Members of the environmental justice coalition No LNG in PVD will be at the intersection of Allens Avenue and Ernest Street at 5pm on October 4, demanding the City of Providence’s plan of action to prevent environmental disasters, whose likelihood is increased by the current and proposed transportation of fossil fuels.
The tanker truck that rolled over and spilled thousands of gallons of gasoline onto Allens Avenue and into the Providence River further demonstrates the risk transporting fossil fuel places on the Port of Providence and adjacent neighborhoods. This accident is the third in the area in the last 18 months, including a massive gas leak and an ethanol train derailment, both in March 2017.
On October 3 and 4, the smell of gas was perceptible throughout adjacent residential neighborhoods. The spill was adjacent to chemical and fossil fuel facilities, including Shell, Motiva, and Univar, putting these facilities at risk of combustion and explosion. The spill also caused further contamination of the Providence River with both gasoline and fire-preventing foam. The surrounding neighborhood is already designated as an Environmental Justice Area, indicating rates of exposure to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals higher than the norm.
The liquefied natural gas plant proposed by National Grid for Allens Avenue would also be exposed to the risk of explosion by a spill on or near this site. The increased volume of liquefied natural gas stored at and transported from the site would also increase the risk of spillage and explosion for nearby chemical and fossil fuel tanks, compounding the danger to nearby residential neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals, including Rhode Island’s only Level 1 trauma center. The Allens Avenue on ramp to Route 95 has been the site of several previous accidents due to its design.
The Allens Avenue spill raises questions about the level of risk to which the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island are willing to expose residents of the neighborhoods by the Port of Providence to in order to maintain the fossil fuel industry.
Enbridge workers conducting maintenance work on Allens Avenue are intermittently emitting large quantities of odorized natural gas. The work mentioned in the release below was extended to October 5.