Land Use

Gov. Raimondo: Land Protection, Power Plant Can Coexist

PROVIDENCE — Gov. Gina Raimondo is sticking by her support of the vetting process for the proposed Burrillville power plant and gave her take on why open space is cleared for some of the state’s biggest developments, such as the Citizens Bank office park and the nearly 1,000-megawatt natural gas power plant.

Raimondo made the remarks Sept. 22 at the kickoff for the open space and green economy bond referendum. Question 6 asks Rhode Island voters to approve $35 million for bike paths, brownfield cleanups and land protection.

Development of natural space, she said, is part of a balance between the economy and “quality of space.”

The fate of the $700 million fossil fuel facility is in the hands of the state Energy Facility Siting Board, she said.

“If they find that it is unsafe or environmentally problematic then I expect that they won’t allow it and I’ll respect that decision,” Raimondo said.

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  1. Not convincing Governor. We have plenty of infill and reuse opportunities in built up areas, no need to squander natural areas for the power plant or Bank.
    I also hope someone will investigate another possible open space threat, which is yet another casino, this time in Tiverton, which at least we have some control over as it is Question 1 on the November ballot.

  2. Gina,
    How could you be so foolish? Rhode Island just made history. We have the first in the country deep water wind farm off the coast of Block Island… Rhode Island must be the laughing stock of the country, that we diverge so.. I know what it is all about..Build these Power Plants so we will be dependent on fracked fossil fuels, therefore no ban on fracking! This is criminal!
    The Power Plant will set us back 40 years with a commitment to fossil fuels! This is wrong for Burrillville, it is wrong for Rhode Island. And…how hospitable of us to share this disaster with Massachusetts and Connecticut because of the proposed location.
    You care nothing about the people of Burrillville or the people who will be withing a 100 mile radius of the Power Plant.. That Power Plant will spew toxic particulate matter into the atmosphere. It will invade the soil of our gardens, it will invade every body of water including the Bay and it will invade the air that we breath!
    In the event of a toxic spill or an explosion, Burrillville does not have a fire department. It will take 45 minutes for an emergency response team to arrive to Burrillville. Is there an evacuation plan in place? Do you even care about death and destruction? There have been thousands and thousands of toxic spills, pipe line leaks and explosions around the country.. Let’s not place Rhode Island inn harms way!
    Do you care that the Power Plant will be twice the size of Providence Mall? Do you care that it will be sitting in the middle a National contiguous forest!
    Would you want to be living in this Northwest corner of our state right now?
    Gina, you are selfish, inconsiderate and lacking good judgement!
    Do you care that we do not need the electricity? Do you care that the electricity will be sent out of state?
    Invenergy is using and abusing Rhode Island and so are you Gina!

  3. So she is going to clean up brownfields by creating another? By the way, Citizens bank does not use 1 MILLION gallons of water per day and does not spew MILLIONS OF TONS OF CO2 into the air.
    Brownfield Definition: A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
    So even if we did need this new power plant, why not put it in an existing "brownfield" instead of creating an environmental disaster? Invenergy has alternate sites they could use that are reuse of existing developed sites. It would just cost a little more. So they, and the governor, would rather destroy forests, wetlands, and endangered species?

  4. Talk about passing the buck! She has already said RI is open for business. She doesn’t live there her kids are pretty much grown. She’ll be leaving the state after she gets unelected next election. There better be several progressive people running against her. We need to be sure she has at least one progressive democrats running again at her in the primary. Independents, social democrat, green party cool moose. It doesn’t matter . What matters is electing a person who shares our values. Not someone bought and paid for by corporate friends. How far would we have to dig to find the money?

  5. This is posted on RI.gov Does Governor Raimondo realize that most the the organizations listed here came out LOUD AND CLEAR IN OPPOSITION TO THE POWER PLANT? They have already found, with iron clad documentation, that it is unsafe AND environmentally problematic and handed this information over to the EFSB. By thier own laws and statues this project should have been denied and thrown out by now.
    Press Releases
    Raimondo, Moffit, DEM join community partners to kick off $35 Million Green Economy Bond Campaign
    DEM to Announce $4 Million in Local Recreation Grants, Followed by Extreme Cycling Demonstration

    PROVIDENCE – Governor Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit – along with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the Yes On 6 Coalition and other partners – will host a rally in support of the Green Economy Bond on Thursday. The $35 million bond on November’s ballot provides funding to improve state and local recreational facilities; preserve open space; address stormwater; and clean up former industrial "brownfield" sites for redevelopment. As part of the event, DEM will announce $4 million in recreation grants to local communities. An extreme cycling demonstration at the future home of Providence’s Teen Adventure Park will follow.

