Laird Nixes Gas

Zuma Jay was pier jumping, while off to the west, the surf was pumping from Third Point to First. The shorebreak was thumping on a morning high tide. The paparazzi were humping all their gear from the pier to the beach and back, while celebrities were bumping elbows with hundreds of surfers and concerned citizens.

All together there was a lot of energy on land and sea around the Malibu Pier on the morning of Sunday, October 23, 2006, as Laird Hamilton invited his surfer friends and Pierce Brosnan invited his Hollywood friends and everyone came to the water's edge to protest an environmental threat lurking just over the horizon.

The Cabrillo Port LNG Terminal is a project proposed by BHP Billiton to install a Liquefied Natural Gas storage facility and processing plant 14 miles offshore from a point on the coast offshore from the Los Angeles/Ventura county line. The floating facility would be as long as three football fields, fourteen stories high and would store 73 million gallons of LNG in three spherical tanks 160 feet high. The Cabrillo Port would have the capacity to accept three supertankers a week loaded with natural gas that had been supercooled to –260 degrees to convert it to the concentrated LNG. The Cabrillo Port would process the LNG and convert it back to gas then transport it to the existing natural gas network between Camarillo and Ventura.

There are objections to the plan that range from global warming to terrorism and on Sunday morning, Malibu resident Laird Hamilton invited all his surfer friends and Malibu resident Pierce Brosnan invited his Hollywood friends and together, several hundred people came to the pier and beach to raise their voices against the Cabrillo Port.

Walking down the pier around 10:30 in the morning, Pierce Brosnan was nearly lost in a sea of camera, but he voiced his concerns about the plant to a reporter from a Los Angeles news station: "…so close to the Malibu coastline if anything were to happen it could have a disastrous effect. This has been creeping into the community slowly and we're here today at the Malibu Pier to try and put a face and profile on it so people, the community, can say we oppose this and speak to their Governor and say really give it good thought, good heart and good intentions before you sign anything that we could regret 30 years down the line."

The local reporter asked: "What is the #1 negative about this particular plan?"

"LNG is a fossil fuel," Brosnan responded. "You will smell it. You will see it. Any human error that comes into play could be quite disastrous. Pipelines burst and fracture around the globe. This is too close to our beautiful community and it should be protected."

The reporter asked: "The notion of a paddleout, a classic California way to communicate their message. Tell me about the paddle out. What's happening here today?"

"We're paddling out. Paddling out," Brosnan responded patiently. "I'm going to kayak, but Laird Hamilton is going to be here, a mighty warrior of the ocean."

Brosnan made way down the pier, talking on his cell phone, talking to fans, friends, paddlers and volunteers. As he got to the end, where a pancake breakfast was raising more money for the campaign against the plan, he was followed by a number of movie stars, including Tea Leoni and John C McGinley.

Darryl Hannah came to the event styling in a primer-black El Camino with the words "biodiesel" across the back window in gang-ganger gothic script. She's cool, but she was hot about the idea of this audacious energy plan: "It's so dangerous to put an LNG plant off the coast of California."

Dick van Dyke said: "I think the location is a sad mistake for the State of California."

Ted Danson said: "That whole process of getting it into our pipeline ends up putting out more pollution, than the thought that this is a clean fuel."

Haile Berry was there with a boyfriend and a bodyguard, and she said: "…toxins that it can put in the air can be really harmful in an age of global warming and I am out here because I really don't want to see this happen."

They all spoke out against the Cabrillo Port, which would be visible from shore and always seen as a threat.

Brosnan made some think of James Bond and that created an image of a team of terrorists blowing up the Cabrillo Port, creating a fireball that would spread for more than 7 miles around the plant. The threat of terrorism is not as clear and present as the fact that Cabrillo Port will vent more than 200 tons of air pollution, and 2.3 billion gallons of intake and thermal waste water that would be 28.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the ambient sea temperature in the surrounding ecosystem.