Committee Presents Report on Proposed LNG Facility Without Taking Position
After being appointed by the Acushnet Board of Selectmen on March 14, the Acushnet Citizens Advisory Committee on LNG presented its final report to selectmen and residents at the Council on Aging Wednesday evening.
Committee chairman and Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher outlined each of its 26 recommendations to the Board of Selectmen, though did not take a side in support or opposition of the proposed liquid natural gas storage facility project by Eversource and Spectra energy companies.
Gallagher also declined to delve into questions of decreases in property values for residents near the Peckham Road facility.
"There are just too many factors that go into all of those different decisions and for those who believe that your property values are going to tank, we're not going to be able to change your opinion on that," Gallagher said. "I don't think it's our job to do that."
The committee did recommend updated studies by the FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on how LNG facilities will impact those values.
Along with property values, other recommendations revolved around local concerns such as safety and potential environmental impacts.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Garry Rawcliffe said the committee went above and beyond in their reviews, though more work is still left to be done.
"It's a very well done report," said Rawcliffe. "I don't think they left very many stones unturned at all, if any, but a lot more of it is going to hinge on the reports coming down from Eversource itself."
The project's proponents are required to release 13 resource reports, but have so far only completed two. The remaining 11 are expected to be released prior to the July 22 deadline.
Town officials are especially interested in the report on alternative locations for storage facilities, including one option suggested in a letter by the Environmental Protection Agency to place smaller tanks spread along the entire proposed Northeast Access pipeline.
Following the presentation, the Board of Selectmen voted to keep the advisory committee intact for the time being due to their recent contributions as well as providing a second set of eyes on the volumes of information rolling in shortly.
"You put this much time and dedication into something I would think you'd want to see it all the way through to the end wouldn't you?" said Rawcliffe. "They should be afforded the opportunity to keep doing that and plus it keeps another set of eyes on everything."
The selectmen will take the advisory committee's report and work it into their own report, which will be sent to FERC before the November 19 filing deadline. Rawcliffe also indicated he hopes to move the Acushnet Town Meeting ahead to October to allow residents a say before the deadline.