Local environmental groups and activists have responded to comments made by RI House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D District 15 Cranston) made about his support for Invenergy‘s new planned methane gas and oil fueled power plant at the 2016 Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit.
In the video, Mattiello says, “I’ve been an advocate working with the Office of Energy Resources. I think we have to expand our traditional energy sources and we’re doing so somewhat in Burrillville. I fully encourage that because we have to provide traditional energy as cheaply and efficiently as possible for our ratepayers. However, the world is changing and we have to look at renewables and we have to encourage the growth of renewables. Some people want just the carbon based some people want just the renewables. I think we have to take a practical viewpoint and I encourage both and we’ll grow them both just as fast as we can and let the economy and the marketplace play a little bit of a role. As far as I’m concerned we’re going to encourage the expansion of all forms of energy so that our citizens and our businesses have the cheapest energy available to them so that we can grow and thrive as a community and that our citizens can heat their homes and power their homes as efficiently and cheaply as possible.”
“An ‘all-of-the-above’ approach may provide a good soundbite for Speaker Mattiello,” said Conservation Law Foundation press secretary Josh Block, “but it is an illogical and irresponsible solution when it comes to our energy grid. Renewable energy is the only path to ensuring breathable air, drinkable water and stable energy prices for decades to come, and suggesting we continue building payphones when cell phones are getting cheaper and more prevalent each day defies basic economic and common sense.”
Professor Peter Nightingale of Fossil Free RI says that “Speaker Mattiello does not get it: going green will stimulate Rhode Island’s economy more than his supposedly cheap fossil fuel energy. He calls himself practical, even as he ignores common sense economics and the laws of nature. Unfortunately, he fits in perfectly with the rest of our leadership as they sell present and future generations down “Clear River” for short-term gain. Is dark and out-of-state money interfering with their sense of decency and grasp of reality?”
Greg Gerritt, head of research for ProsperityForRI.com speaking only for himself, berated the Speaker’s understanding of economics, saying, “The more I listen to Representative Mattiello the more it becomes obvious that he has absolutely no understanding of how the economy works and where it is going, has no understanding of the relationship between healthy ecosystems and the Rhode Island economy, and no conception that economies are built from the bottom up not the top down.”
Nick Katkevich of Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG) sent a video, saying, “Way back on a hot summer day in June a group of us went to Mattiello’s law office in Cranston over a rumor that he was planning to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Burrillville Spectra expansion. To our surprise he showed up while we were there at his office.”
More on the 2016 Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit:
More on Speaker Mattiello and his economic ideas from the 2015 Rhode Island Small Business Economic Summit: