Protesters clash at the State House over Burrillville power plant

By Bianca Buono


Burrillville residents opposed to a power plant coming to their town moved their fight to the Capital City Thursday. Around a hundred protesters filled the rotunda at the State House.

Donna Woods, a Burrillville resident opposed to the plant said, "A lot of people say it’s a big oh not my backyard thing. Well all of Rhode Island is our backyard."

 The $700 million project would bring a 900 megawatt gas-fired plant to Burrillville, becoming the second plant in that area. The move has many residents concerned. They say it would ruin their community.

One protester said, "Fragmentation of wildlife and the loss of wildlife in this area needs to be maintained."

But Thursday’s protest took a turn when union workers showed up in support of the plant and the estimated 375 jobs in would bring.

"Projects such as this if they are stopped or killed will have a detrimental effect on the momentum we’ve been able to build over the past couple of years,” said Michael Sabitoni of Build RI.

The two groups clashed, causing security at the State House to escort several protesters out.

The plant is being built by a Chicago-based company called Invenergy, but residents opposed to the plant want a say in the process.

"In Burrillville we’re about small town America not corporate America,” said State Representative Cale Keable.

A bill being heard in the House Thursday would give them that voice.

Governor Gina Raimondo, who was publicly supported the project because of the jobs and lower energy bills it would bring, didn’t show up to the protest. But earlier in the day, she said that she’s listening to what her constituents have to say.

"I know they have some very legitimate concerns about water quality and we have to take that seriously and listen,” Raimondo said.

© WLNE-TV 2016