Sea 3 Providence LLC is seeking to have a major expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Port of Providence not declared as an “alteration to a major energy facility.” Sea 3 is a wholly owned subsidiary of fossil fuel company Blackline Midstream LLC – “New England’s Premier Bulk Propane Provider” – as part of a joint venture with Sixth Street Partners, a global investment firm with over $50 billion in assets under management. The company has filed a petition asking to be excused from Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) oversight.
You can access the current docket on this expansion here.
According to the Rhode Island Attorney General‘s office, Sea 3 seeks “to incorporate an adjacent vacant lot into the daily operation of its existing terminal to acquire LPG [Liquid Propane Gas] by rail, in addition to its current means of obtaining supply from marine vessels. The proposal also seeks to install piping and equipment to allow for the offloading of LPG rail shipments into six proposed new 90,000-gallon horizontal storage bullet tanks on the adjacent vacant property. These rail shipments would arrive daily and increase the facility’s ability to fuel trucks, potentially resulting in additional pollution and congestion to the Port area.”
In a press release the Rhode Island Attorney General noted that the “proposed expansion and associated increase in operations at the Sea 3 Providence facility could affect the nearby community already burdened by the co-location of industrial operations and the air pollution associated with those activities.
“A full application and review by the EFSB is the best way to ensure that all scenarios associated with the proposed expansion (impact to air quality, public safety and the welfare of the community) are adequately reviewed and will provide potentially impacted communities the right to comment on the application,” continued the Attorney General, adding that the office plans to urge “the EFSB to determine that the proposed expansion is an ‘alteration to a major energy facility’ and therefore requires a full application and review by the EFSB.
In addition, the Attorney General will argue that “because the proposed expansion of this facility may result in a significant increase in diesel emissions within the Port area, which is already overly burdened with polluting industrial activities and truck traffic, the potential growth in operations necessarily encourages and supports more use of fossil fuels. This appears to be inconsistent with Rhode Island’s long-term climate change goals. Further, because the proposal raises public safety concerns – it must be fully vetted by the EFSB before it is approved.”
Sea 3 has only had a presence in the Port of Providence since 2019, though the site has been a LPG terminal and storage facility since 1975, according to the petition filed with the EFSB by Sea 3’s lawyer and lobbyist Nicholas Hemond, of Darrow Everett LLP in Providence.
Sea 3 plans to open their facility to LPG by rail “by connecting to the existing rail spur on the [vacant lot] and install[ing] the requisite piping and equipment to allow for the offloading of LPG into six horizontal storage bullets.” Through their lawyer, Sea 3 is asking the EFSB to rule that this expansion not be ruled “a material alteration of the existing major energy facility which has operated in the Port of Providence since 1975.”
Can you help us?
Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.
The EFSB is accepting written comments until this Friday at 4pm on May 7, 2021.
Objections and other comments should be e-mailed to email@example.com. Hard copies may be mailed to Emma Rodvien, Coordinator, Energy Facility Siting Board, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI 02888.
Current Sea 3 operations consist “of marine vessel importation of large cargoes of LPG, offloading the LPG from the vessel and into a 19 million gallon high rise storage tank. The LPG is cooled in the tank until such time as it is to be taken out of the table nk and loaded on to transports at one of three existing truck rack lanes. The terminal currently features three spaces for offloading the LPG from the tank into tractor trailers for transport to distributors throughout the region.”
Updated May 5, 2021: PVD City Councilor @pedrojespinal (Ward 10) opposes Sea 3 Providence fossil fuel expansion proposal
“I am fully opposed to any expansion of any development by Sea 3 Providence in the Port of Providence,” writes Councilmember Espinal.
“The industrial operations already taking place in this neighborhood have repeatedly created major threats to public health, safety and the local environment. Any economic gains presented by Sea 3’s expansion proposal are far outweighed by the risks of further polluting the Port of Providence and South Side neighborhoods.
“As the Councilman to Ward 10, protecting public health, safety and quality of life remains my top priority. For this reason, I will be submitting a letter of opposition to this proposal as part of the public comment period.”