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Senator Calkin, Representative Diaz first elected officials to call for CRMC Chair Cervenka’s resignation



Jennifer Cervenka and Grover Fugate

State Senator Jeanine Calkin (Democrat, District 30, Warwick) and State Representative Grace Diaz (Democrat, District 11, Providence) have joined the NoLNGinPVD coalition’s call for the resignation of Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) Chair Jennifer Cervenka. Yesterday the NoLNGinPVD coalition sent a letter to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo demanding the resignation of Cervenka alleging that the CRMC hearings on the Fields Point Liquefaction Project have been filled with bias, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and violations of free speech and due process.

Today, both legislator’s names can be found on a petition calling for Cervenka’s resignation.

Asked why she signed the petition, Representative Diaz responded, “My answer is very simple: We live in a democratic country where everyone has the right to exercise the freedom of speech. The disrespect the chair exercised in front of some of the people who were there at CRMC board to express their opinion is something that I am against. We need someone with more patience, respectful to others and someone who has the wisdom to see the value that people bring to the table when they speak from their heart.”

Senator Calkin responded, “I stand with the No LNG in PVD Coalition in asking for the resignation of the CRMC Chair. We must ensure impartiality when it comes to these types of siting issues in order to do what’s right for local residents and do no harm to Rhode Island communities.”

NoLNGinPVD’s letter, signed by campaign coordinator Monica Huertas, cites both professional and racial bias on the part of Jennifer Cervenka as a reason to call for her dismissal.

“Ms. Cervenka’s history as a lawyer representing oil and chemical companies against government regulatory bodies is a bias in favor of polluters and against regulatory enforcement actions,” says the letter.

The letter goes on to note perceived differences in the way Cervenka treated people of color and white speakers. “The fact that both of the speakers whose testimony she attempted to terminate were people of color, while white members of the public spoke with equal vehemence without being silenced, suggests an additional racial bias that makes her unfit to assess a case involving environmental racism.”

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Many elected officials attended and/or spoke at the two CRMC public hearings hearings.

Senator Jeanine Calkin, who signed the NoLNGinPVD petition along with Representative Diaz, testified at the last meeting, and can be seen here:


Community members label National Grid’s Port of Providence plans environmental racism at CRMC meeting

CRMC hearing consumed by public testimony against National Grid’s Port project

The apparent conflict of interest between National Grid and CRMC Chair Jennifer Cervenka

Former CRMC member Tony Affigne on environmental racism and the use of police power at CRMC meetings

NoLNGinPVD calls for the immediate resignation of CRMC Chair Cervenka

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.