2010-05-20 / Letters to the Editor

Find the facts before opposing LNG

We keep hearing the same tired, illegitimate arguments opposing the LNG terminal in Fall River. Over and over, we hear about “accidents” and the potential for serious danger. This leaves me wondering: Do the people using this argument leave the house with helmets strapped to their heads?

It only strikes me as odd because while driving continues to be the leading cause of transportation related deaths in the U.S., I’m certain most – if not all – of those opposed still own and operate automobiles.

The fact is that there is always risk, in every facet of our lives. Yes, I understand the idea of limiting one’s risk. I do not understand, however, how people who claim to present the facts continue to ignore the fact that LNG is not dangerous and to portray the exact opposite.

Ellen Winsor has repeatedly presented the “danger of mixing cryogenically cold LNG with water.” The fact is that mixing LNG with water is not only nowhere near as dangerous as she would have you believe, but it’s not dangerous at all. While I have not personally mixed the two, I have seen it done. I watched a scientist pour LNG into a cookie sheet full of water and as I watched, before my very eyes, the LNG vanished into thin air without the claimed fireball.

She also mentioned the assurances of safety in regards to the oil spill in the Gulf. The fact is we’re talking about two incredibly different situations, let alone the difference in product. However, let’s take this concern and follow her lead. Begin by banning LNG shipments in the bay. Why stop there? While we’re at it, there is potential for coal ships to hit the Pell and Mt. Hope bridges, so ban them too – southeastern Massachusetts will get power from elsewhere.

Every cruise ship could easily run aground, spilling thousands of gallons of fuel off of Goat Island, where they routinely anchor. One has already cut our power, so they’re also banned (so much for our treasured tourism). We really need to ban all boats equipped with fuel tanks, including Save the Bay’s own Aletta Morris, for risk of a fuel spill.

Do I sound ridiculous yet?

We’ve heard the same bridge argument. The fact is, there’s currently no regulatory requirement or recommendation for the closure of either bridge. Any decision to close these bridges rests with the RITBA. Rather than blast Hess for these closures, ask the bridge authority its reasons – no doubt they’re connected to “safety concerns.”

Still, what safety concerns exist with LNG which do not with other ships? Any concerns about jeopardizing emergency runs to Newport should also be addressed by RITBA.

These arguments are, without question, scare tactics. The fact is, being opposed is fine and I will fault no one for that. However, be opposed with facts. Find the facts. You can find them online at lngfactcheck.org. Don’t let a few people, armed with nothing but hot air and fear, frighten you into being opposed.
Shawn Ouellette
Jamestown

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