The imminent prospect of importation of large quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG) through congested harbors and its storage in huge tanks in densely-populated urban areas provides a classic instance of our technological reach exceeding our grasp. The severe danger of widespread fire impels an exhaustive examination of the need to import LNG through busy harbors and to store it within cities. Such conveyance and storage expose millions of persons and millions of dollars of property to extraordinary harm. Three aspects of proposed importation of LNG are particularly disturbing: (1) the federal government's insistence on promoting LNG importation prior to an adequate investigation of alternatives to such importation; (2) the risks posed by marine shipment of LNG under current inadequate government supervision; and (3) the gas industry's penchant for constructing LNG storage tanks in densely-populated urban areas. This Article will consider the consequential risks of embarking upon a program of marine importation and urban storage of LNG. It will also examine the inherent volatility of LNG, the technological deficiencies of present modes of transoceanic shipping and above ground storing of LNG, and the lack of a viable, coordinated federal and state policy with respect to such shipping and storing.
Cargo of Fire: A Call for Stricter Regulation of Liquefied Natural Gas Shipment and Storage,
4 Fordham Urb. L.J. 495
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ulj/vol4/iss3/2