Town Council Votes to Oppose Power Plant in Rhode Island

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The town council in Burrillville, Rhode Island, cast a unanimous vote Thursday night to oppose the construction of a 900-MW natural gas-fired power plant proposed by independent power producer Invenergy, the Providence Journal reported.

The Clear River Energy Center, a $700 million project planned in Burrillville, would be used to displace older, less efficient generation and provide backup power for growing amounts of renewable power on New England’s grid.

But the council expressed serious concerns about the use of natural gas, the water source for the plant and air quality and groundwater effects.

“I would say the opposition has been growing and festering for the better part of seven months,” council President John F. Pacheco III told the Journal.

Under a proposed tax agreement with Invenergy, the town would receive more than $92 million in tax payments over 20 years, if the project is built. What’s more, the plant would create more than 300 high-paid jobs during construction and 25 permanent jobs upon completion.

Ironically, Invenergy does not need the council’s approval to build the gas-fired power plant. The state’s Energy Facility Siting Board will make that decision.

Before Thursday night’s vote, the town council released a report from the engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill. The report measured the potential impacts on air quality and groundwater and concluded the disadvantages created by the plant’s construction outweigh the plant’s potential benefits. Another firm, CDR Maguire and Alares, said the project information provided by Invenergy was incomplete and “does not recommend that this project proceed,” the Journal reported.

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