AG files to intervene in proposed liquified propane gas facility expansion, seeking a full review

PROVIDENCE – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha has filed a motion to intervene in an Energy Facility Siting Board docket related to the proposed expansion of a liquified propane gas facility in at 25 Fields Point Drive in ProvPort.

The proposed expansion by company Sea 3 Providence LLC would see the facility add six 90,000-gallon storage tanks on an adjacent parcel to the current facility, as well as the ability to receive rail shipments in addition to its current ability to receive shipments by marine vessels.

The company has petitioned for a declaratory order from the R.I. Energy Facilities Siting Board that its expansion does not require a full application review under the premise that the expansion does not constitute “an alteration to a major energy facility,” Neronha said on Wednesday.

Neronha is petitioning for a full review by the board, including reviews of the proposed project’s impact on air quality, public safety and welfare of the community. Neronha’s petition asserts that the proposed expansion does constitute an alteration to a major energy facility, and therefore requires a full review.

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“The regulatory oversight of energy facilities in our state, including their growth and activities, is necessary because of the direct impacts that those facilities have on our environment, health and public safety,” said Neronha in a statement. That oversight is especially critical in communities that have historically borne an unfair share of Rhode Island’s pollution, [such as] the communities surrounding the Port of Providence.”

Among Neronha’s concerns is the potential of increased pollution from truck traffic to the site, further increasing air pollution in an area ”already overburdened by cumulative air pollution.”

In Sea 3 Providence’s filing with the EFSB, it said the company has “not identified a significant environment impact even during the construction phase,” and that its planned modification of the site will be “done in a manner to minimize any potential for an adverse impact on the environment.”

Earlier this week, the Conservation Law Foundation also filed a motion to intervene, according to the R.I. Public Utilities Commission.

Neronha’s office saya the expansion is projected to cost the company between $15 million to $20 million.

The company said that the project is necessary to meet future demand for liquified propane gas in the region and will serve to stabilize prices and keep costs down for the consumer.

Chris Bergenheim is PBN web editor. You may reach him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.