Environment

PVD Ordinance Committee to weigh bills curbing major fossil fuel expansion in the Port

The Zoning ordinance change and the resolution would not be a declaration against all fossil fuels by the Providence City Council, but it would be a big start. Certain chemicals, petroleum, ethanol products, and LNG (Liquified Natural Gas, aka methane, a powerful greenhouse gas) would all still permitted under the zoning ordinance. A more expanse ordinance and resolution would be welcomed by climate activists.
Photo for PVD Ordinance Committee to weigh bills curbing major fossil fuel expansion in the Port

Published on November 2, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

The Providence City Council Committee on Ordinances will take up two very important pieces of legislation on Wednesday aimed at preventing the further expansion of Liquified Propane Gas (LPG) in the Port of Providence. Both pieces of legislation were introduced by Councilmember Pedro Espinal (Ward 10) who represents the neighborhoods adjacent to the Port.

Right now, Sea 3 LLC, represented by Nicholas Hemond, from the Providence law firm DarrowEverett LLP, is seeking a declaratory order before the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) for a major rail expansion into the Port to double the import of LPG in Providence. This declaratory order would allow Sea 3 LLC to avoid a full application and review process. Opponents of the plan are insisting that the EFSB conduct a full review that addresses the health and safety impacts to surrounding communities. Neighborhood groups, environmental groups, the Rhode Island Attorney General, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the City of Providence are all fighting for a full review.

Agenda item 2 on the PVD City Council Ordinance Committee agenda would amend the Zoning Code to prevent the bulk storage of liquid propane gas in all zones, including the Port. Though this would not affect Sea 3 LLC or their current application before the EFSB. The business will be grandfathered under pre-existing law. Were this amendment to pass, it would prevent future expansion and the entry of competing LPG providers from setting up shop in Providence.

Agenda item 7 is a resolution declaring the Providence City Council’s support for a full application and review process of Sea 3 LLC’s application before the EFSB and a rejection of the proposed declaratory order. The resolution might also serve as the City Council’s official declaration of opposition to the expansion of LPG in the Port.

The Providence City Plan Commission voted unanimously in favor of the agenda item 7 zoning change at a meeting two weeks ago. Here’s the video:

Both items, and supporting documents, can be seen on the committee agenda.

The Zoning ordinance change and the resolution would not be a declaration against all fossil fuels by the Providence City Council, but it would be a big start. Certain chemicals, petroleum, ethanol products, and LNG (Liquified Natural Gas, aka methane, a powerful greenhouse gas) would all still permitted under the zoning ordinance. A more expansive ordinance and resolution would be welcomed by neighborhood groups and climate activists.


The most effective way to demand environmental justice for the long suffering neighborhoods around the Port of Providence is to show up in person at the Providence City Council Ordinance Committee hearing and strongly advocate against the expansion of fossil fuels in the Port of Providence.

Those wishing to testify against this ordinance should be in the Providence City Council Chamber on the 3rd floor of Providence City Hall this Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 4pm.

Also, at the same meeting, prepare to demand that the City Council not pass an ordinance allowing Lamar Advertising to erect electronic billboards along the highways that cut through the Washington Park and Fox Point Neighborhoods. Lamar recently added injury to insult when they illegally clear cut over 100 trees in Washington Park, a neighborhood with Bothe lowest tree census and highest rates of asthma in Providence.

See previous reporting Sea 3 LLC here:

The Port of Providence is under constant attack by businesses out to make a profit while damaging the health of Providence’s youth. See:

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