NJ to Sue Delaware in U.S. Supreme Court Over LNG Plan Along River - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

NJ to Sue Delaware in U.S. Supreme Court Over LNG Plan Along River

The U.S. Supreme Court (Photo: CBS) The U.S. Supreme Court (Photo: CBS)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP)- New Jersey is making good on a vow to settle in court a long-simmering border fight with neighboring Delaware sparked by energy giant BP's plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant on New Jersey's side of the Delaware River.

Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey ordered Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to file a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday challenging Delaware's denial of approvals for a 2,000-foot pier that would serve an LNG facility in Logan Township planned by BP subsidiary Crown Landing LLC.

The plant has strong support from New Jersey lawmakers, the Codey administration and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities as a way to boost the supply of natural gas in the Garden State.

Critics are concerned about the potential environmental and safety risks involved, including the possibility that LNG tankers and the terminal could be targeted by terrorists looking to set off a potentially catastrophic explosion and fire.

"The plain fact is that the state of Delaware does not have jurisdiction over any projects on New Jersey's shoreline. Delaware has never controlled development on our shore and will not start doing so now," Codey said.

In February, Delaware environmental regulators denied BP permission to build the pier where tankers serving the terminal would dock, saying such a project is prohibited under Delaware's coastal zone protection laws.

Under boundary determinations that date to the 17th century, Delaware controls the river up to the mean low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore. But New Jersey claims that a 1905 interstate compact gives it the right to control riparian access and structures on its side of the river, even if they extend across the border.

Codey said New Jersey will ask the court to uphold that compact and make a decision in its next term, which concludes in June 2006.

Crown Landing has proposed building an LNG storage and distribution facility that would be served by a pier capable of accommodating tankers with capacities of up to 200,000 cubic meters.

The pier would convey the LNG through a 44-inch diameter pipe to a terminal on 40 acres in Logan, from which the gas would be distributed through existing pipelines throughout the region.

Last month, New Jersey's Economic Development Authority authorized its executive director to enter into negotiations for an agreement with BP. Under the proposal, New Jersey would sell between $50 million and $100 million in tax-exempt bonds to build the pier, then lease it back to BP, which would be responsible for all costs.

M. Jane Brady, Delaware's attorney general, said New Jersey's action was not unexpected and that Delaware was prepared to defend its boundary.

"We've worked hard over the last four decades to assure that Delaware's coast doesn't look like some other coastline, with a lot of manufacturing and industrial areas," Brady said Wednesday evening. "There are a lot of risks that this project presents to our coastline. Our natural resources have got to be protected."

 

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