(April 9, 2007, updated) -- The CA State Lands Commission voted 2-1 on Monday night (April 9) not to grant a lease needed to operate an offshore LNG terminal proposed roughly 14 miles off the coast of Malibu and about 20 miles off Oxnard.
Australia-based BHP Billiton proposed to bring chilled liquefied LNG by tanker, heat it offshore (restoring it gaseous state), then send it onshore via pipelines. Opponents, who included some Malibu celebrities, outnumbered supporters at a heavily attended SLC meeting in Oxnard.
The key vote was the SLC vote to deny BHP a lease that would have let the firm build two pipelines from the offshore terminal to the Ventura County coast...a route corssing about four and a half miles of state lands.
[update] Following the SLC vote, Governor Schwarzenegger's office released the following statement...which leaves the next steps unclear:
I have always said that California must have a diverse, dependable and environmentally sound mix of energy supplies to meet the needs of our people and our economy. And as California continues to lead the nation in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, guaranteeing a steady source of clean-burning fuel takes on even greater significance. We must remember that our efforts to reduce carbon based, dirty energy in California creates a responsibility to ensure our state has ample clean energy.
Hearings this week on a proposed liquefied natural gas facility 14 miles off the Southern California coast are of vital importance to our state's future, and I approach my decision-making role in that process very, very seriously.
It would be inappropriate for me to take a position on any application before the review process is complete, but I do believe that liquefied natural gas should be a part of California's energy portfolio. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel and an LNG facility to serve our state would make California less vulnerable to variations in supply and price.
Despite the action taken today by the State Lands Commission, my office, pursuant to federal law, is using the allotted 45-day review period to make sure that the project meets strict standards of public and environmental safety.
The SLC also voted not to certify the project EIR which said the terminal would create noise, emissions and risked a fire if a ship collided with the offshore terminal...and while impacts could be mitigated, some remained significant and unavoidable.
Two separate LNG projects have been proposed in the LB area. An onshore 80+ million gallon facility in the Port of LB is being sought by Mitsubishi-Conoco subsidiary "Sound Energy Solutions." As previously reported by LBReport.com, LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners voted in January not to proceed with an EIR on the SES proposal; SES is challenging the Port's action in court and has submitted a damage claim to the City of LB; separate proceedings on the SES application remain pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Meanwhile, an offshore LNG terminal has been proposed by another firm off the coast of Huntington Beach...with pipelines surfacing in southeast Long Beach [and possibly triggering issues similar to the Malibu/Oxnard offshore proposal.]
The SLC, which oversees use of state lands, consists of three members: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi; State Controller John Chiang and Dir. of Finance Michael Genest. Garamendi and Chiang voted "no"; an alternate voted "yes" for Finance Dir. Genest.