Invenergy says water is coming from Charlestown, Chief Sachem Matt Thomas says it’s coming from Westerly

If things weren’t already complicated enough with the proposal by Invenergy to truck water from Tribal land in Charlestown to Burrillville to cool the turbines of Invenergy’s proposed power plant in the forest of that town, the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) hearing on November 27 only made things more mysterious.

Proposed Well Location In Charlestown

The EFSB has allowed Invenergy to keep most of their water withdrawal plan secret, but one document Invenergy has made public is a map of the “conceptual” water withdrawal site. That map shows the proposed well sites to be clearly at the center of the Indian Cedar Swamp on Tribal land in Charlestown. The EFSB has allowed Charlestown intervenor status because of that location.

Shannah Kurland, the attorney who represents the Tribal Council in their quest for intervenor status before the EFSB, produced an October 24th letter at the EFSB hearing on November 27 from Matt Thomas assuring tribal members that the water would not be withdrawn from their Charlestown holdings. Instead the water would come from wells to be developed on the Tribe’s Crandall Farm in Westerly. The water development would serve two purposes, one would be to provide water for a planned Hemp farm on that land and also to sell water to Invenergy.

Part of that letter is below, click on the image below to read the full letter.

In other actions at the November 27 EFSB hearing the board made the following decisions:

  • Rejected the Narragansett Indian Tribal Council’s motion to be an intervenor
  • Voted to delay the formal hearings for 90 days to allow for additional requested discovery, supplemental Advisory Opinions from RI Office of Energy Resources and Statewide Planning, and time to file additional testimony
  • Rejected the motions from the Conservation Law Foundation and Burrillville to dismiss the entire application because Invenergy had not been forthcoming with information

The 90 day delay will give the experts hired by Charlestown time to review the Invenergy water withdrawal documents.

The 90 day delay has no impact on the December 5 public hearing in Charlestown. That hearing will still be held as planned.

Banner image is a view of the Crandall Swamp in Westerly.

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