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Burrillville files motion to reject PUC’s advisory opinion on Invenergy plant



Lawyers Michael McElroy and William Dimitri, who are arguing Burrillville‘s position at the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) hearings concerning Invenergy’s $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant today filed a Motion to Reject the Public Utility Commission (PUC)’s Advisory Opinion. The PUC Advisory Opinion was to evaluate the need for, and the cost of, Invenergy’s power plant.

The PUC’s Advisory Opinion was issued by a single member of the PUC, Herbert DeSimone Jr. Of his co-commissioners at the time, Margaret Curran was (and is) chair of the EFSB, the body ultimately deciding on Invenergy’s application. She could not, of course, write an advisory opinion to herself. Marion Gold was recently added to the board and was/is on record for having supported Invenergy’s proposed power plant during her stint as the executive director of the Office of Energy Resources.

On June 5, 2016, the Town of Burrillville filed an objection to a Single Commissioner Advisory Opinion. The single commissioner, Herbert DeSimone Jr, overruled the Objection. There were three days of hearings. Below is my coverage, with full video, of the first two days of the PUC’s hearings and written coverage of the third day.

Invenergy’s John Niland under oath at PUC hearing for Burrillville power plant

CLF makes its case against need for Burrillville power plant at RIPUC hearing

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CLF to PUC: Burrillville plant not needed

DeSimone’s PUC Advisory Opinion concluded that the power plant was needed for grid reliability and would save Rhode Islanders money, for at least four years. Turns out, based on recent evidence, that neither of those things are true.

In their Motion to Reject, Burrillville is arguing that under Rhode Island State law at least two PUC commissioners are required to legally render an advisory opinion. In a previous case from 2009, the PUC acknowledged that a single commissioner cannot issue a valid opinion to the PUC. Instead, the PUC in 2009 transferred all filings made within the PUC docket to the EFSB, so that the EFSB could directly hear and evaluate all evidence on the issues of need and cost.

Burrillville raised these objections during the PUC hearings and is raising them again now.

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