Providence Reps Voice Opposition to National Grid LNG Proposal

Thursday, August 04, 2016

 

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Rep. Regunberg

A group of Providence elected officials have announced their opposition to a proposal by National Grid to develop a new fracked gas liquefaction facility at Fields Point in South Providence. 

National Grid submitted a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to develop a $180 million facility to produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) directly from a Spectra Energy pipeline that delivers fracked gas from Marcellus Shale to Providence. National Grid would then utilize tanker trucks to export the LNG produced in Providence, primarily to locations in Massachusetts.

On Wednesday, Representatives Joseph S. Almeida (D-Dist. 12, Providence), Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), Aaron Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence), Chris Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence) and John J. Lombardi (D-Dist. 8, Providence) and Senators Juan Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Gayle Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) — called on FERC to reject National Grid’s application

“No matter how you look at it, this project is a money-maker for the utility at the expense of our community and our state. National Grid is asking us, the rate payers, to foot the $180 million bill for this project, for what? So they can increase their own profits by exporting LNG out of the state! This does nothing to benefit our constituents, and it does nothing to benefit my neighbors on the South Side. All this proposal will do is transfer money from rate payers’ pockets to National Grid’s coffers, and we’re not going to accept it,” said Rep. Almeida. 

LNG 

LNG is a stable liquid form and without air is is not flammable. However, any temperature one -260 F it converts to methane gas and expands by 600 times, rapidly pressurizing any sealed container. If LNG spills and mixes with airs, it becomes highly flammable and potentially explosive. 

“LNG is a dangerous substance. Just two years ago, an LNG facility in Washington state exploded, causing an evacuation of everyone within a two-mile area. If that were to happen at this site, all of my constituents would be in danger. Why is it always our community that must shoulder the collateral damage and safety risks from these toxic projects?," said Rep Diaz. 

The officials also urged that the climate consequences of the expand fossil fuel infrastructure be taken into account. 

“The science on climate change is clear. If my generation is to have any chance of inheriting an Ocean State with any state left in it, we need to transition to a clean energy economy as quickly as possible. This proposal would sink millions of rate payer dollars into unnecessary new fossil fuel infrastructure that would be used for decades past our climate’s point of no return, and that is a betrayal of our children. Mayor Elorza and the Providence City Council have taken credit for being leaders on climate and environmental issues. But if the city awards a tax stabilization agreement to National Grid to support this project, then it is our belief that the mayor and council can no longer claim this kind of climate leadership. We hope they will do the right thing and tell National Grid that Providence will not facilitate this wasteful, rate payer-funded, environmentally catastrophic scheme” said Rep. Regunberg. 

Next Steps 

The Providence legislators reported that they are submitting letters detailing their concerns to FERC, joining a growing list of community members and neighborhood organizations opposing National Grid's application. 

 

Related Slideshow: Providence Allens Ave Scrap Metal Company Hit with RICO Lawsuit

In September 2013, three Rhode Island businesses filed a RICO Act suit against Sims Metal Management, who owns and operates two metal scrap yards on Allens Avenue in Providence.  SMM filed both answers to the complaint -- as well as a counterclaim.

Below is a timeline of some of the key events in Sims and waterfront developments, as well as dates referenced in the lawsuit -- and counterclaim.  

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1. October 2011

Sims Metal Management purchases Providence Export--formerly Promet Marine Services Corporation, which began in 1974, "providing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, voyage-repair services to a variety of vessels trafficking in ports of the Northeastern United States, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Portland, Maine. 

The world's largest metal recycler, Sims Metal Management is an Australian company with more than 250 locations on five continents and more than 6,200 employees. In the United States, Sims and its joint ventures are located in 21 states and employ more than 4,400 people.

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2. March 2012

According to Sims Metal Management's (SMM) counterclaim filed to the lawsuit in District Court, "on or about March 16, 2012, SMM agreed to advance Rhode Island Recycled Metals $40,000.00 against the delivery of scrap metal to SMM....Rhode Island Recycled Metals has not repaid the $40,000.00 advance."

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3. April 2012

Lawsuit plaintiff Anthony Serapiglia incorporates "Innercity Recycling Service LLC" in April 2012, having left his previous operation, Cove Metal, in March 2011.  Operations of Innercity begin later in August 2012.

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4. May 2012

Both Sims Metal Management (SMM) and RI Recycled Metals (RIRM) were cited by the RI DEM in 2012 for failing to construct storm water controls to “properly manage and treat the storm water runoff associated with their business.”

The DEM issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to RIRM on May 7, 2012 for “water pollution violations,” and the company has “submitted plans to the DEM to construct storm water controls to address the violations alleged in the NOV.

SMM also received a NOV from the DEM on that May date of 2012 and was issued a permit two months later to get into compliance. The company paid the full penalty of $25,000 for the violation and had “until June 2013 to complete all the required work in the permit.”

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5. Sept/Oct. 2012

Plaintiff Serapiglia enters into a contract with Izzo and Sims for loans to Innercity as well as an exclusivity agreement -- the nature of which is currently under legal dispute.  

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6. March 2013

Less than two weeks after Providence longshoremen picketed on Allens Avenue to protest the hiring practices of Sims Metal (SMM) recycling yard, a group of union members were back at the site to express their “concerns” with the scrap-metal operations of Sims and neighboring company Rhode Island Recycled Metals, LLC (RIRM).

Michael F. Sabitoni, Business manager and Secretary/Treasurer of the Rhode Island Laborers District Council and Labors Local Union 271, said his members were protesting what he called the “bad perception on the industry” that the two companies were portraying due to a lack of “environmental protections” taking plan in and around the Allens Avenue area.

“Obviously, this union action is not about our environmental record, but is really about several local unions’ displeasure about jobs at this location being non-union,” said Sims spokesman Daniel Strechay at the time.  

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7. June 2013

According to the initial RICO lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, "in or about June 2013, employees of Innercity reviewed the books and records...and discovered a discrepancy between the amount of scrap metal it had purchased from its customers and the amount it had sold to SMM, according to SMM's payments" -- which was estimated to be $117,000.  

Innercity contacts SMM in August to review its records of deliveries.  

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8. Fall 2013

Innercity Recycling, K&R Auto Salvage, and Rhode Island Recycled Metals file RICO Act suit vs. Sims in September.  

Sims responds to complaint, and files counterclaim in October.  

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Thursday, December 5th with Chief US Disctrict Judge Mary M. Lisi. 

 
 

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