Delaware Audobon

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Incorporated in 1977, the Delaware Audubon Society is a statewide chapter of the National Audubon Society. Delaware Audubon is dedicated to developing a better appreciation of our natural environment and working for species and habitat conservation.  We advocate for environmental issues; and sponsor programs, field trips and school education. Our focus is on protection of the Delaware Bay and the Coastal Zone.  If you'd like information about a Delaware environmental issue or about Delaware Audubon, please email us.


Delaware Audubon Statement
About Drilling in the Arctic NWR

Photo:  rally in Wilmington against ANWR drilling.  Photo ©2005 Steven Breukelman.

With a large oil derricks in the background at Wilmington's Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, Delaware Audubon joined two other environmental groups June 7 in opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

US PIRG, the Clean Air Council, and Delaware Audubon thanked Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper, as well as Representative Mike Castle, for opposing oil and gas drilling in the coastal plain of ANWR.

Photo:  Nicholas DiPasquale (r) talks to press.
Conservation Chair Nick DiPasquale
(right) talks to the press

Nicholas A. DiPasquale made the following comments on behalf of Delaware Audubon:

"Good morning. My name is Nick DiPasquale, conservation chair for Delaware Audubon. Thank you for being here. Thanks to the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) for organizing today's event and for the participation of the Clean Air Council, the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club and the other environmental organizations represented here. This is an issue that is both important and timely; and it involves critical questions for citizens of the United States and countries around the world who look to us for leadership and innovation.

"I also want to thank Delaware's Congressional delegation, Senators Biden and Carper and Congressman Castle, as well as the late Senator Bill Roth, for their consistent opposition to opening ANWR for oil and gas drilling. They recognize what a huge mistake that would be.

"Today we are here to talk about the failed US Energy Policy and the critically flawed Energy Act currently pending in Congress. A bill that:

  • Gives billions of dollars in tax credits and financial incentives for the continued development of polluting energy sources.
  • Overrides state authority on the siting of LNG Import Facilities like the BP's proposed Crown Landing facility.
  • Speeds up permitting of oil refineries, especially in economically challenged minority communities.
  • Fails to adequately support a deliberate and thoughtful transition to alternative and renewable energy sources and energy conservation.
  • Perpetuates a system that places the US in the position of having to use military intervention to ensure continued access to dwindling oil reserves.

"US Energy Policy in general—and drilling in ANWR in particular—set a dangerous precedent of opening ecologically unique and fragile public lands to energy exploitation that will further accelerate habitat destruction and fragmentation, the leading cause of species extinction.

"There are over 180 different species of birds and 250 wildlife species that inhabit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR has been referred to as "America's Serengeti." The Coastal Plain, where the drilling is targeted to take place, is considered the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR is home to birds from every state in the nation and six continents.

"Disturbances from machinery, equipment and helicopters, along with the loss and fragmentation of fragile habitat, put birds and other wildlife species at risk.

"We know accidents happen. We witnessed that just last fall when the Greek tanker Athos I struck a discarded anchor and spilled 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River. The cleanup cost so far is $167 million and the cost of damage to birds and aquatic life are incalculable. The effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound can still be seen - more than a decade and a half later.

"A recent CBS/NY Times poll found that a clear majority of Americans (55%) are opposed to drilling in ANWR. Only 39% of Americans support it.

"With only five percent of the world's population, the US is responsible for 26 percent of the world's oil consumption. We are energy gluttons.

"Fully two-thirds of America's demand for oil is generated by transportation (passenger cars, SUV's, heavy-duty trucks, jets, etc.).

"The amount of oil available in ANWR is equivalent to only a six-month supply based on current U.S. consumption rates, and this oil won't be available for at least 10 years.

"Keep this thought in mind - The same amount of oil or more can be saved over 10 years by simply increasing the fuel efficiency requirements of SUV's to 27.5 miles per gallon, the same as passenger cars, or by raising the standard for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles by 1 mile per gallon, without the attendant ecological destruction.



This raises important Questions.

Where will all of the Marcellus Natural Gas eventually go?

