To Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo:
For three years we have been resisting two major fossil fuel projects proposed for Rhode Island. Despite call-in days, marches, vigils and sit-ins, you have remained silent, or actively supported these projects. We urge you to listen to the people of Rhode Island, reverse course, and join us in opposing these projects before it’s too late.
Invenergy‘s power plant proposed for Burrillville (occupied Nipmuc territory) would burn diesel fuel and fracked-gas, spewing harmful toxins across the region while destroying a critical wetland forest. If the plant were to be built, daily truck loads of water and routine shipments of diesel fuel and ammonia would have to be shipped across rural roads to keep the plant running. The town of Burrillville has been resisting fracked-gas infrastructure for thirty years and is already home to two major interstate pipelines, two fracked-gas compressor stations and a fracked-gas power plant.
National Grid‘s liquefied ‘natural gas’ (LNG) facility proposed for Providence (occupied Mashapaug Nahaganset territory) would be built in a community of color that is already inundated with toxic infrastructure, and that already has the highest rates of asthma in Rhode Island. Recently in this community there has been a major fracked-gas pipeline rupture, an ethanol train derailment and a gasoline tanker crash that caused a major spill. The LNG facility would put this community at greater risk of a dangerous accident and would lead to more negative health impacts for residents.
To date the only statement your administration has issued on the LNG facility, has been a statement supporting the project. Furthermore, you stacked the Coastal Resource Management Council with pro-development appointees, right before they voted to approve a key permit for the facility. If this permit would have been denied, the project would have been cancelled, and your constituents would be protected.
You have stated that the LNG project is now a federal issue and that it is out of your hands because the lead permitting agency for the project is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The truth of the matter is that it is common place for Governors to intervene in projects going through the FERC process. Plus you have routinely spoken out about issues of national significance.
Meanwhile when the power plant was first proposed for Burrillville, you stood with the CEO of Invenergy and promised that the plant would swiftly be built. After agreeing to visit Burrillville and hearing directly from residents at a town hall event in 2016, you said the “if there are issues, the plant shouldn’t go forward”. From localized impacts, to global climate change, and the fact that the project’s forward capacity agreement with ISO New England was recently cancelled, there are numerous irrevocable issues with this project. Thirty two cities and towns in Rhode Island have recognized these issues and have passed resolutions opposing the power plant.
You have told us to “trust the process” with the power plant. But the process is not a neutral one. Your administration, through various advisory opinions submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Board, has issued several reports that support the project and ignore serious concerns. With the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources even claiming that the construction of the power plant, which would produce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting 763,562 cars a year on the road, would be a good thing in the fight against climate change.
For both National Grid’s proposed LNG facility and Invenergy’s proposed power plant, free and prior consent was not reached with the indigenous nations whose land these projects would be built on. This includes your Administration ignoring the Mashapaug Nahaganset Tribe’s December 2017 cease and desist order demanding the halt of the LNG permitting process.
In addition to these local impacts, both of these projects would continue our region’s dependence on fossil fuels and would contribute to global climate change. A report from the United Nations released on October 8th stated that our civilization only has twelve years to confront the climate crisis before the crisis spirals out of control, with devastating impacts. To remain silent, or supportive of these fossil fuel projects proposed for Rhode Island, would mean that you are complicit in the violence and destruction of the climate crisis.
With key permitting decisions coming up for both the LNG facility and the power plant, now is the time for you to do what is right and speak out against these projects. In our opposition to these projects we have always been honest, direct and transparent. We now ask the same from you. We urge you to listen to the people of Providence and Burrillville, and to listen to the people of Rhode Island. The health and well being of your constituents, and your legacy, is on the line.
No LNG in PVD
The FANG Collective
The Mashapaug Narragansett Tribe
The Federation of Aboriginal Nations of America