Power plant protester refuses to leave Rhode Island state house, arrested

rhode island gov gina raimondo elp

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A protester refused to leave the Rhode Island state house over Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo's support of a proposed power plant in Burrillville and was arrested.

The woman arrested Tuesday is a mother of two young sons, another protester said.

The building closed at 4:30 p.m., and anyone who refused to leave faced being charged with trespassing, state capitol police Chief Joseph Little said. The building usually stays open later, but lawmakers were on recess.

More than a dozen protesters from the Fighting Against Natural Gas group, called the FANG Collective, began a sit-in Tuesday afternoon in the governor's formal reception area, the State Room.

Providence protester Nick Katkevich said the woman had planned to stay until Raimondo met her demands or she was forcibly removed. Other protesters voluntarily left after police arrived.

Chicago-based Invenergy wants to build a 900 MW, gas-fired power plant in Burrillville, a rural community with woodlands and pristine lakes and about 15,000 residents.

Raimondo has been closely monitoring the plans and listening to community feedback and concerns and has met with members of FANG, a spokeswoman said.

"We will be learning more about the health and environmental impacts of the plans as the Energy Facility Siting Board continues its review of the proposal, and reviewing those impacts carefully," spokeswoman Marie Aberger said in an emailed statement.

Raimondo believes the state needs to take action to address its energy costs, Aberger said. A large part of Raimondo's strategy is to adopt new solutions leading to a cleaner, more reliable energy system, including offshore wind and solar power, she said.

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