2010-09-09 / Editorial

Congress of Councils focuses attention on LNG

• EDITORIAL

Opposition to the Weaver’s Cove Energy LNG terminal proposed by the Hess Corporation – to be built in Mt. Hope Bay in Fall River, Mass. – gained muchneeded fresh momentum Wednesday morning. At least 10 Rhode Island communities were represented in the Congress of Councils held at the Jamestown Recreation Center. A quick head count revealed that there were about 120 people in the audience, with a healthy mix of interested citizens, public office holders and a number of state and federal political candidates.

The event was headlined by several speakers: U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (U.S. Sen. Jack Reed was also on hand), R.I. Attorney General Patrick Lynch and LNG specialty lawyer Dianne Phillips. Also addressing the crowd were Save The Bay’s Jonathan Stone and Jamestowner Evan Smith of the Newport and Bristol County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Wednesday morning gathering was the brainchild of Jamestown Town Council member Bob Bowen. LNG Threat Committee member Dick Lynn took charge and organized the event. The two islanders hope that the Congress of Councils initiative won’t end with Wednesday’s meeting, but will be followed by a group strategy work session. They urged representatives from the 10 city and town councils to participate in the Narragansett Bay-wide effort to develop a plan to battle the Hess Weaver’s Cove proposal.

The speakers at Wednesday’s gathering collectively issued a call to arms, reminding people that the Weaver’s Cove Energy LNG terminal would have a deep impact on all communities along the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. The area’s economy would suffer terribly, the speakers said, with inconvenienced tourists and boaters choosing to vacation elsewhere. They also pointed out the dangers that the steady traffic from fully-loaded LNG supertankers would pose to residents in the post 9-11 era.

Residents were cautioned not to ever assume the battle against the proposed LNG facility was over. Don’t give up, because Hess won’t be giving up, they warned.

Bowen and Lynn, the two Jamestowners who organized the Congress of Councils, deserve high praise for their ongoing efforts to thwart the LNG proposal. We hope that they continue with their plans to keep the 10 communities organized as a group against the LNG facility. There is no doubt that united we can succeed in keeping our Bay as it should be.

— Jeff McDonough

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