Lawmakers Join Public Call For Review Of Burrillville Power Plant Proposal

May 24, 2016

Two state lawmakers added their voice against a proposed power plant in Burrillville at a third public hearing for the project Monday.

State Sen. Paul Fogarty and Rep. Cale Keable were among more than 30 people who testified before the state board reviewing the power plant proposal. Two local residents yielded their time to speak to the lawmakers.   

Fogarty said in all his years as senator, he has never seen such opposition to a project from his constituents. 

“This is not a case of NIMBYism; far from it,” said Fogarty. “This small community already hosts a large gas-fired power plant [and a] high pressure gas transmission facility. We’ve done more than our part for the energy needs of Rhode Island."

Fogarty said the proposed project would be a better fit elsewhere in the state and asked the board not to approve the project.

Rep. Keable has introduced a bill aimed at blocking the power plant. The bill, if approved, would give residents a final vote on property tax rates negotiated between the town council and Invenergy, the company seeking to build the power plant.

“The people of Burrillville and the surrounding communities and the whole state, really, feel like they have no say in this process,” said Keable. “And I think there’s some frustration on the part of the town council in that regard and that’s fair. So the bill is a way to address some of those concerns.” 

In addition, the bill would add six members to the Energy Facility Siting Board, the state body tasked with reviewing and permitting the project. The board is made up of three members. The bill would also allow cities and towns to pass ordinances supporting or opposing proposed energy facilities.

Keable’s bill is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday. Fogarty plans to introduce a senate version of the bill Tuesday.

Note: This post has been updated.