Invenergy power plant: A new political monster?

Invenergy power plant: A new political monster?

This article is subjective in that it mainly reflects my views of not being in favor of the proposed Invenergy LLC electrical power plant in Burrillville; however, thus far, 11 surrounding communities have also passed resolutions opposing this power facility.

It’s most important to thank our Burrillville neighbors for their efforts in trying to educate and inform our community about the plant’s deficiencies regarding the environment, pollution, water, traffic, etc... Their attendance at the council meetings has been very effective and appreciated by the people.

Sadly, Woonsocket’s initial executive discussions certainly lacked transparency, and still do. Even the council was initially uninformed about this project. The question is, “Why was everything being kept so secretive?” Of note is that according to Burrillville officials, Invenergy also had not provided them all information which the town had requested. What we do know is that Invenergy LLC is soliciting the usage of huge amounts of our city water – 900,000+ gallons per day – for a new power plant, and probably more!

Most of us realize how precious our water supply is to our city and surrounding communities, especially these days where many states have experienced water shortages and issues. Invenergy LLC is a very large company, so we all know that they won’t just “walk away.” Their representatives are and will be prepared to debate their reasons for wanting to erect a new plant.

As a regular citizen, it puzzles me that prior to submitting building plans to officials, companies can’t or don’t seek the proper information and approval(s) which would be necessary for their projects. After receiving such information, companies would then be better prepared to present and discuss their plans, and would also be better able to answer the various questions-at-hand. The present process is like “putting the cart before the horse.”

What is also suspicious is whether the delay in building our city’s new water treatment plant is related to the Invenergy project, as its costs have significantly increased since 2014. This new water plant had been approved by the Budget Commission, and twice-approved by the City Council. At the time, it was deemed to be of “expeditious importance,” but this project has continued to be detained. Why?

Public discussions are to be held on the power plant’s water use this Friday, Jan. 6. The week after, our newly-elected council will need to determine and vote regarding whether Woonsocket should supply water for this project or not. Let’s hope that the councilors’ votes will prove to be a positive outcome for the people.

Invenergy LLC’s reputation is most important as well. Around October 2016, Moody’s downgraded them for “substantial financial underperformance,” so how financially stable is this company? Does the company also have any pending lawsuits related to the people’s concerns? If so, how many lawsuits are there and for what reasons?

Lastly, will history repeat itself? Will the city suffer the consequences of another “monster” like the one on Cumberland Hill Road? Good luck, councilors!

Pauline M. Demers

Woonsocket