Who exactly will be purchasing it?

Who will build the pipelines?


Position Statement on BP Coastal Zone status request.

The following position statement was adopted by the Delaware Audubon Board of Directors, and presented to a public meeting, sponsored by Common Cause of Delaware, on December 29, 2004. Copies were distributed as noted in the letter. A PDF version of this letter is available for printing and distribution.

December 29, 2004

John A. Hughes, Secretary
Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware 19901

RE: Request for Coastal Zone Status Decision on the Proposed Docking Facility for the BP/Crown Landing LLC Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Facility

Dear Secretary Hughes:

The Delaware Audubon Society (DAS) respectfully submits comments on the December 7, 2004, request by BP (made through its wholly owned indirect subsidiary, Crown Landing LLC) for a Coastal Zone Status Decision regarding the proposed construction of a docking facility within the coastal waters of Delaware. The proposed docking facility is designed exclusively to serve a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility at the Crown Landing site in Logan Township, New Jersey.

Delaware Audubon recognizes the environmental benefits associated with the use of natural gas over other forms of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. While we recognize these benefits, we believe more emphasis should be placed on energy conservation and the development of alternative or renewable forms of energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. We are very concerned that the rush to build LNG import facilities will further our dependence on foreign sources of energy. According to a June 2004 U.S Energy Information Administration report, at least 35 company announcements of proposed LNG import terminals are targeted for North America. Algeria served as virtually the sole supplier of LNG to the United States until the latter half of the 1990's. More recently, Trinidad and Tobago have replaced Algeria as the source country with the largest volume imports (75% of total imports to the U.S. in 2003). Other source countries include Nigeria, Qatar, Oman and Malaysia. This growing dependence on foreign sources of energy is occurring at a time of increasing global instability. We also are extremely troubled by recent attempts in the U.S. Congress to undermine states' authority over siting and permitting of LNG import facilities through a rider on the appropriations bill (HR 4818) that was inserted into a conference committee report without the benefit of discussion or debate.

Delaware Audubon acknowledges the historic safety record of the LNG industry in general. Although this record is impressive, the accidents that have occurred demonstrate the destructive force of this fuel. It is important to note, however, that this period of record near totally pre-dates the events of September 11, 2001 and the significant rise in global terrorism that makes LNG facilities attractive terrorist targets or, perhaps more correctly stated, terrorist weapons.

Delaware Audubon takes issue with the suggestion that the proposed LNG import facility should be considered manufacturing as defined under the state Coastal Zone Act. We believe this operation is more properly classified as a bulk product transfer operation. The commodity being received by this facility is a fuel. This fuel is altered only slightly to facilitate safe storage, distribution and use. The commodity coming out of the facility unarguably retains its identity as a fuel by both its composition and use. Delaware's Coastal Zone Act prohibits the siting of any new bulk product transfer facilities in the coastal zone; therefore a docking facility to support such an operation also would be prohibited.

Finally, Delaware Audubon expresses its strong opposition to the siting of this facility in an area of high population density. A recent report issued by Sandia National Labs found that the "high hazard" zones from LNG tankers extend up to 1¼ mile, further than previously believed. They also found that fires from some attack scenarios could set a building ablaze more than a third of a mile away and create a flammable vapor cloud of more than 2¼ miles. The devastation that would result from either such incident if they were to occur at the site or on a tanker in the Delaware River is unthinkable both in terms of death and personal injury and destruction of property.

Delaware Audubon is not unalterably opposed to the siting and operation of LNG import facilities. We believe that existing facilities should be expanded or new facilities should be sited in remote locations, away from population centers and ecologically sensitive areas, as a way to minimize the inherent risks associated with these operations. The added cost of constructing pipelines to connect these remote facilities to major markets seems a small premium to pay.

Delaware Audubon appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on this extremely important issue.

Nicholas A. DiPasquale
Conservation Chair

pc: Governor Ruth Ann Minner
    U.S. Senator Joseph Biden
    U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper
    U.S. Congressman Michael Castle
    Delaware Audubon Board of Directors

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