Tuesday, August 01, 2006
MEPA Approves Weaver's Cove LNG
To my absolute disgust, but not to anyone's surprise, the Massachusetts Secretary of The Environment gave Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) certification today to the Weaver's Cove LNG project in Fall River. The certificate is conditioned on some of the lame mitigation and other approvals discussed in a previous blog.
It is truly a shame that this proposed project, which should have been a non-starter, has gotten this far in the regulatory process. In addition to all of the security and safety issues properly raised by Fall River and many others, this project has the very real potential of destroying the Taunton River and skewing uses of Narragansett Bay toward the industrial and away from the shared, mixed-use scenario that is naturally evolving throughout this region.
Outside of those who stand to directly benefit financially from this project, it is difficult to find anyone who supports it. We all recognize that we need energy and that gas is an important part of the mix. Still, the wisdom of putting a giant industrial project like Weaver's Cove in a densely populated and environmentally-fragile area like the Taunton is lost on me. If history is any example, Rhode Islanders and the citizens of Massachusetts would rather pay more to do the right thing than throw away our progress for the sake of the speculative benefits and great risks offered by this project.
There are a few narrow-minded people who long for the olden days when Narragansett Bay was a manufacturing and import/export economy, and these people will support any project that suggests it will stimulate economic development, no matter what the cost to people and the environment. Under the banner of NIMBYism, they accuse opponents of placing their own misguided interests of safety, security, and environmental protection above jobs and corporate progress. Perhaps these few LNG supporters really just want to ensure that the tycoons of the oil, gas, and shipping industries stay in control of the rest of the masses, and that the common people be kept down?
I think those greedy and myopic reptiles should start living in the 21st century. The future of Narragansett Bay and its tributary rivers is not oil, gas, and heavy industry. It is in the shared vision of the Bay as a public resource, clean and vibrant, beautiful and compelling, the cornerstone of our identity, staple of our quality of life, our sense of place in the world. That future belongs to us. JT