LNG is safe, secure

April 02, 2010

In his March 30 op-ed ("Danger at our doorstep"), Charles Faddis unduly misinforms readers about liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships and facilities while omitting essential facts about LNG safety and security. Although we appreciate Mr. Faddis' breadth of experience with overseas terrorist threats, we take issue with his mischaracterization of the threats facing LNG ships and terminals in the United States.

There is no intelligence or evidence whatsoever that LNG ships and facilities are more likely terrorist targets than other liquid cargo ships or higher visibility targets such as federal or state landmarks, transportation infrastructure or public gatherings. LNG has been safely handled in the U.S. for 50 years without a major incident either at port or at sea. LNG ships are double-hulled, and LNG terminals have multiple layers of protection that must meet rigorous safety and security regulations set forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security, which includes the exemplary efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Nonetheless, the LNG industry and U.S. security agencies have gone to great lengths to control all access points to LNG ships from their point of origin and upon entry into U.S. waters. Consequently, LNG ships are as safe as any other tanker that transports liquid fuels every day around every state in the country.

While Mr. Faddis correctly acknowledges that LNG vessels store vast amounts of energy, which is used to power, heat and cool homes and businesses, he clearly misunderstands that in the unlikely event a leak were to occur, LNG's energy cannot be released rapidly enough to cause the conditions associated with an explosion. LNG is not stored under pressure. In fact, natural gas is not even flammable in its liquid state.

The LNG industry shares the nation's commitment to national security, but that security is not served by exaggerated and unfounded characterizations about LNG.

Bill Cooper, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas. Center for Liquefied Natural Gas Washington, D.C.

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