House approves measure requiring peace officers on LNG tankers
The R.I. House of Representatives approved a bill this week to require any company shipping liquefi ed natural gas through Rhode Island waters to use public peace offi cers to provide protection.
The legislation, 2010-H 7608A, sponsored by Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Bristol and Portsmouth), would expressly prohibit LNG shippers from using private security forces to enforce any required safety and security zones established by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The legislation is meant to prevent LNG shippers from trying to avoid reimbursing cities, towns and the state for the protection and security that they will likely have to provide if LNG supertankers enter Rhode Island’s crowded waterways, pass close to its populous shores or move beneath its busy bridges.
Representative Gallison, a longstanding and vocal opponent of a proposal by Weaver’s Cove and Hess LNG to build an LNG facility in Mount Hope Bay, said he doesn’t believe the safety of the public should be outsourced to whatever low bidder Hess could find.
“LNG tankers present a very real and very dangerous threat to Rhode Islanders, and we shouldn’t trust Hess LNG to protect us from it. This company has already shown reckless disregard for the people of our area and our safety, so it would be crazy to think Hess LNG would do whatever is necessary to protect us from the very dangers to which it is subjecting us,” Gallison said.
The bill will now go to the Senate.