Artist's rendering of the Clear River Energy Center in Burrillville, Rhode Island. Image: >Invenergy Thermal Development LLC

Narragansett Tribe faces more questions about water deal with energy company

The Narragansett Tribe didn't just surprise its own citizens by agreeing to supply water to a controversial power plant.

Officials in the town of Charlestown said they haven't been informed by anyone about the tribe's deal. The agreement calls for water to be trucked from the reservation to the Clear River Energy Center, about 45 miles away.

“They’re planning to take a lot of water and it’s the sole source aquifer for this whole region including public water supplies in Westerly and South Kingstown and Narragansett,” Virginia Lee the president of the town council, told The Westerly Sun. “It affects a lot of towns potentially, but we don’t know, we don’t have any information, we haven’t seen the contract, we know absolutely nothing other than what’s been in the papers.”

Tribal citizens also found out about the deal through the Rhode Island media. They said it was never brought up to a vote of the people, as required by the Narragansett constitution.

John Brown, the tribe's medicine man, has defended the agreement with Invenergy Thermal Development LLC, saying it will provide revenues to the community. According to The Sun, the tribe will get paid whether or not its water is used for the gas-fired power plant. Neither Brown nor Invenergy have said how much the tribe will receive.

The $1 billion project requires state approval. A public hearing is taking place in Burrillville, the site of the proposed plant, on Tuesday evening.

Read More on the Story:
Town ‘blindsided’ by tribal deal; Water agreement for power plant on Charlestown agenda (The Westerly Sun October 20, 2017)

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