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Former Anti-Terrorism Czar Analyzes Threats of LNG Projects in New England

Richard Clarke, former anti-terrorism czar for both the Bush and Clinton administrations, is preparing a threat analysis of the proposed marine transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) through Narragansett Bay, said Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch. The U.S. Coast Guard has requested a copy of the analysis, which is due to be completed by mid-April.

Two regional LNG plans currently under consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission call for supertankers, 930 feet long and carrying volumes of up to 33 million gallons of LNG, to hug the shoreline of more than a dozen of Rhode Island communities and travel into the densely populated areas of Providence, RI, and Fall River, MA, Lynch said. He noted that the commandant of the Coast Guard requested a copy of the analysis in a recent letter.

"This is the first time that the top brass of the Coast Guard, which would be charged with the...responsibility of protecting the public from the dangers of LNG supertankers [traveling] up and down Rhode Island waters..., has expressed an interest in what we've been saying," he noted.

Clarke wrote a tell-all book, Against all Enemies, last year in which he alleged that "al Qaeda operatives had been infiltrating Boston by coming in on LNG tankers from Algeria" apparently prior to the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. He testified about the allegations before the 911 Commission last March (see NGI, March 29, 2004).

Clarke is analyzing the risks of transporting LNG to KeySpan LNG's proposed 525 MMcf/d LNG import terminal in Providence, as well as to Weaver's Cove Energy's proposed LNG terminal in Fall River, which would have an average vaporization capacity of 400 MMcf/d and peak-day capacity of 800 MMcf/d. The in-service date for the KeySpan LNG project initially was to be November of this year, while the Weaver's Cove terminal is due to begin operation in November 2007.

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