Alabama Residents Speak Out On LNG Deep Water Port - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/03/05

Alabama Residents Speak Out On LNG Deep Water Port

Alabama commercial fisherman Avery Bates believes the Compass Port Liquefied Natural Gas Deep water Port, located 11 miles south of Dauphin Island, could suck the very life out of his livelihood.

"Ninety eight percent of our seafood that come from our bays and estuarys, like the brown shrimp, when they lay their larvae, comes through these areas," says Bates. "When they're sucked into that 6 million gallon an hour suction line, the devastation, nothing's alive when you talk about crustaceans that comes out the other side."

Bates and others fear that the sea water used by Compass Port to warm the super cooled gas for pipeline transfer to shore, could cause a chain reaction in sea life that could harm the populations of the areas most popular commercial seafood.

"It looks to us, the Serria Club, that the Coast Guard is more concerned about the bottom line of the oil applicant rather that bottom line of Gulf of Mexico fisheries," says Darryl Malek-Wiley an Associate Representative of the Sierra Club.

There are other, more expensive systems that the facility could use to warm the natural gas. However, Conoco Phillips Stakeholder relations manager Steve Lawless says the U.S. Coast Guard has determined that the open rack cooling system will have a minimal impact.

"They predict that there is no adverse short term or long term impact to recreational or commercial fishing around our facility"

Lawless says that, combined with the multi-million dollar economic impact for the state, make this a project with maximum benefit for everyone. A promise Avery Bates hopes is kept, if Compass Port receives final approval.

"If we see detrimental effects, then our people are going to stand up and say we're tired of it," warns Bates.

by Don Culpepper

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