Connecticut congressional delegation asks commerce secretary to block pipeline
Associated Press
1 January 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) Connecticut's congressional Republicans on Thursday joined Democrats seeking federal action against a proposed natural gas pipeline between Connecticut and Long Island.

Republican Reps. Nancy Johnson, Christopher Shays and Rob Simmons signed a letter with Democratic Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro and John Larson and Democratic Sens. Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman to U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans. They asked Evans to back Connecticut environmental officials who rejected the plan in October.

"While we fully understand that there are energy needs which must be met in the Long Island region, we do not believe that Connecticut or the Long Island Sound should shoulder the tremendous environmental burden this project would create to resolve Long Island's power demands," the members of Congress wrote.

The 50-mile, $185 million Islander East pipeline, proposed by Duke Energy of Charlotte, N.C., and KeySpan Corp. of Hicksville, N.Y., would extend through five Connecticut communities including Branford, where it would enter the Long Island Sound and continue to Shoreham, N.Y.

John Sheridan, a spokesman for Duke Energy and Islander East, said Thursday that the pipeline bolsters national security by reducing reliance on oil from the Middle East.

"There is always a growing demand for natural gas," he said.

Sheridan has said that the pipeline would have a minimal affect on Long Island Sound, and he questioned Connecticut's interpretation of its environmental laws.

State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Arthur Rocque Jr. said in October that the state does not support federal permits for construction because the pipeline proposal violates state environmental laws.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the pipeline in September.

DeLauro, Dodd and Lieberman asked Evans in November to reject an appeal of Connecticut's rejection of the project by Islander East

Copyright 2003, Assocated Press

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