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Riley says he supports Blanco veto of proposed LNG project...

May 9, 2006

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said he supports Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's veto of a proposed offshore natural gas port over concerns that fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico could be harmed.

Blanco had until Sunday to file any objections to a proposed federal license for the Main Pass Energy Hub, a liquefied natural gas terminal being sought by Freeport McMoRan Energy LLC, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based McMoRan Exploration Company.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation's acting deputy maritime administrator, Julie Nelson, Blanco said Friday until studies demonstrate that the technology McMoRan proposes to use will not have an unacceptable impact on the ecosystem, she can't support it.

In a statement, Riley said he had discussed the project with Blanco and said, "We're both in agreement." Riley said he strongly supports her veto and commended Blanco for the decision. "Our concern is not with the company but rather the open loop technology it plans to use. In Alabama, we continue to support the development of LNG, but not at the expense of our marine resources and our coastal environment," Riley said.

A separate LNG project is proposed in the gulf south of Dauphin Island by ConocoPhillips.

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