Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Opposition to Fall River LNG

In July, I posted about the proposed LNG terminal in Fall River and how it was a bad idea from a homeland security perspective. After all, the terminal would be located in a small, dense city and the tankers would have to travel through the heavily trafficked Narragansett Bay, traveling past many Rhode Island communities. An attack on an LNG tanker would be devastating, potentially causing casualties within a mile radius of the explosion.

As it turns out, fear of terrorism is not the only reason to oppose the terminal. Two studies released yesterday make the case that it would hurt the local economy. The security required for the LNG tankers would end up blocking the busy Newport Harbor, restrict use of the bay during boating season, and force the closing of bridges as the tankers pass under them. From the article:

While public concern has centered largely on the fear of an explosion or attack, the reports examined other potential consequences of LNG shipments on the water.

"This has nothing to do with terrorists or tankers blowing up or anything," said Keith Stokes, executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. "This has to do with our vision over the next 10 years for the economy of Aquidneck Island. This just doesn't fit."
And just when you thought everyone had weighed in on the situation, last week it was reported that even the Navy is against the terminal.
Last week, the Navy asked the commission to reverse its decision, warning that LNG tankers en route to Fall River would have to pass through its Narragansett Bay testing area for torpedoes. The tight security required to protect the ships from terrorist attacks would disrupt tests that are critical to national security, the Navy said.
So, for those keeping score, the Navy doesn't want this, no one in Rhode Island wants it, no one in Fall River or the rest of Massachusetts wants it. Near as I can tell, the only people who think the Fall River LNG terminal is a good idea are FERC and the Energy Companies pushing to build the plant. Opposition to the plant isn't just NIMBYism here. It's simply bad policy to put a LNG plant that far inland.