The LNG industry took it on the chin again recently. On paper, the plan by Weaver Cove Energy sounds simple: A 1,200-foot berth would be located in Mount Hope Bay for tankers to come up and unload their LNG cargoes into a pipeline that would take it to a re-gasification facility onshore. The 4-mile pipeline would be buried in a trench at the bottom of the bay and the Tauton River. It may have looked good on paper, but the LNG project didn't have many friends at a recent public hearing held in Bristol, R.I. Saying he was incensed, state Rep. Raymond Gallison Jr. said he was against the plan, adding that the bay belonged to the people. He was just one of many who have lined up against the Mount Hope Bay project. Nine public officials spoke at the Bristol hearing and none were in favor of the project. There was some friendly faces in the crowd--members of the pipefitters and carpenters unions were there showing their support. The project, besides bringing gas into the region means jobs and that means paychecks. "I am deeply, deeply disappointed at the latitude FERC has granted to this company as it continues to try and ram this down our throats," said Massachusetts state Rep. Patricia Haddad. The Federal Energy Regulator Commission approved the project in 2005, but it has fun into a hailstorm of opposition. In August 2007, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management denied an application for a portion of Mount Hope Bay to be dredgede to clear the way for the LNG tankers. The opposition wasn't just at the public hearing. Gallison has sponsored a bill that if given a green light, would allow a flood of additional approvals for any disaster response plan developed for LNG tankers traveling through Rhode Island state waters. The bill would give every Rhode Island cities and towns on Narragansett and Mount Hope bays authority over the disaster plans dealing with LNG tankers being developed by the state's Emergency Management Agency. Gallison's bill would give each community, hamlet, town veto authority over the safety plan. Without this plan, tankers will not be able to come into Rhode Island's waters. The fight is also being waged in D.C. Congressmen Barney Frank and James P. McGovern are trying to have the Taunton River designated a Wild and Scenic River. If the federal government grants this this designation, dredging it would be prohibited. No dredging, no tankers. For the record, the Energy Information Administration has said that the northeastern U.S. is one of the key areas of the nation that will be consuming more and more gas to keep its economy going. Stay tuned. You can bet, it's going to be a long hot summer for the folks at Weaver's Cover Energy. –John A. Sullivan, News Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, www.OilandGasInvestor.com, email@example.com
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