Roselli calls on board to look at state’s standards for air emissions

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BURRILLVILLE – Paul Roselli, president of the Burrillville Land Trust, is questioning how in a time of climate crisis, state authorities could consider issuing an air emissions permit to a project like the one proposed for Burrillville by Chicago-based developer Invenergy.

On May 8, the Department of Environmental Management Office of Air Resources issued a preliminary determination or draft report for a major source permit for the Clear River Energy Center, proposing approval of the Major Source Permit application for the Invenergy project.

The report and the process is being challenged as inadequate and lacking the emissions reductions necessary to meet the goals of the Resilient Rhode Island Act.

Roselli has asked the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Science and Technical Advisory Board to review all air emissions standards under current Rhode Island law and review specifically the OAR preliminary approval for Invenergy.

“In a time of world wide acceptance that green house gas emissions are causing climate change chaos, why is Rhode Island OAR still using standards and a review process that allows the likes of Invenergy to receive a preliminary approval for air emissions?” asked Roselli. “This just doesn’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, then it is time for a review of those standards.”

“The authority to update Invenergy’s Application for a Major Source Permit for the Clear River Energy Center as well as all review standards is in existing legislation,” said Roselli. “Both the EC4 and the STAB are allowed to offer advice to state agencies as to the latest scientific information to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer mitigation strategies that would get Rhode Island to the reduction targets set forth by Public Law Title 42 Chapter 42-6.2 Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014. All of this is in existing law.”

To date, Roselli says that the Office of Energy Resources has not reached out to the EC4 or STAB for advice.

During testimony before the Office of Air Resources in June, Roselli presented why he thinks the Invenergy draft permit may need the help from the Science and Technical Advisory Board.

“In brief, standards used to review Invenergy’s application and all GHG emissions are out of date and are not in line with today’s climate crisis. The air standards and greenhouse gas emissions don’t use existing authority in seeking advice from the EC4 – Science and Technical Advisory Board.And in the case of the Invenergy project, the OAR preliminary review doesn’t mention smoke stack height in the draft permit, uses outdated Regional Haze Rules and regulations, does not include smoke stack exit temperature and their relationship between temperatures and emissions, uses outdated and outmoded air quality modeling, Selective Catalytic Reduction or SCR standards based for the years 1997 and 2000; there is no discussion about Unburned Hydrocarbons and fails miserably to recognize the accumulative impacts of deforestation, habitat destruction, construction, operation and maintenance of the nearly 40 other associated projects along with the Invenergy project,” Roselli stated.

“In a time where all scientific research says that we must reduce our emissions and move away from fossil fuels, Rhode Island is still accepting power plant applications to further pollute our air and water.The air permitting process in Rhode Island is woefully inadequate in getting us to where we need to be.And it needs to change,” Roselli said.

Roselli submitted his findings and request to the chair of the EC4 Janet Coit, director of RIDEM, and the chair of the Science and Technical Advisory Board at the EC4 meeting on Thursday, Sept. 12.

“This is not to suggest that members of the Office of Air Resource don’t know what they are talking about or that they don’t use the latest findings or research on climate change or air quality, but often state agencies are only authorized to use certain modeling and standards and are reluctance to change or gather and share information with other state or private agencies,” Roselli said. “The EC4 and STAB members represent multi-disciplines multi-state and private organizations with lots of expertise in all areas of air emissions and climate change. Both EC4 and STAB are required to offered advice to get Rhode Island to meet the mandated CO2 targets. I’m asking the Office of Air Resources to utilize this resource.”

“It’s time to look at climate change and emissions targets from a state wide, regional and planet level. The current air review process is not doing it. It is what we need to meet our emission targets,” Roselli said.

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