Delaware River commission approves Gibbstown, New Jersey, LNG terminal

(Reuters) - The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted on Wednesday to approve a permit for construction of Delaware River Partners LLC’s controversial marine terminal in Gibbstown, New Jersey, that will be capable of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The proposal is to transport LNG via truck or train to the Gibbstown dock from a plant that New Fortress Energy Inc is developing in Wyalusing in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, that would liquefy natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

The LNG would then be exported by ship from the Gibbstown terminal to customers in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Officials at New Fortress Energy were not immediately available for comment on when it may decide to build the Pennsylvania liquefaction plant. The company has said in federal filings that it spent about $165 million through the end of 2019 to develop the Pennsylvania facility.

Those opposed to the project said it would result in production of more natural gas, which emits carbon dioxide when burned, and threaten public safety by transporting LNG about 200 miles (322 kilometers) from Wyalusing to Gibbstown.

The DRBC, which includes the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, plus a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the regional body does not consider the cargo - just the impact on water resources from construction of the dock and dredging. There is already another dock at Gibbstown.

Four of the commissioners voted to approve the Gibbstown project. New York abstained.

“We will continue to fight,” Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said in a statement following the decision. “People of the region and Puerto Rico (where some of the LNG could go) don’t want this disastrous project.”

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Leslie Adler