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    Will Assemblyman Lowenthal Urge Gov. Schwarzenegger To Ask FERC To Do Independent, Individualized Site-Specific Safety Study Re LNG Facility Proposed in Port of LB? We Post Assemblyman Lowenthal's Answer

    (January 23, 2004) -- On January 14, the Governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) objecting to the issuance of permits related to the proposed construction by Exxon-Mobile of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in Mobile Bay "without an adequate independent, individualized, site specific safety study first being completed and considered." Governor Riley's letter to FERC added:

    "It is my...understanding that once a permit request is received, FERC will have to determine what method to use to ensure that the issuance of such a permit will not compromise the safety of the people of Alabama. I request that FERC perform a study that considers the most credible worst case scenario. This must include an in-depth, individualized, independent study that is site specific to the Mobile Bay area. I also ask FERC to consider any input from the United States Coast Guard regarding its analysis of any potential threats posed by this facility or by the transport of LNG through Mobile Bay. Only in this way, can FERC make an informed decision and can all parties concerned be apprised of the actual possible outcomes of an accident or terrorist attack. This will provide the public with the information necessary to know and understand the possible danger zones surrounding the facility and provide me with critical information to calculate the necessary co-ordination of security and rescue response measures needed for such a facility. Without credible, reliable information, I cannot support the construction of such a facility in this State and I trust that FERC will not either."

    As previously reported by, a Mitsubishi subsidiary ("Sound Energy Solutions") proposes to construct an LNG facility in the Port of LB and will be seeking FERC approval for it.

    The firms pursuing the Alabama and CA projects are different and the two facilities and sites may differ in some respects. (We know the L.A.-LB port complex is the second largest port facility in the country, which Mobile Bay is not).

    However, since the Port of LB is within the Assembly district of Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-San Pedro-PV), in our opinion a proposal to construct an onshore LNG facility roughly two miles from LB City Hall (with some neighborhoods nearer) invites a fair question:

    Will Assemblyman Lowenthal urge CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to request that FERC conduct an independent, individualized, in depth safety study of the Long Beach proposal, and will Assemblyman Lowenthal withhold his support for the Long Beach LNG project until such an independent safety study is performed and evaluated?

    We posed the question to Assemblyman Lowenthal at a January 19, 2004 meeting of the Hubert Humphrey Democratic Club in Cerritos...and he asked that we allow him the opportunity to see exactly what the Alabama Governor had said before he responded. We agreed.

    On January 22, Assemblyman Lowenthal's office emailed us his response. We post it below:

    I agree with Governor Riley of Alabama that a site specific, in depth, individualized review of all potential concerns regarding the siting of a Liquefied Natural Gas facility needs to be completed. However, I am not familiar with Alabama’s environmental review processes’, and therefore cannot comment intelligently regarding the Governor’s request of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Furthermore, I am not sure that a FERC review would be as specific as the State of California’s own review process.

    While I trust California's environmental review and siting process, I do agree with Alabama’s Governor, that any review should include "an in-depth, individualized, independent study that is site specific."

    The safety of community is of paramount importance and must be the overriding factor in any decision. If California’s process does not include the above-mentioned components, then I would request that Governor Schwarzenegger makes sure that this does happen.

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