Providence LNG Opponents Request Another Hearing

By ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — The environmental advocacy group No LNG in PVD wants a hearing to stop construction on contaminated land on the city's industrial waterfront.

No LNG in PVD opposes the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and is challenging the approval by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to allow construction on adjacent land classified as a contaminated brownfield site.

The 42-acre lot at 642 Allens Ave. has been polluted by fossil-fuel industries since 1910. The site contains arsenic, benzene and lead, among other contaminants.

On Oct. 27, DEM approved a short-term action response action plan (STRAP) to allow work on the contaminated land for the National Grid project. Opponents say the pile driving during construction increases the likelihood of seismic activity that may cause the release of hazardous material. They claim construction may trigger a gas leak similar to the March 29 natural-gas pipeline rupture that was blamed on vibrations from nearby construction.

“In combination, the combined set of risks related to construction activities proposed in National Grid’s STRAP application represent increases in the potential harm to both humans and the environment, and are grounds for denial,” according to a Nov. 22 No LNG in PVD letter.

The letter noted that the LNG project is a health and environmental hazard for a nearby neighborhood that is considered an environmental justice focus area by DEM.

The site began its industrial life as an ammonia plant in 1910. A government-owned facility that made the benzene-based solvent toluene opened 1918. A liquefied petroleum gas operation began in 1952. National Grid acquired the property in 2006, when it bought KeySpan Corp.

A second hearing for the proposed LNG liquefaction facility is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. in the basement of the Department of Administration Building, One Capitol Hill.

The LNG and land excavation projects are opposed by state representatives Edith Ajello, Chris Blazejewski, Moira Walsh, Aaron Regunberg, Marcia Ranglin­Vassell, John Lombardi, Grace Diaz. All are Democrats representing Providence. Rep. Susan Donovan, D-Bristol, Sen. Josh Miller, D-Cranston, Sen. Jeanine Calkin, D-Warwick, and Providence City Council member Sam Zurier also oppose the projects.

The request for another hearing was sent to DEM's David Kerins. DEM has yet to respond.