    WHERE: Site of former Lincoln Lace & Braid Factory Access via Merino Park (parking lot) map Providence, Rhode Island 02909

    WHEN: Thursday, September 22, 2016 | 10:30 a.m.

    WHO: Governor Gina Raimondo Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza First Gentleman Andy Moffit Janet Coit, DEM Director Larry Taft, Executive Director, Audubon Society of Rhode Island Alicia Lehrer, Executive Director, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council Roy Coulombe, Vice President, R.I. Building & Construction Trades Council

    Rhode Island is beloved for its beautiful waters, green spaces, and vibrant communities. The Green Economy Bond invests in the health of these assets while creating jobs and supporting the economy. Yes On 6 partners include Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Bike Newport, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Build Rhode Island, City of Central Falls, Clean Water Action, Coggeshall Farm Museum, Discover Newport, Gilbane Building Company, GrowSmartRI, Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition, Rhode Island Building Trades, Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Land Trust Council, Rhode Island Recreation & Parks Association, Save The Bay, The Nature Conservancy, and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. Twenty-four Rhode Island communities have passed resolutions in support of the bond. For a complete list and/or to download a factsheet on the Green Economy Bond, visit http://www.YesOn6RI.com. Join the social conversation by using #YesOn6RI.

  6. By the way, here is a list of those in opposition to the proposed fracked gas oil fired power plant: The Rhode Island Chapter of the Nature Conservancy
    The Audubon Society of Rhode Island
    Save the Bay
    Burrillville Zoning Board
    Burrillville Planning Board
    The Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor
    The Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone
    Cumberland Conservation Commission
    South Kingston Conservation Commission
    West Greenwich Conservation Commission
    Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Space
    Harrisville Fire District
    Pascoag Utility District
    Conservation Law Foundation – Rhode Island Chapter
    Environmental Council of Rhode Island
    Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation
    Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (Data request 3 and final advisory opinion)
    Blackstone Valley Tourism Council
    Representative Cale Keable
    Burrillville Conservation Commission
    Burrillville Democratic Party
    Burrillville Historical Society
    Clean Water Action – Rhode Island
    Toxic Action
    The FANG Collective
    BASE – Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion
    Rhode Island Interfaith Power and Light
    Keep Rhode Island Beautiful
    Fossil Free Rhode Island
    Senator Paul Fogarty
    Sierra Club – Rhode Island Chapter
    Channing Memorial Church – Green Congregation Committee
    English for Action
    The Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island
    Food and Water Watch
    Rhode Island Chapter Citizens Climate Lobby
    Sisters of Mercy Ecology
    Town of Thompson, CT Board of Selectman
    Rhode Island House of Representatives
    Progressive Democrats of Rhode Island

  7. Governor Raimondo,
    Please give me a break. There has to be "a balance"? You said that we must protect our wetlands? Seriously? How is the proposed power plant going to do that? "We have a process underway… I am an arms’ length away…. If they [EFSB] find that it is unsafe or environmentally problematic then I expect that won’t allow it and I’ll respect that decision." Of course, you do not mention that you, yourself, obviously, believe that the proposed power plant is needed because of electricity needs…. You know who you remind me of????? Sheldon Whitehouse….. you have two faces… which is the real face, Governor? The face that wants to protect the environment for your children’s children or the face that wants to promote your career???? Which is the most important???? I suspect the later….
    And you can argue all you want about Goldman Sachs not having anything to do with your endorsement of the proposed power plant… no one believes you…. (I cannot believe that I voted for you….. I thought that a woman would be more sensitive to the needs of the people and the environment…. boy, was I WRONG!!!!) As far as I am concerned, you can take your "trust the process" (which you told us in Burrillville) with you as you fly off into the sunset with your broom.

  8. Dear Governor Raimondo,

    I presume you think aligning yourself with the fossil fuel industry and their minions, the building trades, will somehow serve you well in the future. What an old-school gal you’ve turned out to be. A real throwback. The rest of the world is talking about community-building, transparency, sustainability, resiliency, and saving the planet, intelligently, compassionately, for future generations. It is 2016 after all. But you, you little hard-ass, you’re just out there looking out for yourself. What an embarrassment you are! Rhode Island has suffered enough black eyes in the opinion of the rest of the US of A. But you keep on blundering ahead like a visitor from another planet. Clueless.

  9. Gina, you know better than that. The EFSB knows better. You have heard the people of Burrillville pour out their hearts telling you about the sickness, cancer, death, asthma, and all that occurred with the spill in 2001. Yet, you will subject them to more pollution and less of the natural world (100 acres and how many species?) You know that it is both unsafe and environmentally problematic! You heard the people tell you!! I, personally, send you articles and links almost every day of the week with methane leaks, explosions, polluted water, poor air quality, fracking disasters…how can you not know this? Please be a Governor for and of the people of RI. We want to preserve a climate for the future!

