2010-04-28 / Editorial

LNG could become the monster in our bay


The more we learn about LNG, the more frightening the prospect becomes: LNG is a nightmare that can keep one awake at night. LNG is a monster coming to Narragansett Bay some 70 to 120 times a year.

On Monday evening, we heard from officials who outlined the threat posed to each of us by the Hess and Weaver’s Cove Energy partnership to build a terminal in Mt. Hope Bay to off-load liquid natural gas from massive tankers.

These huge tankers are bigger than anything else around. They would have to navigate the narrow, crowded waters of Narragansett Bay. Because of their inherent danger, a rolling exclusion zone accompanies each tanker as it sails up the bay.

That exclusion zone essentially prohibits all people and boats from being on the bay with the tanker. Armed guards will man the boats, escorting the tankers on all sides and making sure the bay is vacated.

Picture a 10-year-old kid on a sailing dinghy facing a man with a machine gun as a LNG tanker enters the bay.

The Newport Pell Bridge would be closed to traffic while each tanker is passing through the bay. What a traffic jam that will be in the summer months!

The U.S. Coast Guard ordered the exclusion zones on the LNG tankers in the wake of 9/11. Yes, these vessels are seen as potential terrorist targets. If such a disaster – an explosion – were to happen in the East Passage next to Conanicut Island, much of Jamestown as we know it would no longer exist.

The Jamestown Town Council is concerned. The council is establishing a full-time LNG Threat Committee to assess the impending danger to our island. The council is also working to coordinate a group meeting with other city and town councils from communities on Narragansett Bay.

It’s surprising that more people are not outraged by this pending breach to our island security blanket. Folks should be writing letters and protesting. They should ask why our government would allow such a thing to happen.

The time for action is now. We should fight LNG every step of the way.

Other states have allowed LNG off-loading terminals to be built – some 13 miles offshore, not inshore among densly populated communities.

You can learn more about the LNG threat at a public information workshop at the Middletown Town Hall tomorrow – Friday, April 30, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Educate yourself and take a stand to protect your family and your community.

Save Jamestown.

— Jeff McDonough

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