A resolution opposing a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal off the state’s coast was released by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday, over the objections of business and labor groups.
The measure was opposed by business and labor groups, but won support from environmentalists.
Steven E. Some, who represented terminal developer Liberty Natural Gas, said the project is clean and safe, adding that it would bring jobs to the state and reduce the state’s energy costs. He said the Liberty terminal, proposed for a site 15 miles off Asbury Park, would include more than $800 million in private investment in the state and would create 1,100 jobs.
Both Michael Egenton, of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and Sara Bluhm, of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said the Legislature shouldn’t oppose the terminal before the state has finished re-examining its Energy Master Plan.
“Our feeling is that if we’re truly about economic development, creating jobs and promoting the economy, we’re going to need more energy being provided,” Egenton said.
But Cynthia A. Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, said the terminal would have a devastating effect on the fishing habitat off of the coast.
Zipf also said that there is an abundance of import capacity for LNG, including terminals in New England and Maryland. She added that most of the jobs involved with the gas are in foreign countries, and pointed to BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a warning of what could happen in New Jersey.
“The eyes of the world have witnessed firsthand the dangers inherent in over-industrialization of the ocean,” Zipf said.
Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) expressed concern that the project would not bring as many jobs as its supporters said it would.
Gov. Chris Christie, the only state official who can block the terminal, has opposed the project.
The committee voted 4-1 to advance the measure, though some supporting senators cautioned they could vote against it in the full Senate.
E-mail Andrew Kitchenman at firstname.lastname@example.org