Town Residents Continue to Raise Safety Concerns Over LNG Project
Hundreds of people attended the first of many informational meetings regarding the expansion of Eversource's liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility, located on Peckham Rd., Wednesday evening at Ford Middle School.
The major topic of concern was safety. Residents of the town and nearby New Bedford continually asked about safety procedures, security measures, and the threat the new facility will pose to surrounding residents. Some also asked about a potential blast radius and how the company planned to reduce terrorist threats.
Officials from Eversource noted that in over 40 years of operation at the Peckham Rd. site, there has never been an incident.
The crowd broke into cheers and applause as Joe Carvalho, Fall River resident and member of the Coalition for Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities, pointed out that despite decades without any accidents, "all it takes is one."
Others, like Kelly Hinkman, asked the panel of experts if the comments made throughout the night even mattered.
"We can talk until we're blue in the face, but in the end, do we really have a say?" Hinkman asked about the town's input on the project.
The ultimate decision will be made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but officials assured those in attendance that they will do their best to make the project as transparent as possible and continue to engage with the public.
Others that attended said they were still on the fence and want to know more about the project.
The LNG project, which consists of building two additional tanks that will hold a combined 6.8 billion cubic feet of LNG on the 250 acres owned by Eversource, is part of a larger project called Access Northeast, which will expand the existing Algonquin pipeline system. It will provide a direct line of natural gas into the new LNG tanks, eliminating the need for truck delivers in Acushnet to re-fill tanks.
Eversource spokesman Mike Durand says the project will also reduce energy costs by providing a local surplus of fuel.
"We can take that stored LNG, put it into the pipeline system and serve electricity generators and that will help keep the price of electricity down," Durand said.
It will cut costs by powering power plants with a cheaper and greener fuel during peak winter months when more consumers are heating their homes.