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FERC approves National Grid’s liquefaction facility over community concerns



“…we conclude that if constructed and operated in accordance with National Grid’s application and supplements, and in compliance with the environmental conditions in the appendix to this order, our approval of this proposal would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” wrote the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in their decision approving the addition of liquefaction facilities at the existing Fields Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Providence, Rhode Island.

The project has been opposed for three years by No LNG in PVD, a coalition of “neighborhood residents and committed allies” who “have fought to stop National Grid from building a liquid natural gas plant on Allens Avenue that will increase health and safety risks for residents and contribute to global climate change.”

No LNG in PVD writes:

“FERC’s decision came through 12 days after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in strong terms that ceasing fossil fuel emissions–reducing them to 45% by 2030 and to zero by 2050–is essential to maintaining human life and well-being on Earth. In National Grid’s permit applications, the useful life of the LNG facility is stated as ending in 2030. Meanwhile, on October 3, a truck carrying over 11,000 gallons of gasoline overturned on the Route 95 ramp from Allens Avenue, pouring gasoline onto the road and into the Providence River. Threats to the neighborhood and to the planet are ongoing from activity in the Port.”

No LNG in PVD expressed gratitude to Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who has long apposed the construction of the liquefaction facility. Mayor Elorza issued a statement:

“I am extremely disappointed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the Fields Point Liquefaction Project. By adding yet another environmental burden to the already overburdened communities of color in Providence, this facility is an affront to our city’s climate, energy and racial equity goals.

I” want to recognize the long and difficult fight that No LNG in PVD has fought. While this may feel like a setback, your efforts are not in vain. You have elevated this issue and advocated for our community. There is so much more we can do together to address environmental injustices and create a healthier, cleaner, and more prosperous Providence for all our communities.”

No LNG in PVD writes that they are “proud of the work we have done to try to protect the people of the Southside. We are proud of delaying the construction of this shortsighted and dangerous facility for three years. We are proud of our attempts to participate in the public regulatory process despite many obstacles, and we are proud of the Southside: a neighborhood where people live and work, not a sacrifice zone. We wish that our elected officials listened to the concerns of the people they represent…

“No LNG in PVD will continue to fight for the well-being of the Southside. This is only the start of ongoing efforts to make the Port of Providence clean and healthy again, and to make Rhode Island a place where economic and environmental health go hand in hand.”

It is impossible to understand the approval of a facility like this, over the objections of the local community, without understanding the way Governor Gina Raimondo and the State Senate’s Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee worked to stack the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to engineer a positive result for National Grid on the state level. The stories below capture some of this:

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

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CRMC needs to reject proposed liquefied natural gas plant in Providence

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

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

As more elected officials call for resignation of CRMC chair, Governor Raimondo remains silent

CRMC to vote on Providence LNG plant despite calls for chair’s resignation

CRMC approves National Grid project over community objections

Raimondo breaks silence on CRMC and Jennifer Cervenka

Senate Committee shirked its ‘advice and consent’ duty on CRMC re-appointments

Did the CRMC mislead the public about their authority regarding National Grid’s proposed liquefaction facility? 

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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.