2008-06-19 / Front Page

Public comment invited on Weaver's Cove LNG project

By Adrienne Downing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has scheduled two scoping meetings to get input on the latest Weaver's Cove proposal to bring liquid natural gas into the Narragansett Bay.

After receiving unfavorable rulings from the United States Coast Guard last fall about the feasibility of using smaller tankers to transport the flammable gas through the bay to holding tanks in Fall River, Weaver's Cove now proposes to transport the gas through a pipeline.

The new proposal made at an April 30 meeting recommended constructing a Mount Hope Bay water facility on the Rhode Island/ Massachusetts line. From there, the LNG would be piped up the Taunton River along the remaining four miles to waiting tanks in Fall River.

The proposal would still allow LNG tankers to enter Narragansett Bay and pass between Jamestown and Aquidneck Island on the way to Mount Hope Bay where the tankers would connect to the water facility to unload their cargo.

The Coast Guard did not offer a favorable ruling because of safety, security and navigational reasons. The new proposal does not change any of those issues, Representative Bruce Long (R-Jamestown, Middletown) said. "These tankers are floating time bombs. They create serious hazards and life threatening situations, particularly when the tankers pass between Jamestown and Newport. This is the most narrow point between land masses. A security zone will be necessary during movement, even when the tankers are empty. Traffic on our bridges will halt during passage underneath them. We will suffer great disruption in our economy, environment, and our recreation activities on the bay,"he said.

The scoping meetings are the first step to an amendment to the Weaver's Cove application. FERC representatives will take testimony and questions from scientists, state organizations, the attorney general's office and individuals who have an interest in the case.

The meetings will determine the issues to be included in the Environmental Impact Statement, which is required under the National Environmental Protection Act. Then, FERC will use the EIS to determine whether or not to authorize the project. The Coast Guard will then assess safety, security, and navigational requirements to determine whether to issue a letter of recommendation.

The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, June 24 at Mount Hope High School in Bristol and on June 25 at Venus DeMilo Restaurant in Swansea, Mass. Both meetings have 7 p.m. start times. Written comments must be submitted by July 7.

For more information, visit http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/ common/opennat.

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