In August, the Narragansett Town Council passed a motion to deny Deepwater Wind easements relating to property owned by the town “including but not limited to the town beach” for the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm, which required an underwater cable to the mainland.
The Council’s actions on this matter were well researched and thought out. I was enthusiastic that our new Town Council was listening to the citizens. Deepwater Wind, the financial creation of Wall Street’s D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund, treated our town with little respect in its attempt to run high voltage wires of 34,500 volts under our town beach and thorough the heart of Narragansett Pier. After the vote, about 60 residents rose from their seats, applauded and cheered the Town Council for standing up to big money.
Today, we find that Deepwater Wind has made two subsequent attempts to bring that same cable under Narragansett’s Scarborough Beach. The first attempt was discovered by a supporter of Deepwater Resistance, our grass roots initiative to stop Deepwater Wind. It seemed that Deepwater Wind attempted to cloak its efforts to gain a state easement through the beach by using a misleading aliased name. The state Attorney General’s office put an immediate stop to the action.
This bold attempt by Deepwater Wind was a direct snub to the people of Narragansett and to Rhode Island. In a letter to the state Coastal Resources Management Council, Richard Licht, director, state Department of Administration, made it clear that the governor’s office recognizes the importance of local governments in important decisions regarding approvals for this project.
Now, Deepwater Wind is attempting to gain access to Scarborough Beach using a path of approvals that does not demand public hearings. Our Town Council needs to show its teeth and resolve once again. I am asking the council members to stand by the spirit of their unanimously passed August 5th motion to stop Deepwater Wind.
The State Properties Committee intends to have a special review necessary for negotiating the easement of a section of Scarborough Beach and other paths for an underground high voltage power line through our town. There needs to be public comment at a public hearing conducted by the State Properties Committee before any decision is made relating to granting any easements to Deepwater Wind.
I’m asking the Narragansett Town Council to actively request and support such a public hearing.
The author is the treasurer of Deepwater Resistance.
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