The rain mostly stopped and the weather cooperated so that about 30 people could gather for a vigil outside Governor Gina Raimondo’s private residence on the East Side of Providence Thursday evening. The vigil was organized by No LNG in PVD, Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion (BASE) and The FANG Collective. At issue is Governor Raimondo’s lack of action against Invenergy’s $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the forests of Burrillville and her similar lack of action on National Grid’s LNG liquefaction facility planned for Field’s Point in the Port of Providence, next to a working class and environmentally compromised neighborhood of color.
Though Raimondo has seemingly moved away from supporting the power plant aimed at Burrillville, telling the ProJo that her support for the proposed power plant “was a very long time ago,” her official position is still one of neutrality. She has repeatedly said that the licensing process of the Energy Facilities Siting Board must play out without political interference from her office.
Her position on National Grid’s liquefaction facility is unknown. Since the approval process in that case is under FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) the Governor has limited power to affect the outcome. Still, strong statements of opposition to such infrastructure could certainly have influence, and the project does need two local state level permits, which if denied would stop the project.
[Note: Shortly after I wrote this I received an email telling me that Governor Raimondo does indeed have a position on the proposed liquefaction facility at Fields Point. From the Brown Daily Herald:
“If built, this project offers the potential to diversify sources of gas supply (in the state),” wrote Brenna McCabe, public information officer for Gov. Gina Raimondo in an email to The Herald. She added that an on-site liquefaction facility would “create an economic hedge against more price volatile (and foreign-sourced) LNG supplies.”]
The vigil outside Raimondo’s home lasted 90 minutes. People held signs and chatted. A Providence Police officer told organizers early on that the City of Providence has an ordinance against picketing private residences. However, the Providence Police and the Rhode Island State Police allowed the vigil to continue for the full 90 minutes, which is a win for freedom of assembly.
Toward the end of the vigil Andy Moffit, Rhode Island’s First Gentleman, came outside to walk his dog and he engaged in a brief chat with Kathy Martley of BASE about the concerns.
Governor Raimondo “has to respect the people of Rhode Island,” said Kathy Martley of BASE, who has been fighting the build up of natural gas infrastructure in Burrillville since well before the announcement of the power plant. “That’s what she stands for. That’s what she’s there for. She works for us.”
No LNG in PVD is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to pay the legal fees associated with their efforts. Every little bit helps. Below, Kate Schapira talks about future steps in the battle.
Previous coverage of No LNG in PVD:
Here’s the press release from the groups:
|First Gentleman Andy Moffit|