Opposition Continues to Grow Over Proposed Acushnet LNG Facility
Residents from Acushnet and surrounding communities continue to voice their opposition of a proposed liquid natural gas (LNG) storage facility on Peackham Road, this time directly to the federal government.
During an "open house" event at the Century House Tuesday evening, concerned residents had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. They are the body that will determine the fate of the new LNG facility, which is part of a larger project, the Access Northeast natural gas pipeline.
John Peconom, a FERC project manager and environmental biologist, says the proposal process is just beginning, and these public input sessions are a necessary and important step.
"The commission wants to and is required to hear from the people, Peconom said. "It wants to hear from the town and community around the area and wants to take all that information into consideration before it decides whether or not to approve the project."
Most residents shared similar concerns revolving around safety, property values and air pollutants.
Harry and Barbara Grady live on Peckham Rd. and say if the new LNG facility is constructed, an access road would pass right along their property. They echoed the sentiments of many attendees.
"It's dangerous. It is really, really dangerous," Harry said.
"It's a matter of safety, it's a matter of our children's health," Barbara said. "There's no need for it now - absolutely not."
Safety is a major concern for more than just residents. Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher plans to remain "aggressively neutral," but still wants to be ready for whatever may happen.
"As this project moves on, we will be revising our plans and meeting with town officials to make sure that if this happens that we're not playing catch up, that we're ready," Gallagher said.
Gallagher says during the current facility's 44 years of operation, there has not been one fire call and he has a great working relationship with the entire crew at the facility.
The current facility on Peckham Rd. consists of two tanks 117 feet tall and 106 feet wide at the base. The proposed tanks will be much larger - 170 feet tall and 270 feet wide with a combined storage capacity of 6.8 billion cubic feet of LNG.
The major opposition group South Coast Neighbors United, led by Acushnet resident Dana Sargent, continues to persuade other residents and town officials to stand against the project. The group will be part of a town hall meeting Monday, February 1 at 4pm at the Acushnet Council on Aging.