2010-09-02 / Editorial

Congress of Councils to address LNG threat next week

LNG Threat
By Dick Lynn

On Sept. 8, Jamestown and its Town Council will host town councils from communities on both sides of the Bay to address the Hess/LNG issue.

This will be the inaugural gathering of what is being called the “Congress of Councils.” The mission of this organization is to unite the Bay communities of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and help them take control of their own destinies.

Hess would like to take over our Bay, at our expense. If you think government spending is out of control now, wait until you get the bill for the increased police, EMS and security costs involved with the transit of LNG in the Bay.

While I saw early on that this would be an important event in the battle with Hess on this LNG siting, I must give due credit to Jamestown Town Council member Bob Bowen. The Congress of Councils was Bob’s idea back at the time he took office.

He made an initial attempt to launch it in December. When our LNG committee was started in June, the council asked me to manage the project. Seeing the importance – and how it would unite the communities – I gladly took it on.

This is a chance for communities here to come together to battle this extremely ill-advised venture by Hess. It is a chance for them to convene as a group of governmental bodies set up to protect you and your rights as citizens. You have the right to free access to the Bay; to get to work without having to go online and check Coast Guard transits (which Al Qaeda can also do); to get to work when you wish to; to get on the Bay if you wish to and to work on the Bay because you need to.

This Congress will come together as an historic group of some of the oldest town councils in the nation and sign a declaration of unity. This historic forum will consider the best ways to battle this takeover of the Bay by a private entity at great public cost.

While a car tanker will not level the area around it with a potentially fiery blast, an LNG tanker could well do so. Any time. Any day. To take away that feeling of security from us on a daily level is an assault to everyone who lives here.

Resolutions, though admirable, are not a solution. Without a strategic plan for how to address a potentially favorable decision for Hess and against us, much more is needed. This Congress will address that head on.

Others have noted the danger of LNG tankers plying the waters of Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays, most notably former U.S. Head of Counter Terrorism Richard Clarke and Boston Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Fleming (in charge of LNG security). Boston would like its facility gone, and has stated its concerns for potential danger every time a tanker passes.

Accidents happen. Does anyone remember a tanker taking out the electrical cables to Jamestown, along with the blackout that followed? That tanker merely steered back out to sea, and claimed no responsibility.

The Congress of Councils will be unique. It will be the towns taking a stand in their own defense. They will work with the many great private organizations that have done good work on this issue to date. But they won’t depend on the kindness of others to protect your rights and your wellbeing. They will attend so cities and towns can take a stand as one community. Something our country was founded on.

What a great thing that will be.

Dick Lynn writes this column as a private citizen, and his views do not necessarily represent those of the Jamestown LNG Threat Committee.

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