side of caution in conservation matters where the science is not currently adequate to determine long-term results. We have expended enormous amounts of energy and money to save, restore and protect the resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers who have worked to better steward those resources will not stand idle and watch that work jeopardized by the unnecessary use of open-loop technology.
 
There are reasonable alternatives to open-loop systems that do far less damage to the marine environment, alternatives that do not represent such a huge gamble. CCA is adamant that ConocoPhillips not be allowed to gamble with our marine resources and that a permit for an open-loop system be denied.
 
On behalf of the 90,000 members of CCA, thank you for the opportunity to present our concerns over this application and to provide comments.
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 2006
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH
 
Conservationists Call on Governors to Keep LNG Pledge 
 
HOUSTON, TX – The Coastal Conservation Association today called on the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to veto the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal that McMoRan Exploration proposes to build 16 miles off the Louisiana coast. The proposed facility along Louisiana’s eastern border is proximate to the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.
 
“Because of the potential environmental harm they can cause, the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have all spoken out against the type of LNG terminal that McMoRan Exploration is proposing,” said Chester Brewer, vice chairman of CCA’s National Government Affairs Committee. “CCA and our tens of thousands of members nationwide are now calling on the governors to exercise the veto power that they have to stop such terminals. The three governors took courageous stands to protect our marine resources in opposing this type of terminal and we’re asking them not to back off of their pledges.”
 
CCA and the governors are opposed to terminals that use “open rack” vaporization systems, also referred to as open-loop systems. LNG terminals receive imported liquefied gas and convert it back to a gaseous state by circulating seawater through a radiator-like system to reheat it. Each open-loop system filters more than 100 million gallons of seawater per day, then chlorinates it to prevent fouling in the intake pipe, creating the potential to kill billions of fish eggs, larvae and plankton annually.
 
McMoRan Exploration is seeking federal approval for the proposed terminal. Even though such terminals are licensed by the federal government, the governors of impacted states have a say in the process.
 
On the other hand, an alternate technology referred to as “closed-loop” is less harmful to marine resources. The National Marine Fisheries Service recently cited closed-loop systems as the best available technology and a best practice for avoiding or minimizing impacts on the marine and coastal environment.
 
In letters to Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana, Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, CCA is calling on them to balance energy needs with the responsibility to protect the marine ecosystem as fully as possible.
 
“CCA has no problem with LNG terminals that are environmentally friendly and we have no problem with the companies that want to build them,” said Nelson Roth, Jr, president of CCA Louisiana. “Our problem is with the technology they propose to use. Simply put, we’re not prepared to accept harm to our natural resources so that LNG terminals can operate more cheaply.
 
“Supplying energy to the country does not require us to risk unknown damage to populations of marine species when there are other viable technologies that can balance our need for energy with the fragility of the marine ecosystem.”
 
The McMoRan project is only the latest of several open-loop LNG terminals that have been proposed in the Gulf of Mexico by various energy companies.
 
“Clearly we do not have to take such a huge gamble with our marine resources for these terminals to serve their purpose,” said Pat Murray, CCA Director of Conservation. “No one knows how much damage a string of open-loop terminals will do in the Gulf of Mexico so the governors were wise to pledge their opposition last year.”