Opponents of Burrillville power plant point out potential threats

Reporters and others tour Pulaski State Park in Burrillville on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Environmental groups and others say that the park and other sensitive property in the town would be adversely affected by a gas-fired power plant that Invenergy LLC plans to build. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Calling the climate change that a proposed gas-fired power plant that Invenergy LLC proposes to build in Burrillville a “existential threat”, environmental and conservation groups led reporters and others on a tour of Pulaski State Park Tuesday to point out lands and animals they say are vulnerable to construction and potential pollution impacts.

A half-dozen groups, organized by the Burrillville Conservation Commission offered criticism of the Invenergy plant, including Save The Bay, The Nature Conservancy, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and others.

“Audubon opposes the Invenergy power plant, because climate change is the existential threat facing birds and wildlife and people,” said Meg Kerr, Senior Director of Policy for the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.

“This indeed is a forest in jeopardy,” said Lisa Mosczynski, President of the Metacomet Land Trust which preserves open space in 15 communities in the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island area.

“This site was rejected for the Ocean State Power Plant in the past. It must be rejected now,” Mosczynski said.

“Any given day, you have people swimming, fishing hiking just a stone’s throw away… and it’s important that we preserve this, because it was meant to be preserved,” said Kevin Cleary, Chairman of the Burrillville Conservation Commission as he wrapped up about a two-mile guided hike around Pulaski State Park and Recreational Area, pointing out birds, wildlife habitats and natural formations along the way.

Cleary said the tour and speaking program was organized because the Rhode Island state Energy Facilities Siting Board will soon continue a series of hearings into the proposed power plant.

A continuation of final hearings which started in the spring are set to resume on Thursday, July 19, at 9:30 A.M. and may continue on July 24 & 25.