the past shape the future? I believe everything that our society
does has some historical basis;
therefore all historical
information has significant relevance in shaping our future.
History is littered
with events that were not supposed to happen and yet somehow they did.
sank, the twin towers of the World Trade Center
fell and the Hindenburg, the space shuttle Challenger, and the
Algeria LNG facility all exploded.
our beloved Boston Red Sox were not supposed to win the World Series title
last year and
nevertheless they managed to do so.
This brings me to a
statement made by Coast Guard Captain Mary Landry in the March 22, 2005
The Herald News in which she says that an
incident at the Weaver’s Cove Facility is “a low probability and high
consequence event.” On the contrary, standard risk management and
safety precautions conclude that a low
producing high consequences is to be considered a “high risk event.”
In my job as a
safety engineer, when confronted with a high risk event, I must develop
strategies that aim to
eliminate the risk. Captain Landry
has explicitly told us at numerous public forums that she cannot guarantee
Immediately after 9/11
the U.S. Coast Guard instituted a 1,000 yard exclusion zone for high
in the Taunton River. LNG is considered
high hazardous cargo and yet, quite mysteriously, the Coast Guard has
revoked the rule for this particular LNG project.
One has to wonder why?
Do the profit needs of Weaver’s Cove LLC outweigh the safety needs
According to several
published reports, Mayor Lambert is not satisfied with the Coast Guard’s
for Fall River because it puts Somerset and Fall
River’s residents at risk. The mayor has a duty to maintain
reasonably safe neighborhoods in the city. For the mayor to
accept a Coast Guard security plan that he and the
feels is inadequate would be a breach of his duty.
While we do not know the
particulars of the Coast Guard security plan because of the non-disclosure
that have been signed it is apparent that he is not
comfortable with the plan.
I believe that the
Coast Guard should develop a security plan that concentrates on “zero loss
of life” and
zero loss of life is the only standard the mayor
should accept for this project.
The “security plan”
should not become a “crisis management plan, a consequence plan, or a
that prepares us for disaster response and recovery.
To illustrate how important
the security plan is, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has
Richard Clarke, the former chief advisor on terrorism under
four presidents, to conduct a comprehensive security
both the KeySpan and Weaver’s Cove projects.
It is no secret that a
rocket propelled grenade is accurate to 500 feet and with the many
along the Taunton River and a span of only
1,000 feet in some areas and roughly five miles of river to protect,
the Coast Guard should ask themselves a simple question about their
security plan: Can we perform at this level
all the time?
While the mayor is not
expected to predict with absolute certainty whether an incident will occur
Weaver’s Cove facility, we do know, based on the
Department of Energy’s Sandia Study that an incident involving
the land based facility or tanker will cause significant structural
damage and serious injuries over one third of a
mile from the
report also states that a vapor dispersion cloud can travel up two miles
from the facility and still catch
fire if it encounters an
preparing a security plan for this project the mayor, the Coast Guard, and
officials are expected to consider the various risk
factors associated with this LNG facility as outlined in the Sandia
Study. The risk factors outlined in the study are referred to as
these events can be foreseen, then someone must be held accountable if an
incident occurs injuring
members of the public or causing
facility at Cove Point, Maryland unloads LNG tankers one and one-quarter
mile out in the
Chesapeake Bay. The four LNG storage tanks sit on
with all this distance and space between the public and the LNG, in the
event of an incident on either the
tanker or the land-based
tanks, there is evacuation of nearly two miles. The distinct possibility
of second degree
burns in only thirty seconds of exposure to
thermal radiation because the Weaver’s Cove site sits on only 68
acres is something I personally do not want my grandchildren - or for
that matter – any other children to be
Coast Guard officials
should ask themselves another simple question: Can we ensure the safety of
member of the public in event of incident at the facility
or the tanker?
two polluting power plants and a landfill, citing this LNG facility in a
densely populated area adds
significantly to the overall risk the
public already accepts day in and day out. There are clear alternatives to
project that are safer and at the same time meet the energy
needs of the Northeast.
Recently, off the
coast of Louisiana, Excelerate received its first offshore LNG shipment –
a technology that
the CEO of Weaver’s Cove told us a year ago did
Fall River is the
last place anyone should be considering placing an LNG facility. If
the U.S. Coast Guard -
who has a responsibility to protect and
serve the people of Fall River - and who are a branch of the Department
of Homeland Security – does not have the intestinal fortitude to
stand up and state that this is an ill-advised
readily admit they cannot provide adequate security of the public - then
just who will?
Michael L. Miozza