Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Latest on Weaver's Cove LNG

As readers of this blog know, we are fighting a proposal by Hess/Weaver's Cove LNG to construct a Liquefied Natural Gas tanker offloading platform in the middle of Mount Hope Bay.

We are against this for three main reasons:

1) Environmental: The project's construction and operations will have permanent and irreversible impacts on Mount Hope Bay and the Taunton River through dredging, sediment disposal, and other impacts related to operations.

2) Public Trust/Use Conflicts: The project will become the dominant feature of Mount Hope Bay, and the security zones around the incoming tankers will preclude all other uses- commercial, recreational, and otherwise- of this extraordinarily intensively-used waterway that extends down the East Passage to the ocean. It is completely out of scale with any other port, shipping, or energy operation in the region and would effectively privatize the Bay for a sole beneficiary.

3) Safety/Suitability: The Coast Guard is presently preparing a letter of recommendation (which could be positive or negative) on the suitability of the waterway for this kind of use. It is our strong view that the waterway is unsuitable and that this use would endanger other boaters and coastal communities in the vicinity of the project. Other groups including the coastal municipalities and the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts have raised concerns regarding safety and security around the project and we share those concerns. Our focus now, however, is to urge the Coast Guard to deny the waterway suitability certificate based on the threat to navigation safety of all the others who use and enjoy the Bay.

We've been at this now for nearly a decade, and some are growing tired of the fight. See, for example, the article in today's Fall River Herald: http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x1098185818/Cost-of-LNG-fight-crosses-2-million

As I've said before- we're in this for the long haul. For as long as it takes, we will question the wisdom of this project and work to promote sustainable, safe, and appropriate alternatives to this ill-conceived project. JT

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Restoring Shellfish in The Salt Ponds- Help Needed

Want to get dirty, work hard, and make a real contribution to saving the Salt Ponds? Join us on Tuesday, May 5th, to transplant quahogs from Narragansett Bay into spawner sanctuaries in Quononchontaug (Quonny) Pond and Ninigret Pond on the South County Coast.

This project is really inspiring, as we work closely with some terrific partners and dedicated staffers including RIDEM, The Nature Conservancy, and The Salt Ponds Coalition. These people love their work and they do it with extraordinary skill and professionalism. I volunteered on this mission last year and it was a good time with some great people. Details follow:



Shellfish Restoration Project - Part 1

Tue, 5 May, 2009 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Volunteers are needed to help The Nature Conservancy, Save The Bay, the Salt Ponds Coalition, and RIDEM in a joint restoration project funded by a NOAA/TNC Community Restoration Partnership Grant in May at Ninigret and Quonochontaug Ponds. The project entails loading
50lb bags of clams onto a boat and then unloading them into the pond at
designated spots. So we need strong people who want to be out in the sun and the
water! Volunteers will be needed to help in two areas each day: East Greenwich
(for an hour to an hour and a half) and then at the restoration sites (either
Quonnie or Ninigret).

Volunteers in East Greenwich will be meeting DEM staff at the RI
Clam Co. and will be loading 50 lb. bags of clams. Volunteers with
wheelbarrows, hand trucks, and planks might help, but strong backs (the ability
to lift 50 pound bags of muddy quahogs) would be a higher priority. You’ll be
loading the quahogs in to a flatbed trailer. The clams will then be transported
to the restoration site.

Volunteers who work in East Greenwich are not required to also volunteer at the
restoration site. Separate groups of volunteers can be used for each part of
the project.


WHAT TO BRING: Participants should be able to lift a 50lb bag,
wear movable and flexible clothing that they can get dirty including closed toed
shoes or waders, bring sun and bug protection and drinking water and
rain gear if necessary.

REQUIREMENTS:
Strong backs, able to do heavy lifting and bending. Don’t mind getting wet,
dirty and working in possible rainy weather. Able to be on your feet the whole
time of the volunteer project. Must work the entire length of the volunteer
project. Volunteers under the age of 16 must volunteer with a parent or
guardian. All volunteers will be required to sign and turn in waivers so we can
track your hours of service for the grant funding.

Location: 7 Water Street, East Greenwich, 02818 (RI Clam Co.) (Map)
Fees: Free and Open to the Public
Contact: Stephany Hessler, shessler@savebay.org or 401-272-3540 ext. 130

Shellfish Restoration Project - Part II

Tue, 5 May, 2009 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


WHAT:
Volunteers are needed to help The Nature Conservancy, Save The Bay, RIDEM, and the Salt Ponds Coalition in a joint restoration project funded by a NOAA/TNC Community
Restoration Partnership Grant in May at Ninigret and Quonochontaug Ponds. The
project entails loading 50lb bags of clams onto a boat and then unloading them
into the pond at designated spots. So we need strong people who want to be out
in the sun and the water! Volunteers will be needed to help in two areas each
day: East Greenwich (for an hour to an hour and a half) and then at the
restoration sites (either Quonnie or Ninigret).

