Neighbors of existing Burrillville plant say complaints ignored

People who live near the Ocean State Power plant in Burrillville have complained about the noise and smell. (WJAR)

The Chicago-based company Invenergy is working to get a power plant sited in Burrillville. There have been a series of public hearings on the proposal, drawing hundreds of interested parties.

Most of those in favor are union workers supporting the construction jobs created by such a project. Opponents fall into two basic categories: Burrillville residents opposed to the noise and smells from the plant, and environmentalists who say the state should be investing in sustainable energy rather than fossil fuels.

But Burrillville has hosted a power plant for 25 years. It's on the same gas pipeline Invenergy wants to tap into and is about half the size.

Neighbors of the Ocean State Power plant complain it has never met its promises of noise control. Ralph Billington in Uxbridge -- the plant is right on the border with Massachusetts -- said he's disappointed the state has not enforced the noise level that plant operators pledged to achieve when they built the plant.

"The state requires them to operate only if they don't exceed that noise level, and then they do. The plant should be shut down," he told NBC 10 News.

He said he's made numerous complaints about a leaky valve in the gas line that spews noxious odor.

"On a day like today when it's not windy, it gags you as you go past. It's so smelly," he said.

On the other side of the plant, Mitch Adams finds strange spots on his car some mornings.

"We get white specks all over our cars," Adams said.

He's had no more luck complaining than his counterparts across the state line, and he has one wish for the people opposing the Invenergy plant.

"I feel their pain to be quite honest with you," he said. "These people are going to have their hands full up in the other corner of the town."

A public hearing in Burrillville on Monday night is the third. There will be another soon in Warwick.

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