Cuomo Vetoes Port Ambrose Offshore LNG Plan

An artists’ rendering of Port Ambrose, a deepwater liquified natural gas port proposed for off the coast of Long Island.

Cheers filled the Long Beach ice rink Thursday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he vetoed Port Ambrose, the controversial Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal that would have been built 20 miles offshore.

The governor cited security, economic and environmental concerns that activists, fishermen and local lawmakers similarly expressed at public hearings over the past two years, when Liberty Natural Gas first proposed the plan.

“When you put all those pieces together, the reward is not worth the risk,” Cuomo said before signing his veto letter to the U.S. Maritime Administration as the crowd looked on.

The announcement came a week after the four final hearings—two in Long Beach, two more in New Jersey—on the proposed deepwater port that would have enabled LNG supertankers to make up to 45 deliveries annually.

In citing security concerns, Cuomo said both terrorism and natural disasters were considered. He reflected on his time in Long Beach after Sandy three years ago while noting the likelihood of another hurricane hitting the region. He also said terrorists have cited LNG as a target.

The biggest environmental concern—aside from the possibility of a spill—was the terminal encroaching on the same area where an offshore wind farm has been proposed. That debate was among the hot topics at the public hearings last week, with proponents and opponents differing on just how much the port would impose upon the windfarm.

“There was no thought to how the two plans could coexist,” Cuomo said.

Before Port Ambrose, Liberty Natural Gas has unsuccessfully tried to build another offshore LNG port closer to New Jersey. This time, the proposal was moved closer to New York, but it was close enough to New Jersey that Gov. Chris Christie also had veto power. Both governors had until the end of the year to nix the plan.

Among those who issued statements supporting Cuomo’s veto were U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), anti-fracking activist actor Mark Ruffalo and a slew of nonprofit environmental groups, including the Surfrider Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as Food and Water Watch and Frack Action.