Natural gas issue takes center stage in White Plains

A proposed plan to build a floating natural gas plant on the Long Island Sound was the focus of a hearing Tuesday in White Plains.

County legislators from the Environment and Energy Committee listened to those for and against the project, which calls for building a $700 million natural gas facility. Broadwater Energy, the company heading up the project, says the facility would provide one-third to one-fourth of all the region's natural gas requirements. Broadwater says the terminal would be safe, and denies any possible negative impact on the environment.

"In order for Westchester to keep its lights on, it needs to look at many different energy solutions," says Broadwater's Froydis Cameron. "Natural gas is a very clean-burning fossil fuel and could be used here in Westchester to generate electricity."However, environmentalists say the project would be a disaster for the Sound. "It's a public resource, not a private resource," says Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "We should be protecting the Sound, not giving the Sound away and allowing it to become degraded."

The full board will consider the matter later this month, but any decision will carry little weight. Federal and state officials will have the final say.

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