2010-04-01 / Editorial

Short-term LNG jobs are not sustaining

VIEWPOINT
By Deborah Ruggiero

When Gordon Shearer, CEO of Hess, testified at the Senate hearing, he kept insisting that 600 to 1,000 jobs over a three-year period would be created with the Hess LNG terminal.

What he didn’t say, though, is how many of these jobs would be local jobs. How many Rhode Islanders, union workers and outof work neighbors will be hired over out-of-state engineers and specialized construction teams from Houston or Boston?

Rhode Island needs jobs, but not temporary jobs at the expense of long-term jobs in the marine trades, tourism industry and retail trades.

Hess claims – and the study by Hess has not been released to the public – that 35 to 50 permanent jobs will be created. At what cost to the health of the rest of the Rhode Island economy and the environment?

There’s a reason that the R.I. Marine Trades Association, Newport Chamber of Commerce, Newport & Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau, the cities of Bristol, Newport and Fall River are opposed to this project.

Rhode Island could create short-term jobs by offering Colt State Park or Beavertail to hotel developers, but would that be the right thing to do? No, because these parks, just like Narragansett Bay, are held in public trust for public benefit.

We cannot convey a public resource to a private company and undermine sustainable job growth to serve the profits of a billiondollar oil company.

Unlike the Hess LNG Project, Dominion Energy is investing $620 million and creating hundreds of local jobs by investing in cooling towers at Brayton Point, dramatically reducing thermal pollution at Mt. Hope Bay. This investment, unlike the Hess LNG terminal, is creating jobs today, while protecting the environment and not putting residents in harm’s way.

As we debate this, natural gas is being recovered from the recently found Marcellus shale deposits – one of the largest in the world – in New York and Pennsylvania. This increase in domestic natural gas production will decrease all LNG imports in the Northeast.

Meanwhile, domestic supplies of natural gas to New England and the Northeast are increasing thanks to CanaPort and two truly offshore LNG facilities operating off of Massachusetts (none of these LNG facilities are owned by Hess).

The Hess LNG project will not provide sustaining local jobs for Rhode Island, only more profits to a billion-dollar oil company.

Deb Ruggiero is a state representative for District 74 in Middletown and Jamestown, and has been a leader in opposing the Hess LNG project.

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