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FERC Considers Reopening Weaver's Cove LNG Proceeding

Indicating that it may reopen the Weaver's Cove LNG proceeding because of proposed changes to the project, FERC filed a motion in Boston's First Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday asking for temporary suspension of the deadline to file the official record of the proceeding while it considers requests from the attorneys general of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board to reopen the case.

The City of Fall River, which would host the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, asked FERC to seek a delay from the court of the deadline for filing the official record because once the Commission files the record with the court of appeals, it loses jurisdiction and can't reconsider the case.

The city, the attorneys general and siting board all argue that FERC should reopen its review of the project because Weaver's Cove LNG has been changed fundamentally since FERC ruled on it.

A federal transportation law passed in 2005 included several lines of text inserted by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) that blocked demolition of the Brightman Street bridge over the Taunton River. Leaving the bridge in place effectively prevents the LNG project from using traditional-sized LNG tankers, which can't fit through the bridge's openings.

As a result, Hess LNG and Poten & Partners, who are sponsoring Weaver's Cove LNG, announced plans last month to use smaller LNG tankers that would make more frequent trips to the proposed terminal (see Daily GPI, Feb. 14).

Opposition groups, including the City of Fall River and the attorneys general, said the new plans constituted a fundamental change for the project and asked FERC to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement with public notice and comments. FERC currently is considering that action.

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