National Park Service Rejects LNG Proposal
Senator John Kerry, Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman Jim McGovern today praised a declaration by the National Park Service that deals a major blow to the proposal to construct a Liquid Natural Gas terminal at Weaver's Cove in Fall River.
The decision was based on the fact that last spring the Taunton River was named a federal "Wild and Scenic River." The river received this official designation because of a provision, introduced in the Senate by the late-Senator Kennedy and in the House by Congressman Frank, and co-sponsored by Senator Kerry and Congressman McGovern, that was included in the Public Lands Management Act (H.R. 146) which became law in March 2009.
Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, wrote in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that "the Department of the Interior will be unable to find this project [the proposal to site an LNG terminal at Weaver's Cove] consistent with the Taunton Wild and Scenic River designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, as required by FERC."
The National Park Service's decision comes after a more than seven-year effort by Massachusetts legislators to stop construction of an LNG terminal in Weaver's Cove. The recent decision by the National Park Service follows discussions between the legislators and NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis, in which they argued strongly that constructing an LNG terminal at Weaver's Cove would not be appropriate given the "Wild and Scenic River" designation.
"This is a big step toward stopping once and for all the development of the LNG facility in Fall River. The Director took very seriously our concerns. I am very pleased that Director Jarvis has agreed that any potential LNG facility is inconsistent with the Taunton River's Wild and Scenic designation. Congressman Frank and McGovern and I have been working closely with the National Park Service on this issue for many years, and we'll continue to work to make sure that no LNG facility is ever built on the Taunton River," Senator Kerry said.
"My colleagues and I had been working to designate the Taunton River "Wild and Scenic" several years before the proposal to site an LNG terminal at Weaver's Cove," said Congressman Frank. "This reflects our belief that the river deserves to be protected. I would like to thank Director Jarvis and the National Park Service for affirming that fact. My colleagues and I are planning future steps to make sure that no LNG terminal is constructed on the scenic Taunton River, and people in the area should be reassured that we are going to be able to stop it."
"I welcome this strong statement from the National Park Service," Rep. McGovern said. "The people of Fall River and Somerset have spent an incredible amount of time, energy and money to block this ill-conceived LNG proposal. Enough is enough. It's time for Hess to come to grips with reality and go away."