Residents from Mass and RI speak out against Fall River water sale in City Council meeting

Share this story

The Fall River City Council allowed visitors from Rhode Island to offer public comment on the water deal the city entered into with Benn Water to supply Invenergy with water to cool the turbines of their $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant proposed for the forests of Burrillville. In all at least 13 residents of either Rhode Island or Massachusetts spoke against the water deal, which was finalized in August but revealed over the weekend by this reporter.

Here’s all the video of those who spoke.

Invenergy redacted all mention of the deal in documents they released publicly or to the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB). During the Watuppa Water Board meeting in which the deal was finalized, the use the water was to be put to was never discussed and when one Watuppa Water Board member asked for details, he was told, “there’s a little backstory that I’d rather not get into here,” by Watuppa Water Board clerk John Friar II.

Fall River City Council members learned of the water deal only after the story was broken, many from Fall River residents concerned about the environmental effects of the proposed power plant. Fall River’s battle with Hess over that company’s plans to build a controversial liquefied natural gas plant in the city caused more than one speaker and city councilor to remember the support the city had from Rhode Island residents in opposing the project. Hess abandoned their plans in 2011.

Fall River is also leading the way from fossil fuel infrastructure with the closure of the Brayton Point Power Station, New England’s last coal burning power plant.

Rhode Islander John Gonzalez spoke in opposition to the water deal.

Fall River resident Erica Scott compared the sale of water to Invenergy to a local issue concerning the building of a road through the rail trail, a bike path in the city. With all the issues facing the city, “Why is [Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II]’s administration prioritizing projects of environmental degradation?” asked Scott.


Cranston, Rhode Island resident Rhoda-Ann Northrup expressed her disappointment in Mayor Correia. The plant being planned for Burrillville “brings a lot of emotion” to Northrup because “that’s all we’ve got left for forests in the state, and they’ll be destroyed forever.”.

Fall River resident Sabrina Davis said the water sale is disturbing “because as a state, Massachusetts is moving towards a greener future, yet the sale of our water flies in the face of that.”

Central Falls, Rhode Island resident Lorraine Savard said the water deal jeopardizes the wellbeing of the next seven generations.

Burrillville Town Councilor Raymond Trinque brought along a large copy of the map that shows the 31 cities and towns that have passed resolutions against the power plant in Rhode Island. Trinque explained that Woonsocket, Rhode Island turned down over a million dollars when Invenergy tried to purchase their water.

Trinque answered multiple questions from the Fall River Town Councilors. City Council Vice President Linda Pereira, who is running for Mayor against Correia next week.

Fall River resident Joe Carvalho was there to speak about an unrelated matter, but he closed out (at the 7 min mark in the video below) with a blistering critique of the water sale. “To me, selling our water to a fracked gas company,” said Carvalho, “is the equivalent, in my mind, of [Donald] Trump appointing Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA.”

Burrillville resident Ken Putnam Jr gave the council some “common sense” and reminded them that town and city councils work for the good of the people.

Bristol County, Massachusetts resident Deborah spoke against the power plant in Burrillville, saying it “sacrifices the environment.”

Burrillville resident Robert Woods spoke against the plant.

Webster, Massachusetts resident Laura Young spoke against the power plant. She used to live in Burrillville.

Fall River resident and candidate for city council Ian Thompkins said that in the not too distant future potable water could be more valuable than gold.

Fall River resident Ed Lewis was there to speak about the rail trail issue, but started by complimenting the Rhode Islanders who came to speak about the water deal with Invenergy. At one point he said that he hoped the next mayor would be City Council Vice President Linda Pereira, which elicited boos and groans from some in attendance. The boos and groans prompted the President of the Fall River City Council to instruct the police officer to warn an entire row against further interruption. (See at the 4 min mark below) The row started with “the mayor’s mother.”

A warning…
City Council Vice President Linda Pereira

Share this story
About Steve Ahlquist 1034 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential

1 Comment

Comments are closed.