2010-09-09 / Letters to the Editor

Aren’t we ‘smarter’?

Last week, in the “LNG Threat” column, Dick Lynn stated that a car carrier – referred to as a “car tanker,” though it carries no liquid – will not “level the area around it with a potentially fiery blast.”

This is true; however, we currently ship a multitude of cargoes up the Bay that could do just that, not the least of which are home heating oil, gasoline and LPG. Additionally, LNG cannot ignite in liquid form, and the gas must be contained, proving difficult to create such a “fi- ery blast.”

Mr. Lynn also states that you have the right to free access to the Bay. This is also true, and nothing about the proposed LNG project will change that. As I’ve mentioned, these shipments will not close the Bay, or even come close to it. They require a 12- to 15-minute break in the action, during which time any vessel is free to go anywhere else in the Bay.

Further, those vessels that work on the Bay may very well be permitted to operate within the security zone.

It is also true that Al Qaeda can check our AIS system. Though I think it’s a stretch, let’s suppose Mr. bin Laden fires up his Mac in a Wifi-equipped cave to check Safe Sea R.I.’s AIS map. After planning the attack, he charges his minions with the task of getting through the security forces – the same “gunladen boats” that would supposedly harm children sailing near the security zone. Supposing they succeed, a U.S.S. Cole-type terrorist attack will only create a spill of rapidly evaporating, non-toxic liquid.

This level of fear is utterly ridiculous.

We keep hearing about the “bill for increased police, EMS and security costs” related to LNG tankers. For decades, LPG has transited our waters, under the same exact regulations as LNG. Yet, Jamestown police have never been dispatched to assist with the security of these transits.

We are also asked to recall the vessel that knocked out our power – also mistakenly referred to as a tanker; it was a cruise ship. I do remember this incident, and I also remember the company being liable for the damages. To say the vessel “claimed no responsibility” is irresponsible.

It should be known that there is currently a LNG storage tank in the port of Providence. The LNG comes from Boston, in 2,500 trucks. Which is safer? A ship full of LNG passing our shores, or 2,500 tank trucks navigating in Providence traffic, past schools and homes?

Environmentally, we have an opportunity to take 2,500 CO2- emitting trucks off the road and replace them with ONE ship. If we truly were a “green”-minded state, wouldn’t we jump on that?

It’s obvious that the anti-LNG “authority” is grasping at straws. It’s also become painfully clear to me that they haven’t got a clue and they’re hedging their bets, hoping you don’t either. I’d like to think we’re smarter than that.
Shawn Ouellette

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