Before gas utilities can begin building new facilities and pipelines, the law typically requires them to hold public hearings at which local residents and business owners can learn about the projects and voice their concerns. One tactic to legally silence the opponents of such construction projects is to hold the hearings at locations and times that are inconvenient for working people.
But sometimes that doesn’t work out in the utility’s favor.
Gina Rodriguez, of the Providence, RI-based group No LNG in PVD, had choice words for those at National Grid and the state Department of Environmental Management who might’ve hoped to hush her and other opponents of the utility’s proposed gas liquefaction plant. “You publicly stated in an RI Future article that if anyone was planning to ‘disrupt your meeting,’ which is our meeting that we called for, that it wouldn’t matter where the location would be, because you usually have a police detail anyway.
“Let me tell you something about ‘disruption.’ Disruption is a multinational corporation coming into our neighborhood, acting like we’re fit to be sacrificed for your mistakes, because none of you can guarantee that an accident can’t happen, and given where this proposed site is, next to a plethora of already dangerous, hazardous toxic sites, you expect us to be sitting ducks. That’s disruption!”
Indeed, Rhode Islanders are no strangers to the dangers of natural gas. A recent spate of leaks and explosions, covered by the Providence Journal and ecoRI News, was featured in AEC’s May 10 e-Alert.
Click here to see ecoRI News’ coverage of the July public hearing, including videos of public comments by Ms. Rodriguez and others.