Saving two bays and combatting lead poisoning: CLF in Rhode Island is ...

Author:Kaplan, Seth
Position:From The States - Brief Article

Keeping the Pressure on PG&E

CLF has strongly opposed an attempt by PG&E to circumvent the Clean Water Act at its Brayton Point Power Plant, in Somerset, Massachusetts. The company requested a variance under CWA Section 316(a) for the plant's 1.3 billion gallons per day of heated water to Mount Hope Bay, much of which lies within the Rhode Island border. The variance would allow the building of an "enhanced multi-mode system" that would reduce some of the plant's heat output -- ostensibly to 1985 Levels. PG&E made the request because those levels would violate water quality standards for the bay.

"CLF analyzed PG&E's variance application, and we have found it to be flawed,

both legally and scientifically," says Stephen Burrington, General Counsel to CLF. "The company's discharge is very strongly linked to the decline of Mount Hope Bay's fisheries, and the new system wouldn't solve that problem. PG&E isn't entitled to the variance, plain and simple. In fact, their arguments would be almost laughable were the matter not so serious."

The Clean Water Act decrees that variances from limits on heat discharges cannot be granted without proof that said discharges will cause no harm to fish, shellfish, and other aquatic wildlife. "EPA should deny PG&E's request," Burrington says. "It's time we held that organization accountable for the damage it's doing to Mount Hope Bay."

Bearing Down on Quonset Point

CLF and Save The Bay have filed joint formal public records act requests with RI Governor Lincoln Almond's office, and with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), seeking disclosure of the names, credentials, and criteria for hiring consultants to work on the state's proposed container port at Quonset Point/Davisville. This comes after the House Finance Committee voted a budget including 1.5 of the $2.5 million that the Governor had requested to begin the federal permitting process for the port. The funds would be used to begin an Environmental Impact Statement, a step usually taken only after a decision has been made to build the project that is the subject of the EIS.

CLF's Director of Rhode Island Advocacy, Seth Kaplan, says, "Deciding to rush into the permitting and environmental review process was ill-advised. Now the state must find consultants to do the work, and it is critical that people with nationally respected credentials be hired, people who can show the state the folly of its plans, and see that the proper homework is done. This is...

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