By Pattie Pacella
Neighb News Correspondent
More than 20 residents from surrounding towns, including Fairhaven, Dartmouth and New Bedford attended the Acushnet LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting on Tuesday, 5/10. The committee heard from Major Christopher Mason of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Fusion Center, as well as Attorney Sarah Bresolin of Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. AG Healey is among those opposed to allowing ratepayers to be billed for these types of projects.
Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher, the Chairperson for the LNG Advisory Committee, stated that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00p.m., at the Ford Middle School. He advised the committee that FERC also agreed to meet with their committee that afternoon at 3:00 p.m., where they will be able to ask Acushnet-specific questions.
Chief Gallagher explained that FERC had put on their website that the public comment feedback deadline is May 30th and that the Attorney General’s office has already sent a memo to ask for a 45 day extension. Chief Gallagher has also written a letter to ask for the same 45 day extension.
Major Mason gave a brief synopsis of what the Mass. Fusion Center does, which includes communication through all intelligence agencies to provide the best communication of any threats (bomb, terrorists, other) to the local level. He said it is a collaborative effort among all intelligence organizations: FBI, DEA, DHS, Analysis, etc. Major Mason stated that the Fusion Centers were created after September 11, 2001.
Specifically to energy infrastructures in the commonwealth, Chief Gallagher asked how those threats, if any, are monitored.
Major Mason stated if something internationally develops, such as a threat or attack on an energy sector, it would be shared through the channels (e.g., FBI), they would vet the information and if it may impact a community it is shared with local officials.
LNG Committee member, Bill Lima commented that if the Fusion Center has been opened since 2001 there would be a lot of data that they have compiled. Mr. Lima wondered specifically if there was any “hard” data of suspicious activity on LNG facilities.
Major Mason replied they are constantly evaluating any infrastructure facilities and there was no hard data specifically on LNG facilities.
Acushnet Police Chief Michael Alves was on hand, and he stated he receives weekly updates from the Fusion Center.
He said that they are a “real resource and we do use it.”
The second guest speaker was Attorney Sarah Bresolin of Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. Attorney Bresolin spoke about the attorney general’s interest in making sure natural gas, electric, water, and energy delivery is safe, reliable and affordable for the taxpayer.
She gave an overview of the FERC proceedings, and resource reports that will be available in June. She advised the public and committee, to get on the e-subscription on the FERC website (www.FERC.gov) to leave comments and get updates.
The next scheduled meeting is Thursday, May 12th at the Ford Middle School with the Mass. Energy Facilities Sitting Board at 7:00 p.m.
Some residents did comment at the meeting.
Roger Cabral gave his “theory” that LNG may look into exporting gas in the future and that is why the proposed tanks are so big.
The proposed expansion includes two tanks that will be 170 feet high and hold 3.4 Bcf (billion cubic feet) of Liquefied Natural Gas each. For comparison, the rainbow tank on the Southeast Expressway in Dorchester is 140 feet high and holds 1.2 Bcf of LNG.
Leslie Dakin also commented that he has recently read a 1,000 acre facility is going up in Louisiana, and the reason why they are requesting 6.8 Bcf in Acushnet is because of future endeavors in exporting.
Dave Hammond said he was also convinced that “exporting is the end plan.”
Michelle Keith of Dartmouth asked about the safety concerns.
“How do we protect ourselves,” she asked. “What should we be doing?”
Attorney Bresolin replied that they should comment on the FERC website to any of their articles and reports.
The next scheduled meeting is Thursday, May 12th at the Ford Middle School with the Mass. Energy Facilities Sitting Board at 7:00p.m.
Following that meeting, FERC will be available to hear comments and neighbor concerns on Wednesday, May 18th at 3:00 p.m. with the Advisory Committee at the Town Hall Meeting Room. As well as that evening at 7pm at the Ford Middle School. Both meetings are public meetings.
To download this week’s issue: https://www.fairhavenneighborhoodnews.com/2016-2/