Acushnet LNG Pipeline Officially Strikes Out
When it comes to the liquified natural gas pipeline and storage facility that was proposed for Acushnet, it was always far from a home run.
Many residents opposed the project, spearheaded by Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC. But it was when the funding mechanism fell through that was the second strike, and in this case, two strikes led to an out.
"This isn't a rain delay," Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher, and chair of the town's LNG Advisory Committee, told WBSM News. "We have an assurance that if the proponents come knocking on the door of Acushneters again, we can start at the very beginning of the process. We don't necessarily jump to third base because we had someone on third base when the rain delay was called."
The proponents formally informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a letter dated June 29 that they would no longer be pursuing the project. According to Gallagher, that means that if at some point Algonquin or anyone else decides to try again, they'll need a fresh docket number from the FERC and will have to start from scratch, with the town and the advisory committee involved every step of the way.
When the Supreme Judicial Court ruled last year that utlities could not charge rate payers extra fees in order to fund the project that the writing was on the wall.
"When the funding fell apart, that was truly the body blow, on top of the opposition," Gallagher said. "It came as no big surprise to us, after a year of silence, that the proponents officially requested the project be withdrawn."
Gallagher has sought appointment to the National Fire Protection Association's committee on LNG, which writes the regulation and the standards by which LNG facilities are built and maintained. He said he hopes to continue to serve on that committee for the duration of his career.
"Even though this project now seems to be on the back burner, Acushnet officials are going to stay on our toes and try to influence the project as best we can," he said. "This was an extremely contentious issue for the town. In my 31 years on the fire department and being involved in all issues Acushnet, this is one that really hit home for a lot of folks."