City is wrong place at wrong time for LNG

       Does 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.  The Titanic
sank, the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell and the Hindenburg, the space shuttle Challenger, and the
Algeria LNG facility all exploded.         
       Even 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 edition of
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
probability incident 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 our
       Immediately after 9/11 the U.S. Coast Guard instituted a 1,000 yard exclusion zone for high hazardous cargo
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 of the
       According to several published reports, Mayor Lambert is not satisfied with the Coast Guard’s security plan
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
police chief 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 forms
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 mop-up plan”
that prepares us for disaster response and recovery.
       To illustrate how important the security plan is, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has hired
Richard Clarke, the former chief advisor on terrorism under four presidents, to conduct a comprehensive security
analysis of 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 multi-family homes
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 at the
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 incident site.  
       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 ignition source.  
       However, when preparing a security plan for this project the mayor, the Coast Guard, and public safety
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 forseeability.  
       Since these events can be foreseen, then someone must be held accountable if an incident occurs injuring
members of the public or causing property damage.
       The LNG 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 1,017 acres.          
       Yet 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
exposed to.  
       Coast Guard officials should ask themselves another simple question:
Can we ensure the safety of every
member of the public in event of incident at the facility or the tanker?

       With 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 this
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 not exist.
       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
project and readily admit they cannot provide adequate security of the public - then just who will?

Michael L. Miozza
Fall River Resident