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Protest in Burrillville over gas pipeline and proposed power plant

Residents and activists converged in Burrillville Saturday as part of a two day mobilization to protest Spectra Energy's gas pipeline expansion and the newly proposed Clear River Power Plant. NBC10 Photo

With signs, and even a marching band, a group of Burrillville residents and activists staged a protest march Saturday in town. The demonstrators are protesting against Spectra Energy's compressor station expansion, as well as against Invenergy's announcement it wants to build a natural gas fueled power plant nearby.

Kathleen Martley, a resident and member of the group Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion, or BASE, is concerned about noise pollution and the health of both people and the environment.

"It's been four of five years you can hear 'whooosh' in the backyard. The water table in my yard is twenty-two inches, that means you dig down twenty-two inches you hit water; this is all wetlands behind here," said Martley.

The protest drew people from several different states who say they too are negatively affected by Spectra's pipeline expansion, known as the Algonquin Incremental Market project, which spans Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.

Nancy Vann travelled from Peekskill, NY, to show solidarity with Burrillville.

"Why build something else here, when there's already so much. It's a matter of environmental justice," said Vann.

A Spectra spokesperson told NBC10 Saturday, the company has operated safely in the region for sixty years, and it relentlessly focuses on the safety of employees, the environment and residents of the communities they're in.

As for Invenergy, when it announced the proposed plant in Burrillville, the company said it will provide, clean, affordable, reliable energy to the region, while creating three hundred construction jobs and twenty-five permanent positions as well as millions of dollars in tax revenue for the town.

The energy companies say the projects in question will lower energy costs for consumers in the long run, but some wonder at what cost.

"Burrillville has so much in the fifty-seven square miles, they're overloading us in the woods and it is going to pollute us," said Martley.

"Local communities can only handle so much," said Vann.

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