Plans for liquefied natural gas terminal dealt another blow
Weaver’s Cove Energy's bid to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in the city took another hit recently with the rejection of several project applications.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection told company officials Friday that applications to construct a docking system, dredge the Taunton River channel and dredge the proposed turning basing were all deficient and approval was not granted.
The DEP, however, did approve an application filed by Mill River Pipeline to construct an underground pipeline across the Taunton River. The approval came with the caveat that Weaver’s Cove Energy must obtain all other approvals necessary for the project before construction can begin.
The DEP decision comes just more than six months after the state agency informed Weaver’s Cove Energy it was suspending the application review process until the U.S. Coast Guard issued a final determination regarding the company’s transit plans.
The Coast Guard ruled in October that Weaver’s Cove Energy's navigation route from near Prudence Island, R.I., to the proposed facility on the banks on the Taunton River is unsuitable.
That decision was appealed back to the Coast Guard and the group again denied Weaver’s Cove plans.
Documents sent to Weaver’s Cove Energy Friday indicate the Coast Guard’s decision played the deciding role in the denial of the applications.
“MassDEP has conducted a technical review of this application and is hereby notifying the applicant ... of the deficiencies in the application that derive from the determination in the United States Coast Guard’s Letter of Recommendation that the affected waterway unsuitable from a navigation safety perspective for the type, size and frequency of LNG marine traffic associated with your proposal,” the docking application decision said.
City Corporation Counsel John J. Coughlin praised the DEP for seeing the applications in the same light as the Coast Guard.
“The city argued that there was no need to approve the applications for docking and dredging because the Coast Guard has determined that it would not allow LNG ships to navigate the waterway and we are pleased that the DEP has agreed with the city’s position,” Coughlin said.
The DEP also raised concerns over the permanent loss of fishing habitat due to the proposed dredging, as well as interference with the public’s right to navigate the waterway due to LNG ship traffic as grounds for not approving the applications.
Weaver’s Cove Energy has 180 days to appeal the decision and address any deficiencies determined by the DEP.
E-mail Will Richmond at firstname.lastname@example.org.