The Offshore Pipeline

December 2,2005: Selectmen hear security concerns for LNG pipeline [The Daily Item, Jack Butterworth] The planed 11.7 miles long pipeline off the coast of Marblehead is raising a few concerns for the safety of the Town and for the fishing industry as well. The company, Excelerate Energy kept reassuring the Selectmen about the distances, heat limits, and flammability limits for normal usage and in the event of a terrorist attack, but Harry Christensen pointed out that that was all well and good unless you happen to be a fisherman right over the thing. The company admitted the dangers of "human error," and that "flammable clouds do travel a long time and a long distance." Flammable clouds? Well, by way of explanation, the company mentioned that each of the "regasification vehicles" would be carrying the equivalent of 50 Hiroshima bombs. Jay Michaud, a well-known fisherman, stated that the tankers wouold be highly visible from Marblehead all the time as they conducted their "regasification" operations right in the middle of the area's prime spawning area. After having admitted that a blast would reach far and wide in all directions destroying everything and everyone, the company went on to specify that its operations would only occupy sevent-tenths of 0ne percent of the area Mr. Michaud was concerned about. The company stated that this was the best place because to the east is Stellwagen Bank and to the south shipping lanes would interfere. Mr. Christensen seemed to be calling on the Board to reject the proposal and send a letter to the Governor, but as reported he only listed that as one option. The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Judy Jacobi, put off the discussion until a future, unspecified, date.

October 25, 2005: Selectman Jackie Belf-Becker attended a hearing last week in Beverly concerning the planned LNG (liquid natural gas) offshore pipeline (see our story below on the Algonquin Gas Transmission company's plans). When she returned to the Marblehead Board of Selectmen, she suggested a hearing be held in Marblehead and the Board promptly appointed her to coordinate it. They also fired off another letter to Govenor Romney "updating" him, as reported in the Lynn Item. The Algonquin Gas Transmission company has worked in New England supplying gas since 1953, operates more than 1,000 miles of pipeline, and the proposed project will place a pipe two feet in diameter and 16.4 miles long, and will become a part of the company's system of pipelines through hook ups. The projet affects communities around the North Shore and fishermen are also watching with a wary eye.

October 4, 2005: Gas Transmission, a division of Duke Energy, is seeking permission to begin building a pipeline through local waters as part of a much bigger east coast system. (See below.)

Named the "Northeast Gateway Pipeline," there will be a public hearing to discuss the project at Beverly High Shcool, Tuesday, October 11 at 7 p.m. Just what effect the construction will have is yet to be determined. The public hearing is a first step.

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