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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

2 responses to “Building on Raimondo’s Paris Agreement executive order, CACRI demands more and swifter action regarding CO2 release”

  1. Sergio526

    I wonder how a new, unnecessary gas/diesel powerplant that will require dozens of diesel powered trucks to drive up and down a quarter of the state, fits into all of this.

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  2. Bill Eccleston

    Good question, Sergio. Invenergy’s 1,000 megawatt Clear River Energy Center will produce, according to the application to the Energy Facilities Siting Board, 3.6 million tons of CO2 each year. Additionally, it will permanently de-forest 200 acres in a forested region our state has spent millions over the course of two generations to preserve for the sake of wildlife and human outdoor recreation. Approving this plant will upset the long settled norms governing statewide land-use planning, and, as a legal precedent, will threaten our entire inventory of publicly owned forests, parks and beaches. The last time business and labor interests attempted such an assault on the environmental treasures that are our real economic asset Number One in Rhode Island was during the 70’s when public outrage and grass-roots political action prevented an oil refinary being built on the Tiverton waterfront, a nuclear power plant being built at the Rome Point wildlife preserve in North Kingston, a liquid natural gas import terminal being built on the formal navy land and salt marshes that today are a critical marine preserve on Prudence Island, and another nuclear power plant being built at the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge on Ninigret Pond in Charlestown. It was all these battles that were the genesis of Save the Bay, our premier environmental organization, begun by anxious ordinary citizens strategizing around kitchen tables and living rooms.Then the Empire struck back in the 80’s with the Energy Facilities Siting Board Act. But for three decades the EFSB abided by common political sense and behaved rationally in its siting decisions. The very first power plant it approved was the 500 mg Ocean State project in northeast Burrillville. Wisely, the EFSB invited the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct a thorough environmental impact statement, which required that alternative sites to the Ocean State “preferred” site be evaluated. One of those sites, the so-called “Buck Hill Road” site, is the same Algonquin Gas Transmission Company land next to the George Washington-Pulaski State Wildlife Management and Recreation Area that today is the proposed site for the Invenergy project. It was soundly rejected. In testimony to FERC, RI DEM biologist, Chris Raithel—who still works for DEM—summarized his professional opinion of the site with this succinct statement: “On the basis of what I know of these sites I have listed, this seems by far the most inappropriate location for a power plant.” (OSP Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, vol. II, Letters and Correspondence) Yes it is foolish, and does not serve the business community’s self interest at all to go to war with the environmental community over a project this outrageous, but the old truism is in effect: “Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it.”

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