NOAA 03-458
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Miller
10/6/03
NOAA News Releases 2003
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NOAA ANNOUNCES DETAILS ON PUBLIC HEARING FOR ISLANDER EAST PIPELINE APPEAL

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, announced today that it has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003, in New Haven, Conn., to receive public comments concerning an administrative appeal brought by the Islander East Pipeline Company. The appeal involves Islander East’s proposed natural gas pipeline that would extend from near North Haven, Conn., across the Long Island Sound to a terminus in Suffolk County (Long Island), N.Y.

The appeal, brought under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), results from the state of Connecticut’s objection to the project, which stemmed from concerns about the project’s potential effects on the natural resources or land and water uses of the state’s coastal zone. The hearing is being held to obtain information on issues the Department of Commerce will likely consider in deciding Islander East’s appeal.

Under the CZMA, the state of Connecticut’s objection prevents federal agencies from issuing permits required by the project. However, the state’s objection may be overridden by the secretary of commerce through an administrative appeal. Islander East Pipeline Company filed an appeal with the secretary on Nov. 14, 2002.

“The Coastal Zone Management Act is in place to ensure a balance between ecological protection and the economic development of our coastal resources,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA is committed to our mission of achieving this important balance.”

The public hearing will be held at the Omni New Haven Hotel, 155 Temple Street in New Haven. Speaker registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the hearing scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Written comments may be submitted at the hearing in lieu of oral remarks.

All e-mail comments on issues relevant to the decision of this appeal by the secretary of commerce may be submitted to IslanderEast.comments@noaa.gov. In addition to the hearing, comments may be sent by mail to the Office of the General Counsel for Ocean Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Appeal documents are available for inspection online at: http://www.ogc.doc.gov/czma.htm. The site is designed to make available documents filed in the Islander East appeal as well as background information on the appeal process and links to related sites.

“By making this information readily available online we hope to improve the public’s understanding of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the role of the secretary of commerce in this process,” said James R. Walpole, general counsel for NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA Coastal Zone Management: http://www.ocrm.nos.noaa.gov/czm

NOAA CZMA Consistency Appeals: http://www.ogc.doc.gov/czma.htm