Energy and utility companies have proposed building three liquefied natural gas plants in southern California, including one in Long Beach harbor, to enable huge tanker ships to unload and process imported LNG.
But famed environmentalist and social advocate Dr. Helen Caldicott is having none of it.
“LNG is not the path that the United States should be pursuing. In fact, LNG would actually increase, rather than decrease, the U.S.’ dependence on foreign suppliers of fossil fuels,” said Dr. Caldicott. “Furthermore, LNG would detract — at great financial cost — from the real need, which is to promote energy conservation and develop sustainable energy sources such as solar power.”
On Sunday, May 22, Dr. Caldicott will speak, along with Loretta Lynch, former head of the California Public Utilities Commission, and Captain Paul Watson, founder of SeaShepherd, at an event called PowerPlay at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro.
The three speakers will focus on the dangers and costs of LNG terminals.
Building the tankers and the plants will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The California Public Utility Commission is expected to rule sometime this year on whether to allow energy companies to pass the costs of constructing the LNG plants and the infrastructure on to consumers.
There are also dangers related to handling and storing LNG. In 2004, a large explosion at an LNG plant in Algeria killed 27 people and shut operations at several adjacent facilities, including a refinery and oil loading terminals.
“I believe that LNG is not necessary to meet California’s energy needs and, moreover, will crowd out development of renewable energy sources,” Lynch said. “I also oppose the federal government’s asserting exclusive jurisdiction over siting of LNG plants. No state is more familiar with earthquake safety reviews than California and, by blocking the state from making its own analyses and evaluations, the federal government increases the risk to surrounding communities.”
Joining the Sierra Club as sponsors of the May 22 fundraiser are Earth Resource Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation, California Earth Corps, and Eco-Link. A street fair, featuring booths and displays highlighting alternative energy sources and roving entertainers, will take place on the street outside the Warner Grand Theater.
The street fair will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Caldicott will speak at 2 p.m.
The Warner Grand is located at 478 West Sixth Street in San Pedro.For additional information on the speakers, LNG issues, and the May 22 PowerPlay program, go to www.milliontomorrows.org.