Climate & Social Justice

Climate Activists Take to Streets to Protest Proposed Providence LNG Project

Local and global climate demonstrations planned for week ahead


PROVIDENCE — Climate activists were out protesting ahead of a global day of protest set for this Saturday, Sept. 8.

The group No LNG in PVD held a rush-hour rally Aug. 30 outside the National Grid office on Allens Avenue to protest a proposed facility that produces liquefied natural gas. The $180 million project is slated for an already-contaminated 42-acre lot owned by the utility. The super-cooled gas makes it easier to store and ship larger volumes of the fossil fuel, which will be stored onsite in a 127-foot-tall storage tank or trucked to others sites in southern New England. National Grid says the facility is needed to ease energy demand during heat waves and cold snaps.

The recent protest was the latest on the busy thoroughfare seeking to draw opposition to “the toxic, explosive, climate-warming liquid natural gas plant that National Grid wants to build on the South Side of Providence, with the blessing of Governor Raimondo, and the other risks to public health and safety in the Port of Providence,” according to No LNG in PVD.

The National Grid project has already cleared some approvals, including from the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the final say on the proposed facility. FERC is reviewing comments it received from its environmental assessment, which was released in late June. A decision is expected soon.

Work will not begin at the site until all of the permits are received, including a water quality certification and authorization for building a pollutant discharge elimination system, known as RIPDES, from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The city is also reviewing a soil erosion and sediment control plan from National Grid.

National grid initially expected to be building the facility by now, to meet a 2020 opening date. A revised timeline is expected.

Large tucks and construction vehicles are visible at the parcel. However, National Grid says the work is for maintenance at 642 Allens Ave. that is unrelated to the LNG project.

This fossil-fuel project, along the proposed Burrillville power plant, have become major election issues.

Gov. Gina Raimondo has been accused of favoring fossil-fuel development as she accepts campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. The latest is a $250,000 donation from Stacy Schusterman, chairwoman of Samson Energy Co. The Oklahoma-based company explores and extracts oil and natural gas from onshore and offshore wells.

“This contribution will undoubtedly further Raimondo’s sympathetic stance towards the (fossil-fuel) industry,” according to Emma Bouton and Lauren Maunus of the Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition (RISCC).

Lt. Gov. Dan McKee received $50,000 from Schusterman for his re-election campaign.

As part of the national day of protest, RISCC, No LNG in PVD, and other advocacy groups will participate in the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice rally Sept. 8 at the Roger Williams National Memorial on North Main Street. The event starts at 6 p.m. The activists will march to WaterFire on South Main Street to protest National Grid, the sponsor of the event.

“We are insisting on a just transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy. Rhode Island cannot afford to build any new fossil fuel infrastructure or facilities, instead we need to phase out all fossil fuel use and turn our economy, our communities, and our planet into clean renewable energy superstars,” according to event organizers.

Similar climate events are planed in 80 countries this Saturday to coincide with the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit in California.

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  1. Last time this issue was on ecori I asked for info on this, I’ll try again.
    I’ve been told there already is LNG stored in Providence, trucked in over busy roads, and not enough to deal with cold snaps that lead to higher home heating prices for those that hear with gas. Is this correct? If so, what else should be done to avoid the price spikes? And is there a better way to heat this area during cold snaps without trucking LNG into Providence?

    • There is an existing LNG storage tank that is filled by truck. It was built in the 70s and needs to be retired. The proposed liquefaction facility will liquefy gas from the pipeline to fill the tank instead of filling it by truck, but will replace with incoming truck traffic with at least as much if not more outgoing truck traffic, since the new liquefaction facility will make the site the production and distribution hub, exporting LNG by truck to fill all of the other LNG storage tanks in the region. It will not increase how much LNG is available during cold snaps, but will instead source it from fracked gas from the Marcellus shale. It will also add at least 30 years of use to the aging tank that was deemed to not meet modern safety standards when Keyspan LNG tried building an LNG import facility at the site in 2005. The LNG is only used about 9 days every winter and we could better reduce our need for it by investing in weatherization, energy efficiency, and heat pumps and reduce demand for gas by not using it for electricity generation and getting electricity from wind and solar and energy storage instead

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