July 17, 2008

Things Getting Wild and Scenic on Taunton River?

While Republicans tried (and failed) to stop the measure by deriding Fall River as overrun by gangs and ugly industrial development, Reps McGovern and Frank argued passionately for the Wild and Scenic designation which will protect both the upper and lower parts of our Taunton River from further damaging development.

The Taunton river is considered by local authorities to be the most ecologically diverse river in the state. There are no dams in the Taunton river, a fact that makes it unusual among major New England rivers.

The lower Taunton river is, of course, plagued with a coal-burning power plant on the Somerset side and a proposed LNG facility at the old Shell Oil site in Weaver's Cove. We live with the two power plants in town, but that doesn't mean we are comfortable with watching our river become the target for every sort of industrial development that the energy companies and their congressional Republican stooges want to exploit.

One after another, Republican representatives who live in states and areas which either do not have LNG facilities at all (Massachusetts already has 2 and a third is approved by FERC) or are directly benefiting from wild and scenic designations stood up to display pictures of Fall River and make their jokes about the local residents' hopes that our river's beauty will not be further eroded. When that didn't work, they pulled the "cheap energy" card and attacked Democrats as being unconcerned about the price of energy. It's an amazing tactic, considering a Republican-controlled government has displayed little concern and even less action to help our country move to an age of cheaper, and/or more environment-friendly energy. Do they actually think they have any credibility when it comes to anything other than that their will to preserve the profits of big energy? Do they think we've already forgotten about Dick Cheney's secret, closed-door energy policy meetings?

Frank also fended off comments from the bill's lead opponent, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who while displaying photos of a graffiti-marred area of the river, said the designation is not appropriate.
"The only part of this river that is scenic is the graffiti found on the bridges and embankments, and the only thing that is wild is the gangs that wrote this in the first place," Bishop said.

To the cynical, big-energy elitist, faux-populist Republican representatives who ridiculed the beauty of the Lower Taunton, I challenge you to paddle a kayak around Muddy Cove, look at the shorebirds, watch the crabs skitter back to their holes, float quietly as a majestic egret takes flight, and then tell me that the Lower Taunton River is simply a place where gangs scrawl tags on bridges abutting power plants.

Or, watch kids feeding the geese just north of the power plant, across the river from Weaver's cove.

Or run along Riverside Ave. south of the marina in the morning when the ducks are floating and bobbing in their sleep.

You will either change your mind or I respectfully suggest you take your out-of-state, hypocritical, big-energy bullshit and shove it up your bought-and-sold posteriors.

"If you want to fight about energy, work it out with the big boys and girls, don't turn it on the people," Frank said.
If the designation is applied to the lower section of the river, the measure would effectively stop Weaver's Cove Energy's proposal to construct a LNG terminal in Fall River.

In the end, our reps won. It's now up to the senate to approve a similar measure. If the senate does, then future industrial use of the Lower Taunton will be much more difficult for people like Hess LNG. And we'll be able to rest assured that my kids and perhaps their kids might be able to enjoy the river the way it is today and not some future dystopian craphole while the children of these Republican senators relax on their pastoral inheritances far away from the frightening morlock hoi polloi of Fall River.

House deals blow to proposed Mass. LNG terminal in the ProJo News Blog

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Posted by James at July 17, 2008 12:51 PM
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It appears Mr. Utah isn't without conflict when it comes to energy:

Bishop's N-waste ties eyed
EnergySolutions has given him more for '08 cycle than previous 3 combined


Also, he's an ANWR driller: http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1466151/bishop_bill_could_lessen_dependence_on_foreign_oil/

But the main point is this: How dare he cast aspersions on Massachusetts, and more broadly, on the environment. If I understand correctly, because there is graffiti, the residents are vile base creatures who don't deserve a natural resource for their enjoyment. I see. If this was a rich community in Utah, he'd probably sing a different tune.

I would say to him, honey, have you heard of remediation? Take a look at Providence, RI and Waterfire. Look at how the Merrimack in MA has been cleaned up so much that there are now river-based activities. Many rivers across this country have been cleaned up after the use and abuse that began during the Industrial Revoluton.

This was a cheap shot made by a man quacking out his ass.

Sit down and shut up.

Posted by: Patti M. at July 17, 2008 4:11 PM

One valid argument I have heard against the designation is its effect on certain existing local businesses. But if I understand correctly, it will only affect expansion plans. So this doesn't bother my overmuch. There is often a lot of talk abotu Fall River's deep water port, but I honestly don't see a lot of new money flowing out of the port into the community (or money flowing into projects which would then revitalize the community). So I'm comfortable saying let's see more recreational use and leave the industrial right where it is.

Posted by: James at July 17, 2008 4:21 PM

Yes, the more things people have to do, the less they'll make with the mischief, like graffiti.

Talk to the people in Lowell--boy, what they've done with the old mill complex and the National Parks Svc. is amazing.

Speaking of which, the Lowell Folk Festival is next week!


Posted by: Patti M. at July 17, 2008 6:26 PM

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