  10. Governor;
    What is the fastest growing segment of the work force in RI?
    Where is the greatest increase in economic growth in RI?
    What industry will lead the way into the next decades for energy and sustainability?
    If you can not correctly answer these questions then your remarks and attitude for preserving our jobs. our economy and our future and those of YOUR children and all other children in RI is being lost in your lack of knowledge and leadership.
    HINT: the answer is NOT fossil fuel based industrial development in our preserved lands and shorelines.
    HINT: take a trip out to Block Island and find the answers to all these questions looking out off Mohegan Bluffs, enjoy the old lighthouse too because you are as much a relic as it is. But the lighthouse can still serve a function, can you?

  11. An open letter to Governor Gina Raimondo.

    Dear Governor Raimondo,
    My name is Paul Roselli – president of the Burrillville Land Trust. I’m writing this letter on behalf of the 212 acres that are owned by the land trust and in close proximity to the site of the proposed fracked gas oil fired power plant known as the Invenergy project.

    The land trust applauds the advisory opinion of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. As one of the largest environmental groups in Rhode Island, RIDEM took an historical view writing in part that the site, and I quote, “This area is no less a priority then it was two decades prior.”

    Its important to dwell for a moment on that statement and go back in time to what that statement references. The reference came from a report generated by an Environmental Impact Statement conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July 1988. In that report Chris Raithel who helped write the EIS for FERC on Ocean State Power wrote, and I quote, "I would recommend that this Site No. 1 (i.e. Buck Hill) not be considered for this power plant project, not only because of close proximity to Dry Arm Brook, but also because of the potential impact on significant wildlife and plant species as well as recreation in this area. On the basis of what I know of these sites I have listed, this seems by far the most inappropriate location for a power plant”

    Chris Raitel continues to work at RIDEM and in an email dated August 5, 2016, Mr. Raitel would not comment on the statement he wrote back in 1988. But in RIDEM’s advisory opinion on page 37, the author states, “The proposed location of Facility and forest clearing in one of the largest remaining intact forests in the State will negatively impact area fish and wildlife, and bring additional stressors to area wildlife, State-listed or otherwise.” This is very similar language. The land trust is asking you to review the findings of the FERC EIS report from July 1988 – Docket number CP87-131-001 and CP87-132-001 before making any such statements regarding the how open space and development can coexist.

    Regarding the DEM advisory opinion, if you do a word search using the words “has not” or “had not” or “does not” in the DEM advisory opinion looking up information or applications or studies that have not been submitted by Invenergy – the company you support, you find a total of 14 pieces of information that the applicant has not submitted to DEM for analysis. These 14 gaps take place on pages 6, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, and 22. The DEM advisory opinion is 39 pages in length. That means nearly 25% of the advisory opinion contains inadequate or missing information required for an analysis by DEM staff. Here are some examples :
    – at the time of this Advisory Opinion the Applicant had not completed the design of the fuel oil piping, pumping and storage tank systems;
    – As of the date, Invenergy has not supplemented its application with information regarding the source of its water supply;
    – DEM has not received a wetland application relating to the Facility, the impacts of the Facility, as they relate to wetlands, are not fully known;
    – the Applicant has not identified a water source for the Facility, hence there are no identified impacts of water withdrawal on the fish and wildlife habitats.
    – the Applicant has not provided sufficient information to determine if the pools are supporting a sustainable amphibian population;
    – the Applicant does not appear to have provided any plan sheet that depicts the extent of the security fencing;
    – DEM does not believe there is sufficient evidence in the application to support the statement that "the project has already been designed to minimize impacts to forested habitat areas.

    And there are more.

    From these gaping holes with not sufficient or lacking information that is just not there, the land trust is petitioning RIDEM to construct an Environmental Impact Statement for the Invenergy project and all the other projects associated with the construction of this fracked gas oil fired power plant. As stated by the DEM advisory opinion, “The location of a Facility of this size and scope immediately adjacent to substantial acreage of State holdings of conservation land is not consistent with the conservation priorities that informed these state conservation plans.” Given the “size and scope” of this project, an EIS is the only instrument to fully evaluate the impacts and fill in the gaps and missing information provided by the applicant.

    During the Green Economy Bond Referendum rally on September 22 you asked for statewide support for preserving agriculture and open space.

    At the same time and almost in the same breath,you ignored the open space that is already preserved and went after new ones. In so doing, you cast doubt on your goals and vision as Governor through DEM and Statewide Planning.

    Breaking up a forest and dismantling decades of research and conservation planning for a short term bridge project is not what we need from you.

    Paul A. Roselli
    President – Burrillville Land Trust
    proselli@cox.net

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