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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Paper volleys continue on Charlestown water scheme, power plant

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

care paperwork GIFNew motions have been filed and more hearings could be scheduled ahead of the final stage of Clear River Energy Center meetings that are expected to begin in December.

The next public hearing, scheduled for Nov. 27 in front of the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), will address the following motions:

request by the Tribal Council of the Narragansett Indian Tribe to join the application process as an intervenor. 

The nine-member council says it was excluded from an agreement made by tribal leaders to sell cooling water from its Charlestown reservation to Invenergy Thermal Development. 

Members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe have expressed opposition to the power plant and outrage that the water agreement was made without approval from the council.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The EFSB formal hearing in Charlestown is currently scheduled for December 5th at Charlestown Elementary. On November 20 and 21, Charlestown filed motions with the Board to (a) request a postponement, if not of the hearing, then of the related filings and testimony by the town and (b) request state funding for research and analysis of the latest filings by Invenergy. 

The town cites the fact that only recently did Invenergy file new notices and paperwork and thus Charlestown has not had a fair chance to carefully review that material. - Will Collette


request to dismiss the project application by the town of Burrillville for Invenergy taking too long to disclose that the regional energy grid operator, ISO New England, has refused a portion of the proposed power plant’s electricity in an upcoming auction.

request by the Conversation Law Foundation (CLF) to allow debate over Invenergy’s request for a public hearing. 

Invenergy made the request after it altered its water plan. But CLF wants clarification as to whether the changes merit a public hearing or perhaps require a more radical change to the application.

request by CLF for additional advisory analysis and request for the EFSB to hire an independent expert in the area of energy market finance.

Other motions have since been submitted to the EFSB by Invenergy, CLF and the town of Burrillville. 

One of the most intriguing is a filing by the town to conduct an independent environmental analysis of the proposed fossil-fuel power plant and its impact on habitat. 

Burrillville says the application process for the natural-gas/diesel facility has lacked an unbiased review similar to ones used to vet the Ocean State Power facility and the Manchester Street Power Station in Providence.

The Nov. 27 meeting is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at the EFSB office, 89 Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick. The public will not be allowed to speak at the hearing.

The public will be allowed to speak at hearings Dec. 5 and 6 in Charlestown and Burrillville, respectively. The venue for the Burrillville meeting was recently changed from the high school to the middle school auditorium.

A final phase of debate is scheduled to begin Dec. 8 and run through February. A decision by the EFSB on the Clear River Energy Center isn't expected until at least March. 

The town of Charlestown, however, has submitted a request that the final hearing be delayed until Jan. 28, to give it time to research documents that Invenergy only recently made available.