Two opportunities to fight two pipelines

If your climate anxieties are acting up, and you can spare ten minutes or ten bucks, here’s your chance.


National Grid is seeking approval to construct and operate the E37 natural gas pipeline that would cut through Papscanee Island on the Mahicannituck (Hudson) River. In addition to contributing to fossil-fueled climate change, this pipeline would desecrate a sacred place: Papscanee Island, named for a prominent Mohican chief, is a culturally significant part of the homelands of the Stockbridge Munsee-Mohican people. The island holds the bones of their ancestors, the artifacts of their villages, and the memory of their fertile maize mounds. Papscanee Island is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places because of its cultural significance to the Muh-he-con-neok (Mohican) “People of the Waters That Are Never Still.”

Please contact Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary of NY Public Service Commission, at to urge the commission to block the pipeline. Reference “Case 19-T-0069” in your correspondence.


People fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia have been imprisoned, with bail set in the tens of thousands.

If you have money to spare, share it with them here.

No LNG in PVD: Call the Governor / CRMC Hearing

This Tuesday, there are three things you can do to fight the fracked-gas liquefaction facility that National Grid wants to build on the Southside of Providence.

Call Governor Raimondo , (401) 222-2080, and tell her to publicly oppose National Grid’s proposed liquefaction facility. Details and a potential script are at the link. You can also just call that number, give your name and address, say “I’m calling to ask the Governor to publicly oppose National Grid’s proposed liquefaction facility,” thank the staffer, and hang up.

Come to the first Coastal Resources Management Council hearing, 5pm on Tuesday, One Capitol Hill, Department of Administration Cafeteria. Come prepared to speak or just support. We’ll have lists of talking points to share if anyone wants them. The CRMC is considering whether to grant one of the permits that National Grid would need; let’s show them why they should not do that.

Donate to No LNG in PVD’s legal fundraiser, if you haven’t already.

Every person who has ever said to me at the Climate Anxiety Counseling booth that you feel helpless–here are three ways to help.

Vigil for Healthy Communities: TONIGHT, 6pm

For over two years grassroots groups have been urging Governor Gina Raimondo to oppose the power plant that Invenergy has proposed for Burrillville and the LNG facility proposed by National Grid for the Port of Providence. There has been marches, call-in days, petitions and sit-ins.

But still Governor Raimondo has remained “neutral” on the issue and has refused to return campaign donations that she has received from both Invenergy and National Grid.

With critical state permit decisions coming up for both projects, now is the time for Governor Raimondo to finally join the opposition to Invenergy’s power plant and National Grid’s LNG facility. 

Join us for a peaceful vigil outside Governor Gina Raimondo’s house.  6pm, 126 Morris Ave, Providence.

If you can’t come tonight, but you can donate to stop the LNG facility, that would be good too.

Tell Johnston Town Council not to sell water to Invenergy

Thanks to a reader’s tip, I learned that Invenergy is approaching the town of Johnston in an attempt to buy water from them for their fracked-gas power plant, and that their town council is meeting tonight to vote on it–at the same time as Woonsocket’s City Council, whom Invenergy also approached.

Johnston is not offering residents an opportunity to comment publicly on this deal, and neither they nor Invenergy have released any of its details.

Rhode Island friends, everybody who’s ever said to me at the Climate Anxiety Counseling booth or elsewhere “I wish there was something I could do”: if you have time today to call or email the members of the Johnston Town Council and urge them not to sell water to Invenergy, that would be a good thing to do.

Calling is probably better than emailing, but either is good.

You could draw on the email I sent yesterday to the members of the Woonsocket City Council, or you could say/write something like this:

“My name is __________, and I live in ________. I’m asking you to please vote NO on Invenergy’s proposal to buy water from the town of Johnston to run a power plant in Burrillville. That power plant’s going to pollute the air and water throughout the state, it’s not guaranteed to create any permanent jobs for Rhode Islanders, and Burrillville residents have said they don’t want it. Please reject this proposal.”


A Letter to the Woonsocket City Council

Dear Councilmembers Gendron, Sierra, Murray, Cournoyer, Brien, Fagnant and Beauchamp,

I know that on Tuesday, January 10th, the Woonsocket City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to sell Woonsocket water to Invenergy to operate their power plant in Burrillville. Although I’m from Providence, I attended the public hearing on January 6th, and heard many people from Woonsocket speak, mostly against the deal.

The comments that struck me most sharply were the ones about being good neighbors: about Woonsocket being a good neighbor to the many people in Burrillville who have declared that they don’t want this power plant in their town, and to the other towns that have joined Burrillville in opposing the plant. About Woonsocket standing with Burrillville, one town supporting another, in the hopes that in your time of need Burrillville will stand with you; about the ways that with this support, Burrillville could then turn around and support Woonsocket by participating in your city’s economy.

I came from Providence to try to be a good neighbor, to support the Woonsocket and Burrillville residents who don’t want this health-endangering and environmentally disruptive power plant to be part of their homes—people who recognize that its long-term costs outweigh its short-term benefits. I was struck by Woonsocket residents’ other reasons for objecting to the plant as well: their fears for their health, their resentment that Woonsocket is the “dumping ground of Rhode Island”, the desire to protect the air and water and woods, their concern that Invenergy would not keep to the original terms of its deal, or that they’re being disingenuous about the amount of water the plant needs to run safely; their concerns about committing potable water to this usage, especially in light of the drought conditions that are predicted to become more common in the Northeast in the next few years.

