Governor Andrew Cuomo last week vetoed a proposed marine port for importing liquified natural gas (LNG) located 19 miles off the coast of New York City.
Earlier in the year, the City Council passed a resolution urging Cuomo to use his veto power, and Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder and 52 other elected officials sent a letter to Cuomo asking him to do the same.
“I must applaud Governor Cuomo’s decisive stand for the safety and well-being of our residents,” said Councilman Donovan Richards.
Richards cited the concerns from his constituents – over the summer detractors of the port held a rally in Rockaway Beach drawing a symbolic “line in the sand” – and fellow elected officials as a reason to celebrate the decision.
“The collective reaction of the community and elected officials was clear,” Richards said. “The Cuomo administration had a choice between increasing our state’s reliance on natural gas, which is more harmful than other carbon-based emissions, or committing to helping New York meet its energy efficient goals.
“The choice for the future of our water, our city, and our state was clear,” he added, “the Port Ambrose veto was essential.”
In his veto statement, Cuomo cited questions surrounding the project relating to security and the impact a potential catastrophic storm could have on the port and the environment. It would also prove damaging to the squid and scallop industry and conflict with a proposed offshore wind farm.
State Senator Joe Addabbo, also a strong opponent of the proposal, echoed those safety concerns.
“Governor Cuomo’s decision to veto the Port Ambrose LNG proposal is a huge victory for the people of Rockaway and those who have fought against this project since day one,” he said. “The Port Ambrose project was not in line with the values that New York places on protecting our environment and would have put not only the environment at risk, but the people who live on the Rockaway peninsula as well.”
According to Richards, it was the second attempt to get federal licensing for a liquified natural gas port off the shores of New York and New Jersey. In 2011, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a similar project, stating at the time that “offshore LNG poses unacceptable risks to the state’s residents, natural resources, economy and security.”
LNG proponents disputed the safety concerns and cited the large demand for natural gas in New York State as a key reason for their support.