Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared before a House Natural Resources subcommittee Tuesday to urge adoption of his bill (HR 415) that would designate the Taunton River in Massachusetts as a Wild and Scenic River, putting another crimp in Weaver’s Cove Energy’s plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Fall River, MA.

The controversial project, which is sponsored by Hess LNG and Poten & Partners, calls for LNG tankers to come up the Taunton River to reach the proposed terminal site. The river feeds into Mount Hope Bay and Narragansett Bay about 50 miles south of Boston.

“This Wild and Scenic designation effort began well before the liquefied natural gas facility in Fall River was proposed,” Frank, an opponent of the project, told the House panel. “So this legislation was not drafted with the intent of blocking the LNG plan, though the bill would have the added effect of being one more obstacle to that plan going forward. This further underlines how environmentally unsound the LNG proposal would be.”

Frank’s measure has been cosponsored by the entire Massachusetts and Rhode Island delegations in the House. A companion bill (S 868) has been introduced in the Senate by Democrats Edward Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts.

If enacted, the legislation would designate the Taunton River for inclusion in the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This designation would support the preservation of the river as a natural resource and would make it eligible for federal funding and grant opportunities in future enhancement efforts.

The legislation is the latest in a string of bad news for Weaver’s Cove. The U.S. Coast Guard last week ruled that the proposed LNG terminal “is unsuitable from a navigation safety perspective for the type, size and frequency of LNG marine traffic” associated with the project (see Daily GPI, Oct. 25). Weaver’s Cove is expected to appeal the decision.

The Weaver’s Cove project 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 Daily GPI, June 6). Weaver’s Cove has appealed to the Department of Commerce to override Massachusetts’ objection to its controversial LNG terminal project (see Daily GPI, Sept. 13).

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 Daily GPI, Aug. 14).

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