Providence City Councillor Seth Yurdin introduced a resolution Thursday evening that would strengthen the City Council’s opposition to National Grid’s proposed Fields Point liquefaction facility. Immediately after introducing his resolution Councillor Sam Zurier rose to co-sponsor, as did councilors David Salvatore, Carmen Castillo, Wilbur Jennings, Jo-Ann Ryan and Terrence Hassett.
Noting that it seemed as if a majority of the council was co-sponsoring the resolution, Yurdin moved that the resolution be voted on immediately. This caused councilors Jo-Ann Ryan and Terrence Hassett to suddenly flip their support. Yurdin’s move for passage failed, and the resolution was passed onto the Ordinances committee.
Reached for comment, Hassett wrote, “I voted no to have an immediate passage on the floor without a Council committee review. I co-sponsored it but a committee review is necessary for a proper vetting and discussion before it is transmitted to the full Council.”
Ryan wrote, “I requested to be a sponsor of the resolution last night. It was sent to ordinance committee by a majority vote. I voted to send it to committee to provide an opportunity for community input at an open public meeting of the council. You can and should attend and voice your concerns. And encourage others to attend and participate in the process.”
There are no ordinance committee hearings on the current schedule. Hassett is the chair of ordinance and Ryan is a member of the committee.
National Grid wants to expand its LNG footprint in the Port of Providence with the new liquefaction plant. Environmental groups such as the RI Sierra Club and the Environmental Justice League of RI oppose the plan. Curiously, Save the Bay, whose offices are not too far from the proposed site, have not come out against it.
The City Council unanimously approved Yurdin’s previous resolution opposing the site in March. That resolution called for public meetings to be scheduled to address environmental and health concerns of the project. “Unfortunately,” said Yurdin, here we are in the Summer and no such meetings have been held… This resolution is stronger than the previous resolution.”
The previous resolution called for studies and review. The new resolution is a call to strong action.
The new resolution says, in part, “That 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.”