2009-12-03 / News

Islanders to study impacts of LNG shipments

By Phil Zahodiakin

A working group comprised of several “citizen-experts” from Jamestown and Newport was recently established “to provide focused research on, and conduct an independent assessment of, the potential impacts on Jamestown and local communities from periodic shipments of LNG through the narrow East Passage,” said Jamestown resident and Town Council member Ellen Winsor.

Winsor described the LNG off-loading terminal proposal from Weaver’s Cove Energy as “exhibiting ominous potential.” She added that she conceived and initiated the group, prior to the recent election, “in recognition of the potential threat posed to Jamestown and the surrounding communities by the LNG issue.”

Winsor said that the working group is currently in its early stages of formulation and is developing a strategy and plans for its prospective assessment tasks, schedule and work products. To date, the group consists of seven “blue-ribbon subject matter experts,” some actively employed and others retired, who have extensive

experience in a variety of relevant technical areas, including

Naval and maritime safety, world-class sailing, bay-oriented recreation, the tourism industry, real estate, environmental engineering and operations research, she said.

“In contrast to local advocacy groups, such as our respected and primarily environmental Save the Bay, our working group will focus on conducting research and performing an independent assessment of the LNG issue according to our expertise,” she said.

Stressing that all the findings from this research will be forwarded to local community leadership and relevant stakeholders, Winsor said that the LNG working group recently held a meeting with Jamestown Town Administrator Bruce Keiser to apprise him of its objectives, and “to establish and coordinate the boundaries of authority and outreach.”

She added that the working group intends to be active over the next few months to perform its work and deliver its findings.

“I will be presenting research and my initial take on the LNG proposal to the working group this week,” Winsor said. “Conanicut Island residents can be proud that a group of its talented citizens, as well as those from Aquidneck Island, are determined to stay ahead of the LNG curve by rapidly gathering momentum and complementary expertise in anticipation of the pending environmental impact statement.”

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