Faster than you can say "the zombies are attacking the mall" in a George A. Romero movie, the California environmental group has shifted tactics from protesting single LNG projects to now taking on the entire industry. Their goal "is that LNG is not needed on the West Coast," says Rory Cox, managing director for Pacfic Environment, an umbrella group that is helping lead the charge against LNG. Their goal, he said, is to stop LNG development along the entire West Coast, not just in California. Cox said the economics aren’t right and the potential damage to the environment is too great to allow the LNG industry to get even a small presence along the West Coast. For the record, in 2004, according to the California Energy Commission, the state consumed about 6,246 million cubic feet per day. The state California produced 13% of its own natural gas with 39% coming from the southwest U.S., 24% from Canada, and 25% from the Rocky Mountain region. And according to California state officials, the Los Angeles area will grow to the size of two Chicagoes by the year 2020. While admitting that natural gas is needed to fuel one of the world's largest single economies, California’s Energy Action Plan in 2003 called for a greater use of renewables, a move to cut greenhouse gas emissions and called for a change to residential and commercial building codes to incorporate energy efficiency and a requirement that at least 20% of its electricity be from renewable sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020. The greens have taken a no compromise position, even when faced with plans like Woodside Natural Gas' OceanWay project. Located 28 miles off the coast, the project is five miles outside of regular shipping lanes and well outside the migratory path uses by whales and other creatures. Under this plan, the LNG is turned back into natural gas onboard specialized vessels and the gas is then pumped into existing pipelines through a buoy system that when not being used, is almost 20 feet below the surface. Similar systems are being used in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, says Michael Hinrichs with Woodside Natural Gas. he added that the company has actually gone beyond the requirements set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District emission requirements. This makes the OceanWay project, he said, as clean or cleaner than onshore power plants now in operation in Southern California. Doesn't matter, Cox says. He said new supplies coming onstream in the Rocky Mountains and being pushed westward will be more than enough for the state. He acknowledged that the state is in competition for this gas with Arizona and Nevada, but said there is enough to keep the state's economy fueled and moving. Hinrichs pointed out that the traditional sources of natural gas for California, such as Canada, are slipping. New sources must be found and LNG will fill that need. Cox said the environmentalists are using a common phrase heard in Washington D.C., these days -- cutting the nation's dependence on foreign energy sources. The LNG, he said, will come across the ocean and could easily be disrupted. Cox also said that it was unwise for California to depend on LNG when nations such as Japan are willing to spend up to $16/MMBtu for an LNG shipment while the going price in the US is around the $10/MMBtu mark. So, for the future, LNG projects will not find a very friendly welcome waiting for them along the West Coast. When will that change? I don't think anyone will take that bet. John A. Sullivan, News Editor, Oil and Gas Investor,,