Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fall River LNG Still Snagged

About 13 months ago, I noted in this blog that the plan to build an LNG terminal in Fall River was not quite dead, despite the Coast Guard's concerns over the use of narrow LNG ships to pass under the Brightman Street Bridge spanning the Taunton River. As of last week, surprisingly little has changed. The Coast Guard issued a highly critical assessment of the plan again last week. Captain Roy A. Nash of the Port of Southeastern New England was quoted in South Coast Today:

In blunt language, Capt. Nash states that it is doubtful the maneuvers could be done safely every time, and that the passageway up the river could be made safe for such hazardous cargo.

"[...] The sum of measures, mitigations and precautions described in the Weaver's Cove proposal do not appear to sufficiently reduce risks to a point where the waterway could be declared suitable for the proposed cargo transit," Capt. Nash wrote in a letter to Weaver's Cove CEO Gordon Shearer.

Additionally, he wrote, Weaver's Cove made no inroads in addressing Coast Guard criticisms expressed more than a year ago. "The concerns I expressed in my letter to Weaver's Cove of March 13, 2006, remain."
The assessment is not final, and Weaver's Cove has a chance to answer the Coast Guard's concerns. Still, I have to imagine that if they haven't been able to supply convincing answers in the past year, it seems unlikely that they would be able to allay the Coast Guard's fears over safety.

The Herald News has more, including much reaction from the state's Congressional delegation -- all of whom are opposed to putting the LNG terminal in Fall River.