2005 December 9
by Marie Jones Holmes
"If fences good neighbors make," water boundaries may not be so friendly. In many ways a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Delaware bears a strong resemblance to water-boundary questions that may develop in the Quoddy area between Canada and the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a dispute between New Jersey and Delaware over border-straddling features of a proposed $600 million LNG BP Landing project.
Energy giant British Petroleum (BP) wants to construct a terminal and storage facility that would receive two to three tankers weekly, each carrying 30 to 50 million gallons of natural gas. The catch is that BP's Crown Landing LLC storage tanks would stand in Logan Township, N.J., but most of the 2,000-foot delivery pier would extend onto underwater lands in Delaware. The boundary issue drew objections from Delaware, where environmental regulators ruled that the plan would violate the state's 34-year-old ban on new heavy industries and bulk unloading terminals in the river and nearby lands.
New Jersey earlier this year offered to build and lease the needed pier and docking facilities to BP as part of an effort to assure a quick U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the dispute over Delaware's refusal to issue a permit. BP has indicated it would contribute to economic development projects in the New Jersey county in which Logan Township is located. Economically the New Jersey county is similar to Washington County.
Various groups opposing the plan have raised concerns about the danger of spills and possible terrorist attacks involving the tankers. The Coast Guard last week ruled those risks as manageable if appropriate resources are available for security needs. BP has been asked to outline its security plans.