Siting Board holds public hearing on Burrillville power plant proposal

A rendering of Invenergy's proposed power plant in Burrillville. (credit: Invenergy)
A rendering of Invenergy's proposed power plant in Burrillville. (credit: Invenergy)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – People from all over the state packed into Toll Gate High School in Warwick for a public hearing on a proposed power plant.

Chicago-based Invenergy has proposed building a natural gas fired power plant along Wallum Lake Road in Burrillville.

The Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board hosted the public meeting.

A majority of people spoke out against the plan.

Nancy Petersone of Burrillville asked the board to “Please acknowledge humanity. The people who live there. The people who love Rhode Island will be affected by the pollution.”

“We might as well give the kids going to school a package of cigarettes, because they’re going to get worse just breathing the air,” said Burrillville resident Bradford Bridge.

While Cranston resident Rhoda Northrup said, “The power plant will be twice the size of providence place mall. Can you imagine that, set down in the middle of a precious forest in a small town like Burrillville?”

Those who spoke against the plant received repeated standing ovations while those who spoke against it received jeers.

John McMullen works with the plumbers and pipe fitters union. He supports the plan and spoke about his time working at multiple power plants saying: “I am not aware personally, of any health concerns or any collapsed lungs due to these facilities operating over the past 20 years.”

The Town of Burillville has submitted a “motion to dismiss” the power plant’s application to the siting board.

One more public hearing on the proposal will be held on October 3rd, then the siting board will begin formal hearings in November.

The board has the final say on if, and when, the plant can be built.

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