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DEM hears testimony on Invenergy’s air pollution permit



If licensed, Invenergy will become the largest emitter of pollution and greenhouse gases in Rhode Island. Final hearings at the Energy Facilities Siting Board begin today.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) held hearings in Burrillville yesterday to hear testimony on their draft permit concluding that Invenergy’s proposed $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the irreplaceable forests of northwest Rhode Island will “comply with applicable state and federal air pollution control rules and regulations.”

Around 37 people testified against the permit and the power plant. As usual, the people of Burrillville brought thoughtful, poignant testimony.

The hearing was overseen by Laurie Grandchamp, Chief of Air Resources at DEM. “The decision on the issuance of the air permit is the responsibility of the DEM’s Office of Air Resources, although the overall decision on siting and building the facility rests with the Energy Facilities Siting Board [EFSB],” said Grandchamp.

Testimony can be sent to the DEM until Monday, July 15, 2019 at 4 PM. Rhode Islanders who would like to submit questions or formal comments on the proposed permit may email so they can be added into the draft permit’s administrative record. Comments must be received before the public comment period closes to be considered.

The final hearings on the power plant begin today at 10am, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI 02888. Additional hearings are scheduled for 1pm on Friday and again at 10am Tuesday. The EFSB is expected to make a ruling on one of the three hearing days.

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Here are DEM’s opening comments:

Here’s all the testimony. Thank you to cameraman Jake Lafond for capturing it for me while I was busy at the State House.


Here’s the wrap-up:

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.