The embattled Weaver's Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project has received more bad news from the U.S. Coast Guard. While some might believe this would be the last nail in the project's coffin, the company says it has no plans to give up.
In a letter to Weaver's Cove CEO Gordon Shearer on Dec. 7, Coast Guard Captain Roy A. Nash upheld his Oct. 24 decision, which concluded that "the waterway from near Sandy Point, Prudence Island, Rhode Island...to the proposed facility in Fall River, Massachusetts, is unsuitable from a navigation safety perspective for the type, size and frequency of LNG marine traffic" associated with the Weaver's Cove terminal project.
"After a thorough review of your request...I find no substantive issue, nor new information, that would suggest my recommendation of unsuitability was incorrect or made without due consideration of the record. Consequently, I stand by my Oct. 24, 2007 recommendation," Nash said in his letter to Shearer.
Weaver's Cove spokesman Jim Grasso said the company does not intend to give up. It plans to appeal Nash's decision to the Coast Guard office in Boston, and, if necessary, to the Coast Guard in Washington, DC. Weaver's Cove also plans to submit a revised proposal to the Coast Guard in the next few months that Grasso says will address the concerns raised by the Coast Guard.
"Weaver's Cove is committed to seeing this project through," he told NGI.
Democratic Reps. Barney Frank and James McGovern, both of Massachusetts, applauded Nash's decision. "I am pleased the Coast Guard has in very strong terms made it clear that it would be a serious mistake from a safety point to establish this LNG terminal in Fall River," Frank said. "While the company has the right to appeal this latest decision, I urge them to accept reality and finally put an end to this ill-advised proposal."
"I hope the company makes a New Year's resolution to pull the plug on the project," agreed McGovern.
The Weaver's Cove project, which FERC approved in mid-2005, has been the target of intense opposition by local, state and federal officials. If built, it would provide 800 MMcf/d of peak sendout capacity, 400 MMcf/d of baseload supply and 200,000 metric tons of LNG storage. In June the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection suspended review of the project (see NGI, June 11).
In August Rhode Island authorities denied Weaver's Cove permission to dredge approximately 230,000 cubic yards of the navigation channel in Mount Hope Bay (see NGI, Aug. 20).
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