2005-08-18 / News

Former governor Sundlun reverses position on LNG

Former Governor Bruce Sundlun, who identified himself in early July as a candidate for the position of Jamestown town administrator, has done a flipflop on his position on a liquefied natural gas facility using Narragansett Bay as a transportation route.

In June, Sundlun was for it. Now he is against it.

On June 2, he wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that he supported the proposal for the Weaver’s Cove LNG complex in Fall River, Mass. He did not give his position on the Keyspan LNG plan for Providence. He wrote several paragraphs citing the support given by President Bush in May for LNG facilities.

“I fully understand the potential safety and environmental impacts. . . . I also understand that mitigation measures can, and will be taken . . . the obvious advantage of a new, secure natural gas supply . . . benefit (of) the developer converting a contaminated, certified brownfield into a usable tax producing business location . . . saving taxpayers millions of dollars to convert that present wasteland into a viable taxable entity . . . supplying several hundred local jobs,” Sundlun wrote in June.

He agreed with the FERC staff report that Weaver’s Cove would meet safety standards and that “the Coast Guard plan for LNG vessels . . . will further ensure the public safety.” He concluded in the June 2 letter that “appropriate authorities have decided this proposal based on the facts. I encourage and urge approval.”

The FERC approved the Weaver’s Cove plan on June 30, effective July 15.

In a July 27 letter acknowledged Aug. 8 by the FERC, Sundlun wrote that “sometime after June 20, I wrote you another letter requesting that my June 2 letter be withdrawn. This letter is a second request that you withdraw my first letter from the file.”

He explained in the July 27 letter, “I have had an opportunity to review material from the Coalition for Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities, as well as to read some of the briefs that have been recently filed in the State of Rhode Island. As a resident of Jamestown, I do not feel I can support the Weaver’s Cove Facility.”

The FERC has not acknowledged receipt of a second letter from Sundlun, based on its files for the Weaver’s Cove docket. As of Aug. 16, Sundlun’s original letter remained in the FERC files.

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