The Citizens Against Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) met with representative Joseph Kennedy III on Saturday to discuss Spectra Energy’s/Algonquin Gas Company plan to build a new fracked gas compressor station in the Massachusetts town. The meeting was remarkable from the perspective of a Rhode Islander, where no representative or senator has deigned to meet with Burrillville residents about Invenergy’s proposed power plant or with residents of South Providence, who are facing a new liquefaction facility courtesy of National Grid.
More remarkable still, Kennedy seemed genuinely interested in seeing what he could do for his constituents. He never once mentioned that Rehoboth residents should “trust the process” or that he wanted “to focus [his] efforts on where it will make the biggest difference.”
Instead of claiming that his time was more valuable in Washington, making big deals on national issues, Kennedy committed to reaching out to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a supporter of fracked gas and LNG. Kennedy said that both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that will ultimately decide on the compressor station, and ISO New England, the agency that maintains energy markets for our area, are in dire need of oversight, a large departure from Governor Gina Raimondo’s advice of “trust the process.”
When Burrillville resident Lynn Clark rose and spoke with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in Newport back in September, she said, “We need a champion in Burrillville and we are asking you to please come see us. Please, come talk to us.”
Whitehouse never did visit Burrillville about the power plant. Neither did Senator Jack Reed or Representative James Langevin.
Whereas Kennedy seemed disturbed by Spectra’s attitude when it came to answering the concerns of towns folk, our federal delegation has been silent about the way Spectra, Invenergy and National Grid reply to requests for information, or conduct themselves generally. Kennedy promised to lean on Spectra for answers. Our delegation is silent.
Kennedy has already agreed to another meeting with members of CARCS in late November because Rehoboth has a political champion willing to go to bat for them.
Who is that person in Rhode Island?