Growing up in New Jersey, it didn’t quite feel like summertime until I was eating Kohr’s ice cream on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach or riding a bike on the promenade in Cape May. My family and I have gone down the shore every summer since I was born.
I have spent a lot of time with my feet in the ocean in awe of its systems, trying unsuccessfully to grasp the power and enormity of it all. I think that every child should get to experience the great moments of finding a conch shell fully intact, seeing a pod of dolphins swim across the current, and watching sandpipers scurry across the sand.
In order for future generations to even have a fighting chance at one of these shore moments, a recent project proposed off the coasts of New York and New Jersey by Liberty Natural Gas called “Port Ambrose” must be stopped.
On June 14, 2013, the Maritime Administration (part of the US Department of Transportation) announced Liberty Natural Gas’ Port Ambrose application. Port Ambrose is a proposed deepwater port to be used for the import or export of natural gas which has been liquefied. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is dirty; the carbon footprint of LNG is almost as bad as coal. In liquid form, this dirty energy source can be shipped across the world and sold for the largest profit overseas.
The Port Ambrose facility would be located off the coast of Long Branch, NJ and Jones Beach, NY. This location also happens to be near the entrance to the New York Harbor, in two active Coast Guard training areas, in the middle of a proposed offshore wind area, and within several important fishing areas and wildlife migration routes.
With fishing areas and wildlife migration routes in the area proposed, it is important to note that the installation of new pipeline facilities for Port Ambrose would disrupt hundreds of acres of seafloor and cause re-suspension of sediments in the ocean, which increases the turbidity of the water and negatively impacts water quality. Establishing new pipelines in the ocean would also generate serious underwater noise pollution.
In the ocean, hearing and sound are vital for the survival of marine life. Sound is used for everything from migration to reproduction to feeding. Over 700 fish species produce low frequency sounds — sea turtles, Squid, octopus, shrimp, crab — and even coral and fish larvae have been found to respond to sound. All of these species would be affected by the noise pollution caused by Port Ambrose.
Port Ambrose would bring not only noise, but water pollution to the Atlantic Ocean. If approved, Liberty would be required to test the pipeline from the Port for any safety and control issues. For these pipe tests alone, the port would discharge 3.5 million gallons of chemically-treated seawater. Water pollution would also increase in inland regions, as LNG exports drive up the costs of manufacturing and electricity and increase the intensity of hydraulic fracturing, a major source of water pollution, for shale gas expansion.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a water-intensive process where a mix of millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals (including ones known to cause cancer) are injected underground at high pressure to fracture shale to release the natural gas found in the rock formation into a nearby well. Oftentimes, this chemical stew is released into the surrounding groundwater through faulty pipes.
Beyond the well, fracking brings industrial activity into communities through the clearing of land to build new access roads and new well sites, drilling and encasing the well, fracking the well and generating the waste, trucking in heavy equipment and materials and trucking out the toxic waste — all contributing to air and water pollution risks and devaluation of land.
The synergy of the environmental impacts from fracking AND a deepwater port is the last thing New Jersey and New York need, especially now, as the region is recovering and rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy.
It is time to wean ourselves from our addiction to fossil fuel, stand up to Big Energy, and develop more renewable energy sources. Port Ambrose would simply feed our addiction. Let’s preserve Jersey Shore moments for generations to come, encourage Governor Christie to reaffirm his veto and for Governor Cuomo to veto Ambrose.
Attend a public hearing:
80 W Broadway, Long Beach, New York 11561
97 Sunfield Avenue, Edison, New Jersey 08837
1099 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright, New Jersey 07760
To learn more about Port Ambrose and how to get involved in the fight to Block the Port, contact Lindsay McNamara, Program and Communications Associate at Clean Ocean Action via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clean Ocean Action (COA) is a 501(c)3 working to “improve the water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast.”