But when Leslie Mayer said, “You have the opportunity to be heroes” to the people of your city and your future—to make the right, the neighborly choice—that rang true to me. If the people and towns of Rhode Island are able to collaborate with one another, to work together, to have each other’s backs rather than competing with each other or treating each other as enemies, our chances of surviving and thriving are better when conditions are difficult.

Please be a good neighbor to Burrillville.

Please be a good neighbor to the other cities and towns of Rhode Island.

Please be a good neighbor to the water that the people of your city drink and bathe in.

Please be a good neighbor to the trees and plants that filter the air all Rhode Islanders breathe, and to the air itself.

Please be a good neighbor to your fellow Woonsocket residents, who have given so many reasons why they don’t want the city to agree to this deal.

Please reject Invenergy’s proposal.

Kate Schapira
[my address]


I just sent that letter, as an email, to the people on the Woonsocket City Council. Except that for about five of them, before I caught it, instead of writing “Please be a good neighbor to the other cities and towns of Rhode Island” I wrote “…cities and towns of Providence.”

Typos happen. But this typo is particularly unfortunate, because I’m writing about cities and towns working together throughout the state, keeping each other in mind, not being at odds. And I typed the name of my own city instead of the name of the entire state.

I hope it won’t invalidate my investment in this question; I don’t think it would make anyone change their minds, that mistake. But it’s careless, and chauvinistic, and I apologize for it, and will try to learn from what it has to show me about paying attention.

Still, please, help prevent Invenergy from building this power plant, because it’s bad for everyone–even the people who work for Invenergy, in the long run.

You can write to the members of the Woonsocket City Council (via a form) here.

Rally at State House re: Burrillville Power Plant

Today (Thursday, 5/26) there will be a rally at the State House in Providence followed by a hearing on bill that would give the residents of Burrillville the power to reject any tax agreement agreed to between the town and Invenergy, the company proposing a natural-gas-fueled power plant in Burrillville. The bill would also make several fundamental changes to the EFSB. If this bill passes and becomes law, it could be an end to the power plant. You can read more about the bill here.

You can read the bill in its entirety here.

I don’t know enough about taxes or about the Energy Facilities Siting Board to know what the other repercussions of this bill might be down the road, but that is also worth investigating.

Rally and Hearing at the State House
Thursday, May 26th, 3pm
RI State House, 82 Smith Street Providence

Alternate Histories: 5/16, 4/7


Traditionally the solution to the “tragedy of the commons” is to privatize it, so to have the land be privately owned and the owner protects it, but you can’t privatize the earth. And the other way is to have more structure, more organization. We were studying the problem of care for the elderly, you know, as the baby boomers get older, and we were like, “So since we know this, why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?” and our professor was like, “Basically, people don’t care until it’s too late.” So all the arguments that are like, “What kind of world will your grandchildren live in?”–people don’t care … How could you get people to be more connected to the earth? I need to get outside more–I want to get to where I can go running in the woods.




The next day, B sat in the university library and wrote out a set of questions. Who owns the land around here? Who uses it? What for? Who takes care of it? How?


B wrote, What kind of world do I live in, right now?


B crossed out I and wrote we.


B looked out the windows of the university library at the giant, ancient beech tree, the fungus seaming an old injury, the bark like the skin of an elephant’s foot when it hits the ground–something we might call “an engineering miracle” but it’s really neither. It’s more contingent, more awe-inspiring, than anything made on purpose or by magic. The tree is a host, B thought. He wrote, Who protects the land around here? Who does it host? He crossed out us and wrote me.


All that summer, B ran on Blackstone Boulevard. He took the number 51 bus to Lincoln Woods to run the loop there. When he ran he thought about nothing and saw almost nothing, so sometimes he walked. Once or twice he got semi-lost. He saw a fat round brown animal he later figured out was a woodchuck. They looked at each other.


Nearly a year later, B read about the proposed natural-gas pipeline expansion running through southern New England. He wrote, How can I help? in his notebook, and then in one email after another. When he stood in a rocky field in Burrillville, his arms linked with strangers’ arms, he saw himself as though he were another animal looking at himself. In his mind he wrote, How did I come to be here? He didn’t remember ever asking that question before.


You will do things you didn’t think were possible for you, but you will also do things you didn’t think had meaning, things you didn’t believe had power. You will have a kind of power you didn’t think was power. You will recognize yourself.

Expansion of Natural Gas Pipeline in RI/MA: Public Meeting TODAY, 9/25, 5:30 pm in Little Compton

Even if you can’t go, please let people who live in the area know about this: there’s a public meeting tonight to discuss the proposed expansion of a natural gas pipeline in Tiverton, Little Compton and Fall River.

Thursday, 9/25

5:30-7:30 pm

Little Compton Town Hall (40 Commons Rd, Little Compton RI, call (401) 635-4400 for directions)

The first meeting was apparently poorly advertised: here’s more information about it, and about the pipeline proposal and the objections to it. It’s part of this pipeline expansion, and public comment on the project is open until September 29th, so if you can’t go to the meetings, leave a comment: it takes a couple of minutes.

UPDATE: If you want to comment at the FERC, it will ask for the docket number for the project. It is CP14-96-000.

I left this comment, which you can grab if you want: “I am a Rhode Island resident writing to oppose the Algonquin Incremental Market Project’s proposed expansion of a natural gas pipeline running through Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I am concerned about on-site environmental damage, an increase in pollution in already-polluted areas, and the increased potential for burning greenhouse gases.”