TYPE: Natural Gas
OPPOSITION: Alabama Gov. Bob Riley; Mobile County School Board; Mississippi Sierra Club
BACKGROUND: In October 2003, the Alabama State Port Authority approved a $38 million land option with ExxonMobil for the Navy Homeport site, which allowed the company to immediately begin seeking federal permits needed to build an LNG terminal along Mobile Bay. The facility was expected to cost $600 million and create 50 permanent jobs once operational. The terminal was projected to open in 2009 and would send out 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Alabama Governor Bob Riley sent letters to the Alabama State Port Authority and federal regulators informing them he objected to the sale of the Navy Homeport site in Mobile Bay and adjacent submerged lands to ExxonMobil for use as a LNG facility until an independent safety study was completed and evaluated. “Failing to conduct the independent safety study unacceptably diminishes our government’s ability to fully comprehend the possible threats and the potential consequences associated with the LNG facility,” stated Riley in the letter to the Port Authority. Gov. Riley warned federal authorities that he would block the sale until such studies were completed.
The Mobile County school board passed a resolution opposing the plant, citing its proximity to Hollinger’s Island Elementary School. Hollinger's Island Community Association and resident Brad Wells filed a lawsuit in Mobile County Circuit Court challenging the Port Authority’s handling of the land option. The lawsuit claimed that the Port Authority should not be able to vote on the land option without first conducting a safety study and participating in the state’s public notice and bid process for selling land.
Ultimately, ExxonMobil never moved forward with the project. On October 29, 2004, the company released a statement that it was “no longer in our business interests” to continue the purchase of the property and develop the Navy Homeport LNG project.
SOURCES: Mobile Press-Register (http://www.al.com/specialreport/mobileregister/index.ssf?lng/lng31.html);
Mississippi Sierra Club (http://mississippi.sierraclub.org/lng/algovlng.html);
Natural Gas Intelligence (http://intelligencepress.com/features/lng/terminals/lng_terminals.html).
LAST UPDATED: November 16, 2010