Every environmental group in Rhode Island, every single member organization of the the Environmental Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), is formally opposed to the construction of Invenergy‘s $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant planned for Burrillville, RI. At a press conference held in the RI State House Wednesday morning, representatives from 7 of the more than sixty member organizations read from their statements of opposition.
ECRI announced its opposition to the power plant in the Fall of 2015, and reiterated it’s position in the Spring of 2016 after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse misrepresented the views of the environmental community in an interview with Ted Nesi. See here and here.
- The Invenergy Plant will disturb the integrity of western Rhode Island’s forested habitats and wildlife corridors.
- The Invenergy Plant undermines Rhode Island’s ability to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals set in the 2014 Resilient Rhode Island Act.
Though The Nature Conservancy prides itself on the pursuit of nonconfrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges and rarely takes a public position on a specific development project, Associate Director Scott Cummings said, “Invenergy’s proposed Clear River Energy Center would do such harm to Rhode Island’s ecology, to our wildlife, and to our resilience to climate change that we are compelled to oppose this new power plant.”
Jonathan Stone, executive director of Save the Bay, cited, “serious concerns with respect to the power plant’s impact on the Blackstone River watershed and Narragansett Bay itself. Specifically, we are concerned about impacts to freshwater wetlands, water quality, stream flow, water temperature, riparian habitats, forest integrity and habitat quality.”
Polly Berry of the American Nurses Association of Rhode Island (ANA-RI) said that, “Climate change is Rhode Island’s and the world’s most urgent problem. One of the major causes of climate change is burning fossil fuels. ANA-RI is opposed to the proposal to build a new, natural gas fueled electricity generator in Burrillville and supports continued work to transition to clean, renewable energy and the efforts to change/promote/energy efficiency.”
Ben Gross of the Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition said, “As students and young people, we are especially concerned about keeping Rhode Island livable for our generation and those to come. Accordingly, we oppose the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, including the proposed plant in Burrillville. Building this plant would lock us into decades of dangerous carbon emissions and make it impossible for us to meet the targets established by the Resilient RI Act.”
Mary Pendergast, Director of Ecology for the Sisters of Mercy Northeast, said, “Mercy Ecology strongly opposes the permit to build a dual powered fracked gas/diesel power plant in Burrillville, RI, because of environmental, public health and climate change alarms currently being sounded by concerned citizens and Rhode Island environmental advocacy groups.
“Mercy Ecology stands with the people of Rhode Island who want to keep fossil fuel in the ground and who want to mobilize a movement to create jobs in renewable energy. The protection of the climate is the most serious issue we face. We will not avoid disaster by destroying our forests, rivers and tugging on all the strands holding the natural world intact.
Jerry Elmer, senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, explained his group’s lawsuit asking for a declarative statement allowing Providence the option of not selling water to the Town of Johnston for resale to Invenergy.
If Providence does not sell water to Johnston, Johnston cannot sell water to Invenergy. In that event, says, Elmer, “There cannot and will not be a power plant.”