Burrillville residents contest proposed power plant at heated meeting
BURRILLVILLE, R.I. —
A battle over a proposed $700 million gas-fired power plant is taking place in Pascoag.
Dozens of people stood in solidarity against the plant during a heated meeting at Burrillville High School Wednesday night.
"We shouldn't have to go looking up what's going to kill us," John Scott told the Burrillville Town Council.
Scott said he's ready to move out of Rhode Island if the proposed Clear River Energy Center is built on Wallum Lake Road in Pascoag.
"I'm not going to kill my kids," Scott said. "I'm going to move away from a town and a state that I love."
Many people who attended the meeting wore yellow stickers to send a message to the town council -- no, they don't want Invenergy to build the plant.
But the town council won't have the final say on whether that happens.
"At this time, we have very little say in the process," Town Council President John Pacheco told NBC 10 News.
That's because it's ultimately up to the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board to decide.
When NBC 10 asked Pacheco if he was in favor of building the plant, he said he and the council refused to let emotions get in the way.
"At this time, I am neutral," Pacheco said. "I have to remain neutral. The council has to remain neutral during this process so that our information as it's presented in the future is untainted and unbiased at all times."
Pacheco may be neutral, but the large crowd at the high school auditorium clearly was not.
The crowd brought out a heavy law enforcement presence at the meeting.
"What kind of a place, if we build this power plant, are we leaving for our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren?" another resident said.
The town, which is already home to one power plant, is determined to make sure another one isn't soon added.
"Why do we need another one? It just defies comprehension," said Erin Olkowski, a Burrillville resident.