The Providence City Council Ordinance Committee, chaired by City Councilor Terrence Hassett, met on Tuesday evening to hear public commentary on a resolution that would put the city council in the position of officially opposing National Grid’s proposed Fields Point liquefaction facility. The resolution, submitted by City Councilor Seth Yurdin, says, “the City shall take all necessary actions to oppose the proposed Fields Point liquefaction facility, including ceasing to act as a cooperating agency with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and shall not grant any tax stabilizations, subsidies, or any other forms of support to the project.”
Testimony was to be taken on the resolution back in September, but at the last minute Hassett cancelled (not rescheduled) the public hearing, causing at least a dozen people to make an unnecessary trip to Providence City Hall, wasting their time, parking money and day care money in the process.
At that time Hassett explained that though he considers himself an environmentalist and the resolution has merit, “we have not heard sufficient testimony from the energy developers on the plan itself – the productive results, the environmental impact – what is good versus bad.” By “energy developers” Hassett meant “National Grid.”
The public hearing was never rescheduled by Hassett. Instead, a public petition, signed by fifty Providence residents, compelled the Ordinance Committee to schedule public testimony. Hassett began the public hearing saying that “we go both for and against, to keep the discussion fair.” When Hassett received the list of speakers, he seemed mildly surprised to learn that there was no one present to speak against the resolution.
In all, eighteen people spoke in favor of the resolution. About 80 people turned out for the hearing. National Grid, having had three months since the public hearing was cancelled to prepare testimony for this meeting, did not speak or attend. The last person to speak on the resolution was City Councilor Sam Zurier. He urged the Ordinance Committee to bring the resolution to the full city council for an actual vote.
Hassett replied that the resolution would be brought up in an Ordinance Committee hearing in a “week or two” for an “actual” hearing. The committee will further discuss the resolution and decide whether or not to bring the resolution to the full city council.
Here’s video of all the speaker on the resolution: