Weaver's Cover LLC has upped the ante in the ongoing battle for the liquid natural gas facility it plans to build in Fall River.
The facility which officials at Weaver's Cover claim in needed to meet the rising energy needs of this area has met with stiff resistance from Fall River officials who argue that the size and scope of the project make it unsafe for such a densely populated area.
The project seemed in jeopardy when legislation introduced by Congressman Jim McGovern passed that would, in effect, stop the Brightman St. Bridge from being torn down after its replacement is complete. The aging draw bridge has an opening of 98feet and is much too narrow for LNG supertankers to pass through. However as announced yesterday on WSAR and in a story in today's Providence Journal (Registration Required), Weaver Cover officials have notified the Army Corps. of Engineers and the Coast Guard that they will now use much smaller vessels to transverse the channel.
While the use of smaller vessels may seem to have solved the 'Brightman St. Bridge' problem for Weaver's Cover they do so at a cost. Previously Weaver's Cover had projected 50 visits per year to the proposed Fall River facility but now with the smaller tankers that number has risen to 120 visits. The additional visits will certainly mean an increase in the cost of security and operational expenses.
Mayor Lambert stated that the impact of using smaller tankers was such a drastic change that Weaver's Cover may need to start the permitting process from stage one. He also felt that even the smaller tankers were much too large for the Brightman St. Bridge and that at 82 feet wide they left a scarce 8 feet of clearance on each side of the ship.