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Riley's Decision Near on Natural Gas Project

Mobile, AL – Gov. Bob Riley's decision on a proposed liquefied natural gas project offshore Alabama is due by Friday.

The Texas firm behind the project accuses federal fisheries officials of ``inaccurate'' data on its potential impact on some marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.

In its report last month to the Coast Guard, the National Marine Fisheries Service estimated up to 2.1 million pounds of red drum could be impacted, based the cumulative effect of existing or approved open-loop LNG systems in the northern Gulf.

Houston-based TORP Technology challenged those estimates as inaccurate and misleading and won support Monday from the Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration, the agencies considering a license for the project 63 miles south of Fort Morgan.

In a letter to the Fisheries Service, these two federal agencies considering a license for TORP's terminal, said that red drum estimate appeared to ``greatly overstate any numbers we have seen.''

TORP Terminal CEO Joe Berno says it was ``very disappointing to see the misinformation released'' by the Fisheries Service because, he says, it affects the public's perception of the project.

Gov. Riley could block the project or approve it with conditions.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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