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August 17, 2005

Navy could torpedo Weaver's Cove LNG plan

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, R.I., could torpedo plan's for the proposed Weaver's Cove LNG terminal in Fall River, Mass.

The Navy filed a request Monday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking that it reconsider a June 30 decision allowing the Weaver's Cove plan to move forward.

In the filing, the Navy said that LNG tanker transits through Narragansett Bay would disrupt testing operations in the bay adjacent to the Undersea Warfare Center.

The Navy said it only learned of the status of the Weaver's Cove proposal and the potential impact on its operations after it was notified by the state attorney general's office on July 15. It says the Undersea Warfare Center "was not included in the applicant's scoping process for this proposal, nor was it invited to participate in any meetings or associated discussions."

The Navy request for a rehearing is not only the obstacle facing Weaver's Cove.

The plan to bring LNG tankers to the planned terminal involves demolition of the Brightman Street Bridge, connecting Fall River and Somerset, Mass.

The recently enacted TEA-LU transportation act reportedly includes language prohibiting the use of federal funds to demolish the bridge. And Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has written FERC informing it of the Commonwealth's intention to "preserve the existing bridge for pedestrian, bicycle and emergency access."

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