Rep. Keable Calls for Changes to RI’s Power Plant Siting Process

Thursday, May 18, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team

Cale Keable
Representative Cale Keable is calling for changes to Rhode Island’s energy facility siting process that would better give a voice to communities where power plants are proposed. 

Keable testified to the House Finance Committee on bills he is sponsoring to expand the membership of the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) and bar the board from approving any application of any state or municipal agencies that have been asked to provide advisory opinions were unable to so so. 

Keable’s Bills 

The two bills are aimed at addressing concerns with the process that have been raised during the application process for Invenergy LLC’s proposal to build a 100-megawatt, fracked gas and oil burning power plant in Burrillville. 

“Invenergy has stonewalled several of the agencies. The bill would mean the applicant, in this case, Invenergy, would have to play fair and give them the information they have requested and deserve to form an opinion,” said Keable.

One of the bills would prevent the EFSB from proceeding to a final hearing or issuing a final decision if one or more of the designated agencies can’t form an advisory opinion due to the conduct of the applicant. 

His bill to expand the EFSB from three to five members is designed to provide a direct voice for the potential host community on the board, he told the committee. 

The bill would add two members of to the board whenever it convenes for the purpose of reviewing a proposal concerning a new facility or the expansion of an existing one. The two new members would be appointed by the community where the proposal is located. 

The legislation also includes a clause that would give extra weight to an advisory opinion issued by a host community whenever there is a proposal to site a power facility in a community that already has one. 

Burrillville is already home to the 560-megawatt Ocean State Power plant that began operating in 1990, as well as the Spectra Algonquin natural gas pipeline and a related compressor station.

Keable added, “If it’s not needed in Connecticut, it’s not needed in Burrillville. What is needed in Rhode Island is a better siting board and this bill goes a long way to accomplishing that."

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