In a letter to FERC Friday, Massachusetts Democrat Sens. John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy said they were opposed to the Weaver’s Cove Energy planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal for Fall River, MA, citing the project’s potential harmful effects and risks to the city and surrounding area.

“We do not doubt the importance of LNG, but as a result of the many serious objections that have been raised against this project, it should not go forward, and we urge the Commission to oppose it,” the two senators wrote to FERC Chairman Pat Wood.

The LNG project “raises too many safety, environmental and economic problems to go forward. Surely we can find a more responsible way to meet our energy needs,” Kennedy said in an accompanying statement.

“The potential risks this project poses — to the environment, to public safety and to the fact that the total security costs far outweigh the tax revenue generated — make it clear that this location does not make sense,” Kerry agreed. “While we must continue to find new, affordable and creative ways to bring LNG into the Northeast, we must do so responsibly with deliberation and with great consideration to the needs and concerns of local residents.”

Both senators expressed concerns over the location of the LNG terminal project in a too densely populated area, with almost 2,000 homes and more than 9,000 residences within a one-mile radius, and over the safety impact of closing the city’s bridges when LNG tankers would arrive. Fall River is located south of Boston on the Tauton River and Mount Hope Bay. The city has two major bridges — the Braga Bridge and the Brightman Street Bridge.

Kennedy and Kerry believe Fall River would benefit far more from the mayor’s economic development plan to create a hotel and an office park or conference center on the 73-acre site, rather than an LNG facility.

The proposed $250 million terminal facility has gone through the preliminary process at FERC, receiving a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). It still is awaiting a final environmental nod and certificate from the Commission.

The project, which would be sited in an industrial area that was previously a petroleum import terminal, would have a vaporization capacity of 400,000 Mcf/d on an average day, and up to 800,000 Mcf/d on a peak day, and the ability to supply up to 100,000 Mcf/d by truck to local and regional markets. Weaver’s Cove Energy has targeted the project for in-service in November 2007.

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