Volunteers in East
Greenwich will be meeting at the RI Clam Co. and will be loading 50 lb. bags of clams. Volunteers with wheelbarrows, hand trucks, and planks might help, but strong backs (the ability
to lift 50 pound bags of muddy quahogs) would be a higher priority. You’ll be
loading the quahogs in to a flatbed trailer. The clams will then be transported
to the restoration site.

Volunteers who work in East Greenwich are not required to also volunteer at the
restoration site. Separate groups of volunteers can be used for each part of
the project.

WHAT TO BRING: Participants should be able to
lift a 50lb bag, wear movable and flexible clothing that they can get dirty
including closed toed shoes or waders, bring sun and bug protection and drinking
water and rain gear if necessary.

REQUIREMENTS: Strong backs, able to do heavy lifting and
bending. Don’t mind getting wet, dirty and working in possible rainy weather.
Able to be on your feet the whole time of the volunteer project. Must work the
entire length of the volunteer project. Volunteers under the age of 16 must
volunteer with a parent or guardian. All volunteers will be required to sign
and turn in waivers so we can track your hours of service for the grant
funding.

Location: Quonochontaug Breachway, End of West Beach Road, Charlestown, RI (Map)
Fees: Free and Open to the Public
Contact: Stephany Hessler, shessler@savebay.org or 401-272-3540 ext. 130

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Honoring Tony The Barber


This week, Narragansett Bay lost a legend and a hero. At 95 years old, Tony Giardino, "Tony The Barber" passed away. Tony gave me my first haircut, and also cut my father's hair, my grandfather's hair, and my son's hair. This picture is of me, Tony, and William Torgan just before his first haircut in 2007.

Tony was my father's friend and one of his first patients when he began his medical practice in Providence in the early 1960's. An avid fisherman, he introduced my dad to fishing on Narragansett Bay, and they fished together for many years. In many ways, for passing his great knowledge and enthusiasm to dad, I credit Tony for my life's passion and career in the environment and working for Narragansett Bay.

Tony was an environmentalist and conservationist long before those things became fashionable. He had an elegant manner and a great sense of humor right up until the end of his storied life. He fished the Bay religiously every Wednesday and Sunday after church. At every haircut, we'd talk about the Bay and share fish stories.

Tony had a million great one-liners, some funny, some wise, and I find myself quoting him often.

On dressing for the boat, it was "If you don't take it with you, you can't put it on."

On my receding hairline, it was "May it be the worst problem you ever face in your life."

On the birth of my son, the first Torgan boy since me, it was "John, you have only now begun to live."

Farewell, Tony. Your spirit lives on through Narragansett Bay and all of us you've touched forever.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baykeeper Back on Blogger

Hey, folks-

After using Save The Bay's website for the past year to host this blog, I'm back on Blogger. I'll be posting more frequently here, so check back often. I hope you like the new format! -JT

Thoughts on Offshore Wind and The Ocean SAMP

Save The Bay strongly supports renewable energy when it is properly sited and appropriately scaled to the surrounding community. Our position is not categorical- not every renewable project is a good one- and the details are always important.

We are actively engaged in the state’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) process, which was formed by the Coastal Resources Management Council to study and eventually zone and regulate the potential future uses of Rhode Island’s coastal waters for different uses-including wind generators.

While no governmental process is a panacea, we believe the SAMP represents a sound approach that gathers valuable scientific data and considers the input of a wide range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan for the future.

Save The Bay will not end-run the SAMP process and take a position for or against any hypothetical project within its study area. First we need the hard facts, then we can undertake a meaningful analysis of environmental risks, potential benefits, and any trade-offs on existing or future uses.

The SAMP process does not and cannot take the place of applicable state and federal regulation and permitting. Our main goal at this point is to ensure that the process is transparent, open, considers and works to obtain the best possible scientific information.

We also want to be sure that existing users, including the commercial and recreational fishing communities as well as waterfront municipalities, are explicitly included in the decision making process and never marginalized.

We are committed to bringing our best talent- legal, scientific, advocacy, and educational resources, to the table. And we’re in it for as long as it takes to get good information and make good policy that benefits the Bay and its people. JT