Is there a connection?
Shell Energy Company, in partnership with TransCanada Corporation, has a proposal awaiting approval by Elliot Spitzer that would the companies, working as Broadwater Energy, to build and operate a floating liquified natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound.
The terminal, a 1215 foot barge, could provide Connecticut and New York with a billion cubic feet of the liquified natural gas per day, but, as the Government Accountability Office reported in February of 2007, could also become a firebomb of huge proportions.
This year, Broadwater Energy launched an intense media campaign designed to sway public opinion about both the project and the company, with large publicized donations to Long Island United Way, and a blitz of commercials citing questionable studies and claiming customers will see huge economic savings.
However, the ads have also drawn a backlash, with both local activists and public officials calling for the New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the dangerous "false advertising".
Worth noting is that the campaign was created by none other than Rudy Giuliani’s own Giuliani Partners LLC – hired on to provide security and strategic planning services less than a week after the 2004 presidential election. According to Eric Hatzimemos, a managing director of the firm, "Security, safety, & reliability have been top priorities for Broadwater from the outset."
This comes from the same law firm that lobbies for the Indian Point Nuclear facility ("as safe as a facility can be") to be relicensed despite multiple security and safety problems, and for respiratory gas mask manufacturers to be immune from lawsuits for failure to provide protection.
After years of battles between environmentalists and industry, in February all eyes were on New York Governor Elliot Spitzer.
He, in turn, claimed to be waiting for the New York State Department to provide its review of the vast information presented from both sides, due on February 12th. But on February 7th, the State Department announced it an agreement with Broadwater which granted a 60 day extension of the deadline to allow for "further discussion of what is a very complex proposal".
The next day, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued its second Notice of Incomplete Application letter to Broadwater Energy, noting that Broadwater’s response to the first Notice was entirely inadequate. Documentation on emissions calculation was lacking, and even with design changes, the barge was projected to destroy 274 million aquatic organisms annually.
Less than a week later, Spitzer was customer number 9.
On March 5, though they did not yet have the required approval of Spitzer and New York State, Shell announced it was ready to begin setting up contracts for purchasing the liquid natural gas that would be brought to New York and Connecticut.
Did they already know they’d won?