Before and after Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo‘s State of the State address, residents of Burrillville and environmental allies held signs and greeted the Governor as she entered and exited the House Chamber. Raimondo was cordial and smiled, even greeting some of the residents who she has grown to recognize over the two and a half years of resistance to Invenergy‘s proposed $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the pristine forests of north west Rhode Island.
“We want the Governor, dignitaries and press to know that the opposition to Invenergy is still strong and we want to make sure they know we won’t back down,” wrote organizers.
In her State of the State address, Raimondo did not touch on the Invenergy power plant at all.
“We’ve proven that you can grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time: We’re the only state in America with an off-shore wind farm,” said Raimondo, in her only lines on the environment or energy. “We’re on track to make our energy system 10 times cleaner by 2020. Since 2014, we’ve added more than 5,000 green jobs – a 66 percent increase.”
In his alternative state of the state address, Candidate for Governor Paul Roselli, a Burrillville resident, said that the Raimondo administration, in ignoring the public opposition to the power plant and the people of Providence opposing the building of a liquefaction facility in the Port, “has ignored an entire population of people who are fighting for the health and safety of their children.”
Frank Carini, over at EcoRI, has a stunning piece on Raimondo’s environmental and energy record, which can be fairly categorized as “all talk, no action.”
In flagrant noncompliance of the [Resilient Rhode Island Act]’s ambitious climate-emissions goals, lawmakers and bureaucrats, most notably those in the governor’s office, embraced the construction of a nearly 1,000-megawatt natural-gas/diesel power plant in the woods of Burrillville. If built, the Clear River Energy Center would become Rhode Island’s largest fossil-fuel power plant and the largest emitter of carbon emissions in the state.
Governor Raimondo enthusiastically endorsed the project when it was announced in 2015. During a press event that summer, Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky and Raimondo jointly announced the project. The governor thanked the out-of-state fossil-fuel developer for investing in Rhode Island.
“I know you have choices about where you could be and I’m pleased you’ve chosen Rhode Island, and you should know we are going to make sure that you are successful here,” Raimondo said.
As Rhode Island Public Radio reported, seven months earlier Polsky had donated $1,000 to the governor, the maximum annual legal limit from an individual to a political candidate. Two of Invenergy’s lawyers, Richard Beretta and Alan Shoer, also made political contributions to the governor in January 2015.
Roselli, in his video, said he entered the race only after Raimondo took a 2017 fundraising trip to Chicago where Invenergy’s CEO Michael Polsky gave her another thousand dollar check. Roselli called accepting the check, “a sheer act of arrogance.”
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