Put energy supplies underground


To the Editor:

Hurricane Sandy proved that a category 1 hurricane with a modest storm surge could cause horrendous damage. Imagine if a hurricane of this type came directly down Narragansett Bay and collided with the hurricane barrier. Thousands of homes and businesses would be destroyed and the pollution caused by the destruction of the numerous aboveground energy storage facilities in the area would be devastating. The state of Rhode Island, in conjunction with the federal government, should start immediately to form a plan to reduce the damage caused by hurricane winds and storm surges in the bay area.
I have a suggestion. The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) has proven that deep underground, constructed hard rock caverns can be economically built in the Rhode Island area. The pumping facility for their combined sewer overflow program is located in a constructed hard rock cavern. I suggest that a series of these caverns be built at Quonset Point and used to store all energy products now stored aboveground along the shorelines of Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays.
Once all energy products are stored safely underground, all the aboveground storage facilities could be dismantled and the shoreline areas redeveloped in a pristine and environmentally correct manner. The Narragansett and Mount Hope Bay shorelines would have new parks, bike paths, wetland wildlife preserves, marinas, docking facilities for cruise ships, resort hotels, condominiums and a myriad of other new commercial and environmental developments.
The rock debris created building the hard rock caverns could be used to build breakwaters and other barriers along the Narragansett and Mount Hope Bay shorelines. These breakwaters and barriers would be designed to reduce the damaging effects of hurricane winds and storm surges. The bay area would become safe, clean, prosperous and secure from terrorist attacks.
The state of Rhode Island, the federal government and private energy companies would share the costs and benefits of this project.

Kenneth Berwick


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