Governor Raimondo has a dilemma. She has to accept and spin the demise of the Clear River Energy fracked gas power plant. She has to find a way to preserve her fiction of the efforts to create a better “business climate” while allowing the demise of a plant that the community fought tooth and nail, that made no sense economically or environmentally, violated and overwhelmed all the good we are doing to stop climate change.
Her problem is compounded by the keystone cops way in which Invenergy went about the project with applications filled with information about projects that were not being proposed, and almost none on what was actually on the table. If she blames the people for stopping a bad project she gets real political heat and encourages challenges to her reign from the left. If she blames the regulatory apparatus for rejecting an amateurish proposal that did not meet the letter or the spirit of Rhode Island and Federal clean air and climate actions and legislation, she throws her own efforts at being business friendly under the bus.
Nope, she has to say the system worked. That the project is not appropriate for Rhode Island and its high standard and concern for the quality of life of its community.
She has a great comparison to use. Deepwater Wind. Deepwater Wind went above and beyond in meeting environmental standards and in producing quality work from day one to completion. Rest assured that if Invenergy was something other than a keystone cops outfit, and produced a good application that really demonstrated their concern for doing it right, we still would have rejected a fracked gas plant that would prevent us from meeting any of our climate goals. But in this case Governor Raimondo would score points with the public and reduce the fallout from the stopping of some big deal project, by emphasizing both climate issues and the incompetence of Invenergy.
The governor also has to gain much more acceptance of democracy. Trying to shove projects like this down the throats of communities does not work any longer. The governor ought to embrace the wisdom of the people who have prevented boondoggles foisted upon us by the ruling elites in the past. She might want to get her speechwriters working now so that she can strike the right tone when the inevitable crumbling of the Clear River project occurs. And she might want to clearly articulate that gas is not the answer and that only by going completely clean energy can RI prosper in the future so this kind of living in the past proposal will not get her approval again.
Vote Green in 2016.