Council: Power plant in conflict with governor’s stated energy goals

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Town Council continued its campaign against Invenergy LLC’s proposal to build a 1,000 megawatt, fossil fuel burning power plant off of Wallum Lake Road this week, releasing a statement that outlines how the facility conflicts with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s stated environmental and energy goals.

“Based on extensive studies by experts over the past two and a half years, there is now evidence that the power plant is neither needed nor is it positive for our economy or our environment,” the release stated. “It is also in direct conflict with many of Governor Raimondo’s goals for Rhode Island’s energy independence and environmental protection.”

The release notes that the plant would “cause permanent damage to Narragansett Bay’s watershed, put in peril dozens of wildlife species and dramatically impact tourism and the quality of life in all of Rhode Island.”

Town Manager Michael Wood is calling on the governor to take back her endorsement of the plant by the Chicago-based developer.

“Respectfully, we ask the governor to reconsider her position on the highly controversial power plant proposal,” said Wood. “Gov. Raimondo knows that Rhode Islanders treasure their environment and her stated goals call for protection of the environment and plan for Rhode Island’s clean energy future. But the proposed power plant makes achieving those goals nearly impossible.”

According to the document released Wednesday, Aug. 15, the plant conflicts with the governor’s goal of reducing carbon emissions, as it will increase by 30 percent the existing carbon dioxide emissions for the entire state of Rhode Island. It states it will dump 7.2 billion pounds per year of CO2 into the air above Burrillville and “contaminate the pristine woodland air over the next 20 years with hundreds of thousands of pounds of chemical compounds- many that have known health effects.”

The release, which goes on to list the many ways the plant would impact the local environment, can be read in its entirety here.

“The town of Burrillville joins with 36 municipalities from Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts, Rhode Island’s Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, Save the Bay, Nature Conservancy, Audubon, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Metacomet Land Trust, and numerous other organizations and individuals in opposition to the Invenergy Power plant,” it states.

The Energy Facility Siting Board, the state authority that will ultimately determine if construction of the plant will move forward, is expected to continue hearings on the plant through November, with a final decision to be issued sometime around the start of 2019.