MANATEE, Fla. — Construction of a natural gas terminal proposed 28 miles offshore could adversely affect marine wildlife and habitat and pose "small but potentially significant" risks, a draft environmental impact statement says.
The April 18 report addresses how the Port Dolphin LLC Deepwater Port and a 42-mile underwater pipeline linking it to Port Manatee might affect the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida coast. Officials recommended that if a construction license is granted, special mitigation measures accompany it to lessen environmental damage.
"There are small but potentially significant risks associated with the storage and handling of LNG (liquefied natural gas)," the report noted. However, since the facility would be miles from shore, "the potential for direct impacts is minor," it said. Construction of the $1 billion facility would produce "minor to moderate" damage to marine life, with minor long-term impacts on commercial and recreational fishing, and boating in a safety zone around the port, the report said.
The report was issued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration with the assistance of eight other federal agencies.
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