The Providence City Council voted unanimously to approve Councillor Seth Yurdin’s resolution to “require a thorough review of” the “proposed Fields Point Liquefaction Facility… and a Comprehensive Public Participation Plan.”
“This is a very important neighborhood issue,” said Yurdin to the City Council ahead of the resolution’s passage, “it’s a social justice issue, its about treating all our residents fairly. There are significant health issues that have been raised [and] safety concerns, related to locating this facility in proximity to a residential neighborhood.”
The process of approving National Grid’s proposed liquefaction facility at Fields Point is in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), but as Yurdin noted in his comments before the City Council last night, there has not been much room made for public input into the plan. Part of Yurdin’s resolution calls for “public forums in multiple neighborhood locations” and “shall require representatives of the project site owner [National Grid, presumably] to attend to answer questions and address concerns, as well as require that representatives from Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Corporation participate in the public forums.”
The resolution also calls for:
- An “environmental impact analysis include potential disaster scenarios, evacuation plans, and casualties within a two-mile radius of the project site, as well as evaluates the concentration of other facilities in the area that may impact public health and safety in the case of a disaster.”
- That the review “include studies of diesel truck traffic between I-95 and the port area on a daily, monthly, and annual basis, and the estimated particulate matter released into the air as a result of such traffic.”
- That the “City Council support the Rhode Island Department of Health request that a Risk Management Plan be required.”
- That the “City of Providence will ensure compliance with the highest standards of environmental and health protocols, and will address, to the extent allowed by law, environmental, safety, and health concerns associated with this project.”
Watching the resolution pass were several members of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, who were quite pleased with the City Council’s resolution.
Though this resolution by itself will not resolve the issues surrounding the LNG expansion at Fields Point, it will bring much needed attention and public input to the project, allowing a robust discussion of the future of fossil fuels in Rhode Island at a time when the fate of our species is being decided by what we do next.
Read the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island white paper on National Grid’s plan here: