Power Plant Protest Calls Out R.I. Energy Leader

Protesters dropped banners April 18 at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources in opposition to the proposed Burrillville natural-gas power plant. (FANG)

Protesters dropped banners April 18 at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources in opposition to the proposed Burrillville natural-gas power plant. (FANG)

Text and video by TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — A week of public demonstrations against the proposed Burrillville power plant kicked off April 18 with a protest at the state Office of Energy Resources (OER).

Nine activists, including three Burrillville residents who live near the site of the proposed 1-gigawatt natural-gas facility, lowered banners from the fourth floor of the atrium at the Department of Administration building where the OER resides.

The signs called on OER commissioner Marion Gold to put a halt to the power plant, with one reading, “All that Glitters is Not Gold.”

The brief protest ended after the activists complied with a request from Capitol Police to remove the banners. There were no arrests.

Gold then sat down with protesters in an OER conference room to hear their grievances. Several of the protesters said they feared pollution, excessive noise, climate emissions and environmental harm to the rural community.

“There’s no reason for another (power plant) in Burrillville. Never mind anywhere else,” said Kathy Martley, whose home abuts the natural-gas pipeline compressor station that will share land with the proposed fossil-fuel power plant.

Gold didn't state her stance on the project, but like most top members of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration she has been amenable to the Invenergy project.

“We’ve got the message,” Gold said as the meeting ended. “Let the process that’s been established by the legislative leaders take its path.”

The protest was organized by the environmental activist group Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG).