The rough road to LNG
If you want an environmental impact report done right, you’ve got to outline your grievances in a 143-page report yourself. Or so it seems.
Dissatisfied with the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Cabrillo Port Liquid Natural Gas Deepwater Port, the Environmental Defense Center sent a lengthy letter to Dwight Sanders of the California State Lands Commission. The tome, written on behalf of the California Coastal Protection Network, begins by acknowledging the Revised DEIR’s strengths: This time around, the report does recognize some of the air quality impacts of the proposed Cabrillo Port, as well as the fact that safety risks and “visual impacts” from the LNG rig would be more severe than the original report had indicated.
But the letter has little else to say in favor of the Revised DEIR. According to the EDC, the second draft of the report failed to effectively prove that this gas reserve was even necessary and underestimated or completely ignored an “adequate range” of energy alternatives, such as more environmentally-sound options like energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy as a solution to a potential energy shortage in the state. Further, according to the EDC, the revised report overlooked safer technologies related to liquid natural gas than those outlined in the project.
A popular criticism of the proposed Cabrillo Port, a floating LNG terminal that would be located 14 miles off Oxnard’s coast, is that it would not be sound in the event of a natural disaster. To that end, the EDC charges that the Revised DEIR fails to fully consider all “potential accident scenarios,” and that the report used faulty methodology in predicting the port’s performance in the event of earthquake or tsunami. The letter also expresses concern about the port’s “incompatibility” with marine traffic, including Naval operations and shipping commerce.
In the letter from the EDC, the ecological concerns of operating such a port read like a laundry list of environmental damage: negative impact on air and water quality, geological hazards (detailed as earthquakes and tsunamis) and negative impact on terrestrial biology. The EDC warned that the port would intensify California’s reliance on foreign fuels, increase use of limited fossil fuel, and indirectly contribute to global climate change.
According to the EDC, the second report wrongly asserts that whale migration paths do not cross through the project area, which the EDC refers to as “a tremendous omission in the Revised DEIR”; in fact, according to the EDC, the port would negatively impact resident pods and sea life in general with noise pollution and heated water directly released into the ocean from the port.
For all the alleged inadequacies of the Revised DEIR, the letter expressed frustration that neither the U.S. Coast Guard nor the Maritime Administration — referred to as the “federal lead agencies” in this issue — had re-circulated the revised impact report which, for all its shortcomings, did identify enhanced impacts and recognized the weaknesses of the initial DEIR.
Copies of the letter were sent to the U.S. Coast Guard, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Governor Schwarzenegger, California Coastal Commission, and the cities of Oxnard and Malibu.
— Saundra Sorenson
Put that out!
No law-abiding Ventura citizen would dream of lighting up inside a restaurant or shop anymore, but as beaches and parks remain fair game for the smoking among us, community activist Suz Montgomery, through the Parks and Recreation Commission, aims to turn the county toward the Calabasas model of smoke-free public areas.
At the upcoming May 22 City Council meeting, the “No Smoking Resolution for all of our Ventura City Parks and Beaches” will be officially introduced and voted on by the City Council.
If the resolution is approved, “We hope that people will respect the rules,” says City Manager Rick Cole, noting that a lot of behaviors aren’t “criminal in nature,” but fall under the common courtesy category. Because of this, Montgomery’s effort, if passed, will be a resolution and not an ordinance.
Montgomery explains the difference bluntly: “If it’s a resolution that means it’s unenforceable by the cops. The rationale for that is because we don’t have resources to actually pay for enforcement.”
But she hopes that after the first year of this pilot program, a solid assessment will either improve the plan or upgrade the resolution to an ordinance.
In addition, the Ventura County Tobacco Education and Prevention Program will provide educational materials on how to quit smoking. It is Montgomery’s hope that these materials will be distributed to smokers in Ventura’s parks and beaches.
— Saundra Sorenson