The global economy is struggling and those effects are being felt right here in Fall River. Times are tough. The city is struggling with budget issues and layoffs that have impacted every city department, especially those dealing with public safety.
We need tax revenue, we need jobs, we need something that will stimulate our local economy. Councilor Leo Pelletier thinks that something is LNG!
Now, to be honest, I'm not surprised by this at all. I knew that with the tough economy that there would be some who would say it was time to revisit the LNG proposal. It is somewhat of a surprise that it would be one of our city councilors.
The argument for LNG is this simple, it would infuse 3-4 million dollars into the local economy over a span of 3 years. Also we're now being told that their would be 150 permanant job, which is a lot more than the 30 or so that we were told before. It's interesting to compare what is listed on the Weaver's Cove website vs. what is being said now by Leo and Hess. If the facts have changed shouldn't the website be updated? Anyway there is also the benefit to the local economy because of supplies and stuff that would be bought. So Leo looks at this and he thinks, hey why keep fighting them and spending money when we can get some money and jobs into our city.
But LNG is still not a good idea for our city.
After the facility is built all the construction jobs will cease to exist. The money added to the tax roles will be used, at least in part, to cover the additional safety costs. By the way, how will we ever deal with a safety issue on a floating platform? Will we now need boats for fire and medical?
The quality of life for hundreds of residents will be affected, either by the restrictions that will be placed on our waterways or the fear of living near these large tanks of liquid natural gas. Oh, I know, it's safe! We've all heard about the fantastic safety record. However what if the site did become a more tempting terrorist target? And airflight is touted as safe too, unless you're in a plane that crashes. LNG may have a great safety record but I don't want to see a facility wedged into a packed residential area become the site of one of the exceptions.
The biggest reason why LNG is not a good idea is that it robs us of our ability to set our own course. If we allow LNG on our waterfront we will lose the chance to ever develop it to the potential that many of us envision for our city's future. There are those who will say that we've failed to develop anything meaningful in decades. I would argue it's because of that short sighted thinking that believes that a dollar today is more important than investing in our future.