By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
Acushnet Selectboard members were happy to announce at their meeting on 7/18, that the LNG expansion project has been withdrawn.
Access Northeast, a project proposed by Eversource, National Grid and Spectra Energy, sought to construct two 3.4 Bcf (billion cubic feet) tanks with an outside diameter of 270 feet at the base and a height of 170 feet each at the existing Peckham Road facility. The project faced fierce opposition from residents and some town officials, as well as resistance from other towns along the pipeline route.
The company withdrew its application on June 30. In a letter* to town officials, Algonquin Gas Transmission cited New England’s lack of a “uniform energy policy and the authority necessary for regional support of natural gas infrastructure for electric generation.”
The letter also states that New England energy consumers “continue to face serious and well-documented electric reliability and price challenges,” a claim disputed by opponents of the project.
“It may come back, but it’s off the table as of now,” Chairperson Kevin Gaspar said. “The project is dead.”
“I’m happy to see it gone,” said Selectboard member Roger Cabral, a strong opponent of the project who beat out incumbent Garry Rawcliffe in April in an election that featured the LNG project front and center. Mr. Rawcliffe would not openly oppose or support the project during the campaign
In another matter, Town Administrator, Brian Noble stated that one of the first things he was charged with as Town Administrator was to reduce the town’s insurance cost, and he has done just that by nearly $85,000.
He said in some areas the town was over insured and in others, under insured. He said that he and town accountant Julie Hebert have worked diligently on the Town insurance and he is celebrating the one victory in reducing the costs for the Town.
Mr. Gaspar commended Mr. Noble and Ms. Hebert, saying they have done a “phenomenal job in a short amount of time.”
The board also took a detour outside to view an electric car. The Town has received a grant to buy up to three electric cars and is still shopping around. The cars will be used by Inspectional Services, the Board of Health, and the Council on Aging.
Guy Ledeau, from Nissan Milford was on hand to give a quick review of a vehicle, which Mr. Cabral and Mr. Cioper took for a quick spin.
Mr. Ledeau said the vehicle is pure electric, with no gas, and no diesel.
He told the board that the car has a top speed more than 90 mph and is comparable to a good V6 engine. He said he has worked with different towns in the area to obtain the vehicles; 17 are driven in Fall River and 24 in New Bedford.
A charging station has already been installed at the Acushnet Town Hall parking lot. Mr. Ledeau said it can recharge to 80% in 30 minutes. He said the total obligation from the Town will result in less than $1,000 net per year per car. The vehicles were part of a Green Sustainability Grant received by the Town.
The board also held a joint session with the School Committee to appoint a new member. Craig Sumner of 22 Westland Street was selected to fill an open seat until next year’s election.
The board also resurrected the Cable Advisory Committee, with Roger Cabral as the Selectboard appointee.
Mr. Noble stated that the committee has not met in years, but now that the cable contract is coming up for renewal, the CAC needs to be active.. The board also appointed Chris Oliver as the School Designee, Gerard Bergeron (EMA), Don Lopes (Cable Designee) and Mr. Noble.
*Read Algonquin’s letter on our website at www.neighbnews.com