Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee has joined the opposition to Invenergy's controversial energy plant proposal in Burrillville.
Chafee said he opposes the plant for three reasons: he thinks trucking water in from Johnston could be a safety issue, particularly in the winter; he said the plant threatens to hurt Burillville's character. And he said it would contribute to climate change.
In a statement released by the opposition group Keep Rhode Island Beautiful, Chafee said, "I am opposed to the siting of the Clear River Energy Center power plant in Burrillville, Rhode Island. I am concerned about the issues of climate change, emissions reductions, and the protection of our important natural resources including; clean water, forests, and wetlands, among others."
"While I believe the proposed location to be unsuitable, the proposed plant is also a statewide issue," Chafee added. "In our beautiful state with 400 miles of coastline, we all need to be concerned about the impact of climate change and we must act now to protect ourselves and future generations. I hereby formally note my opposition to the proposed plant and notify the Energy Facility Siting Board of my opposition and concern."
Invenergy's proposed plant has sparked sharp opposition, although supporters point to it as a job-creator and a good investment for the state.
Chafee's opposition contrasts with the stance of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who succeeded Chafee in the Senate after defeating the then-Republican in 2006. Whitehouse has declined to take a position on the Burrillville proposal, arguing he can be a more influential advocate on environmental issues in the Senate.