Saturday, May 9, 2009

LNG Issues are not over

Below is this week's editorial in the Bristol Phoenix focusing on continuing LNG concerns for our area. A group from Save Bristol Harbor is meeting this week with some 'higher ups'. A report of those meetings will be forthcoming. LNG, if anything, is more of an issue now than it ever was. Please feel free to post a comment. We want to hear from you. Click on '0 comments' and type away. Thanks.

LNG scheme: New cause for concern

Preposterous as its plan to build an upper-bay LNG facility may sound, and overwhelming as local condemnation of the idea may be, don't ever count Weaver's Cove LNG out.

Declared dead in the water too many times too count, this proposal to import liquefied natural gas up a narrow passage aboard thousand-foot supertankers is adept at dismissing opposition, finding friends in high places and climbing back off the mat. It may be doing just that again.

Key to efforts at keeping these flammable cargoes out of crowded places has been the repeated conclusion of the Coast Guard that it is not equipped to assure public safety. It cited the bridges that must be cleared, the cramped channel from Prudence Island on north, and the proximity to populous places.

Given that Coast Guard resources are as limited as ever and the hazards every bit as real, logic suggests that the Coast Guard would view Weaver Cove's latest proposal every bit as dimly as it did in the past.

Except that there's reason to wonder what could be going on up there in Fall River behind closed doors. The Coast Guard has dutifully sent public notice announcing the time and place of meetings to discuss safety issues surrounding the LNG plan, but added that the public is not welcome. While it is listening to Weaver's Cove LNG and has called in some area fire and police chiefs, the Coast Guard will not hear from the many others who work, play and live near this channel, except in writing. There is no opportunity for the rest of us to challenge, or even know until later, what claims Weaver's Cove is making about these public waterways.

And the faces have changed. C.G. Capt. Roy Nash, who wrote the previous opinions, is gone; presiding now is his successor, C.G. Capt. Raymond Perry.

Whatever comes of this closed Coast Guard process, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission awaits. The same FERC, which blithely and without explanation declared that LNG safety and security issues 'could be overcome' and dismissed Coast Guard objections, still counts three Bush appointees among its membership.

This LNG scheme was bad to begin with and is worse now that Weaver's Cove LNG wants to park supertankers in Mt. Hope Bay and close the waters to everyone else.

All outside the hearing room door can only hope that the folly of this plan is as evident now as it was every time the Coast Guard studied it before..


Anonymous said...

I testified several times in the past & my comments are on the federal public record. BRIEFLY, what I said was: PEOPLE GO BACK & FORTH ACROSS THE BRIDGES (the one I use the most is the Mt. Hope Bridge), sometimes significantly more often on a daily basis than just over once and back once. You might live in Portsmouth, work in Bristol, have elderly parents whom you take to medical appointments and daily elder care in Bristol, and yet need to get your kids in Portsmouth to THEIR appointments, activities, etc. You might have a rigorous schedule requiring you to go back & forth across the bridge without the DISTANCES ever being that much of a problem, but RANDOM closings of the bridge(s) WOULD BE DISASTROUS. Never knowing when to expect these closings would be the worst kind of negative conditioning (some kind of rats-in-a-maze conditioning, whatever the correct name) adding ridiculous stress levels to something you handled very well in the past. You might have your OWN appointments on your schedule, as well. You might even be charged missed-appointment fees at the doctor's office, even tho you missed appointments entirely because you were late because of bridge closings. You might even have a hard time re-scheduling the missed appointments, thereby worsening your health outcomes. I am thinking of missed cancer appointments, radiation appointments, fragile pregnancy appointments, etc. Also, NOT everyone works during the day, and some variation on the scenario above could adversely affect second and third shift workers. ALSO, for shell fishermen, if they are expected to get out of the way of the LNG tanker, they don't only lose their space, but they lose ALL THE FUEL IT TOOK TO GET TO THE PLACE IN THE BAY THEY WILL GET KICKED OUT OF, and all the fuel it will take to get BACK there again! Is Weaver's Cove going to reimburse them??? This region is TOO populated for ANY of the plans Weavers Cove has proposed! Thank you.

Stephan Brigidi said...

Save Bristol Harbor will not stop in its efforts to prevent LNG transport into our public waters. Mt. Hope Bay
will always be a place for the public to enjoy and for professional fishermen to work. Rest assured our mission continues to preserve and protect our waters and natural resources from privatization and seizure. Save Bristol Harbor remains determined and committed to stopping
Weavers Cove Energy and Amerada Hess.