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    Councilwoman Gabelich Says Serious Concerns Raised About Safety & Benefit To Residents Of LNG Facility Proposed in PoLB, Seeks Study Session On Appropriateness Of Locating Facility In LB

    (January 3, 2005) -- Telling her Council colleagues that "serious concerns have been raised about the safety of...[a proposed] LNG facility in Long Beach, as well as the ultimate benefit to the residents of Long Beach," 8th district Councilwoman Rae Gabelich has agendized an item for the Jan. 4th City Council meeting seeking a study session within 60 days "to receive staff and public input on the appropriateness of locating an LNG facility in Long Beach."

    In a memo accompanying her item for the January 4th Council meeting, Councilwoman Gabelich writes:

    In May, 2003, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners and Sound Energy Solutions (SES) entered into a letter of intent to consider the feasibility of a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on the eastern portion of Pier T in the Port of Long Beach.

    On May 13, 2003, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with SES for the purpose of discussions concerning a future long-term gas contract and the feasibility and development, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of gas pipelines to the proposed LNG facility.

    While the City Council action at that time was non-binding, it did assume the likelihood that an LNG facility would be located in the Port of Long Beach.

    Since that time, it has become more evident that the location of an LNG facility within Long Beach would have a direct and serious impact upon the quality of life of the City's residents.

    A recent report prepared by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy studied the risks and consequences of importing LNG by tanker into U.S. harbors. The report concluded, in part, that an attack on an LNG tanker could conceivably lead to an intense 550-yard radius of fire, while damage from the fire's heat could reach up to a mile away.

    Based on subsequent community input and information, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of such an LNG facility in Long Beach, as well as the ultimate benefit to the residents of Long Beach.

    Suggested Action:

    Request a study session within 60 days to receive staff and public input on the appropriateness of locating an LNG facility in Long Beach.

    In May 2004 (prior to Ms. Gabelich's election to the City Council) Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Dan Baker (whose districts adjoin and include the Port, respectively, and also include downtown LB) jointly agendized the following item regarding the proposed LNG facility:

    In light of the ongoing concerns expressed by the public regarding the approval processes related to the Sound Energy Solutions’ LNG project, it is our opinion that any existing negotiations between the city and SES should be terminated, and that any deal points that may have been agreed to up to this point should be vacated.

    We hope that our colleagues will support us in this opinion, and direct the City Manager accordingly.

    On the day before the Council meeting, Councilmembers Lowenthal and Baker abruptly withdrew the item.

    Responding to an inquiry by, Mark Taylor, chief of staff to Councilman Baker, said at the time that the item was removed after multiple Councilmembers expressed concerns about a lengthy May 18 agenda with numerous time-consuming issues.

    Councilwoman Lowenthal's chief of staff, Niki Tennant, told at the time, "Unfortunately, when we submit agenda items for agendizing, we often do not know the makeup of the upcoming agenda. We inadvertently chose a very busy agenda upon which to post this item. We've conceded to our colleagues' request that this item not be discussed, due to a very heavy and time-consuming agenda for May 18th."

    The item has not returned since.

    Related coverage:

  • In Depth: We Post Sandia Lab/U.S. DOE Report Guidance on Risk Analysis and Safety Implications of a Large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Spill Over Water; Report's Methodology Includes Caveats

  • Collected coverage of LNG issue

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