In its recent editorial on the Cabrillo Port LNG project, the Los Angeles Times declared that state officials should vote "no" on the project.
While it is in fact a "complicated decision," as reported by the Times, a Yes vote by the State Lands Commission will allow for the rigorous permit process to continue and give Californians a better chance to move away from polluting coal and oil and toward the clean renewable energy sources we need to sustain our economy and environment. The reality is you can't solve the state's energy needs with renewables like wind and solar for at least twenty years.
Senator Dianne Feinstein put it best in a speech on the Senate Floor, saying, "Let me be clear. I do not oppose liquefied natural gas sites in California. Liquified natural gas is clean energy..."
While we work toward that goal, Cabrillo Port brings a new, reliable source of clean natural gas into the state, which is exactly what California needs, according to both the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission.
One hundred percent of the natural gas from Cabrillo Port will be directed to California, producing over 10% of the state's daily natural gas consumption. The LNG facility in Mexico referenced by the Times as a potential source of natural gas has made no commitment to provide gas to California and its source of gas will not meet California's toughest-in-the-nation environmental requirements. Why would California expect the strictest environmental standards for its projects but then allow gas from less clean projects to be sold in the state? For that matter, why would California think that gas imported to Mexico for Mexican use would come to California when Mexico is a net importer of natural gas? California should not lay claim to gas being imported to another country.
This is the right time for the Cabrillo Port Project, which the Times notes is precedent-setting in minimizing its environmental footprint. The project in effect cleans Ventura County's and California's air by more than is required by law. The project will clean up dirty tug boats and use the best available technology to power its operations. It will also pay for first-of-its kind marine monitoring and environmental protections. Cabrillo Port has committed to comply with every local, state, and federal law applicable to it, including Ventura County's Air rules. There has been no rock left unturned by this company in trying to meet every law, in spirit and in fact.
We agree with Senator Dianne Feinstein's remarks on the floor of the United States Senate: "Increased [energy] demand means we need new natural gas supplies, and liquefied natural gas is one of the options available to us."
Patrick Cassidy is the director of public affairs at BHP Billiton.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times