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Cuomo kills gas transfer station

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a letter of intent Thursday to veto a proposed liquid natural gas facility.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism.  

The Port Ambrose transfer station was to be built off of  the beaches of Long Island, and would have allowed tanker ships to load up with liquefied natural gas, then distribute the gas into pipelines on the main land.

Cuomo made the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd of Long Island officials and activists.

Cuomo, in a letter to the federal officials, says there are too many concerns about the project, including possible damage from future superstorms like Hurricane Sandy three years ago,  and even potential terrorist attacks.

“We know that al-Qaida has spoken about LNG terminals as a possible terrorist threat,” Cuomo said. “We know that New York is on the opt of the list of terrorist targets, so that is a very real concern.”

The  gas transfer station would have been built in the same location where an off- shore windfarm has also been proposed.  Cuomo says the two projects could not coexist.  He says if anything went wrong with the gas transfer station,  the coastline, including Jones Beach, would be irreparably harmed.

“This is really a sensitive jewel that we have been given to hold in public trust,” Cuomo said.

And the governor, himself an avid fisherman, says the plant would have harmed New York’s fishing industry.

Cuomo, who banned hydrofracking in New York last year, was lauded by environmental groups.

Julia Walsh, with Frack Action, says she hopes that the governor will now act to stop the expansion or building of new gas pipelines in Westchester County, near the Indian Point Nuclear power plant, and upstate across Schoharie, Albany and Rensselaer counties. She says there’s growing awareness that the pipelines can be harmful. She says the numerous compressor stations required to be located along the pipelines can be “toxic."

“We’re hearing more and more about the pollution and sickness that Americans across the country are experiencing because of these pipelines and compressor stations,” Walsh said.

The Ambrose Point project, needed the okay of the New York governor in order to proceed, the state has less jurisdiction in the case of the upstate pipeline projects. But Walsh says she hopes Cuomo, who has often taken executive action to do among other things, raise wages for fast food workers, can find a way.

“We believe he has the power to stop these projects,” Walsh said.

The head of the company that wanted to build the transfer station, Liberty Natural Gas, says he is “disappointed and very surprised” with Cuomo’s decision. Liberty’s Roger Whelan says he thought the safety and environmental concerns raised by the governor had already been addressed and dismissed in the final environmental impact statement.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.