By Pattie Pacella
Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Advisory Committee for LNG met on Tuesday, 6/14, to begin the process of gathering the information that will be used for their formal presentation and recommendations to the Selectboard. The meeting for their presentation to the Selectboard will be on Monday, June 27, at 5:00 p.m.
Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher, who is the chairperson of the committee, suggested that they think about proposing that Eversource be asked to pay for independent peer reviews of their reports through the monies they would eventually be paying to the town in building fees.
Chief Gallagher explained that if the project were to go forward there are substantial building permit fees that Eversource is going to need for the project. He said he thought that a written legal document could be made up by town counsel that would ask Eversource to pay a percentage of the building permit fees up front so that the town could get an independent peer review of a report.
If the project does not go forward, Eversource would be refunded any unused monies, with the understanding that the monies used for the peer reviews would not be refunded.
Committee member Paul Pelletier did not agree with the concept. He said the monies that Eversource would be given should be a “gift,” and he was fine at using their gift to get the independent peer reviews.
“I’m all for asking Eversource for a gift,” he said. “To them it’s a drop in the bucket.”
Chief Gallagher thought it was bad public policy to ask for a gift. He felt it may warrant “something” in return.
The other committee members were unsure of the proposal and the discussion was tabled; however, all the committee members agreed that in their final report they would need to make sure it was clear that independent studies were needed to be completed along with the mechanism on how the town would pay for them, and those studies would need to be done fairly soon.
Chief Gallagher brought to the committee’s attention a posting on the FERC website on June 13 by the EPA. He invited the public to review it on the FERC website and stated it was already posted on the advisory committee’s page on the town website at www.acushnet.ma.us. He said that it would probably appease some, and maybe not appease any.
Chief Gallagher reading from page 11 of the EPA letter read: “That the estimated direct impact to more than 65 acres or more of wetlands for the proposed LNG Acushnet facility, if permitted would represent one of the largest direct impacts allowed in New England to date.”
He asked the public to be sure to download it to read in its entirety.
He then read a response on the FERC website that was posted that day showing some “definite inconsistencies” to the other posting.
The committee discussed the different topics that would they would break down further for the recommendation report to the Selectboard.
The topics include: regulatory responsibilities, public safety/security, property values & environmental. There would then be sub topics and recommendations for each.
The Committee agreed they would write a synopsis of each, with their recommendation. They agreed to read the drafts and do any text editing via email and then planned on meeting Friday, June 17th at 6pm to further review. They will also meet again early next week to continue to put their thoughts and recommendations together.
Click here to download the 6/16/16 issue in its entirety: 06-16-16 OrlandoVigil