2007-05-17 / News

Ocean state senators attempting to block Congressional funding for LNG terminal

Rhode Island's U.S. Senators have asked appropriators to permanently block funding for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility that would risk serious damage to Rhode Island's waterways and coastal communities, the senators announced this week.

In a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse asked that the Energy and Water appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 include language stipulating that "no funds made available by this or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used to take any action to approve or allow the construction of any liquefied natural gas facility to be located within the City of Fall River, Massachusetts." Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also signed the letter.

"LNG tankers serving Weaver's Cove would pass by several Rhode Island towns and cities and along miles of populated coastline, putting thousands of Rhode Islanders at risk," stated Reed. "It is essential that we take into consideration the safety of citizens while balancing the longterm,

regional energy needs of New England. I am pleased that the Coast Guard voiced its concern last week over the Weaver's Cove proposal. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that plans to build this LNG facility are put on hold."

"Tankers full of liquid natural gas running through Narragansett Bay pose an immense security, environmental, and safety risk that Rhode Islanders just can't afford," Whitehouse said. "I am dedicated to fighting to prevent this facility from harming Rhode Island's precious marine economy and environment."

The proposed LNG facility would be located on a 73-acre site within Fall River, a dense urban area with a population estimated by the Census Bureau at nearly 100,000 people. To reach the proposed facility, tankers

would be required to navigate 21 nautical miles through Narragansett Bay and other navigationallychallenging, inland waterways.

In a May 9 letter to

Weaver's Cove Energy,

Roy A. Nash, captain of the Coast Guard's port for Southern New England, wrote that the company's proposal failed to verify that "smaller LNG tankers can be safely navigated through this waterway on a consistent, repeatable basis."

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