Attorney General Neronha applauds decision by EFSB to fully review proposed Liquid Propane Gas expansion project in the Port of Providence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha applauded the decision issued today by Rhode Island’s Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB), which will require Sea 3 Providence, LLC to submit a full application and be subject to robust review for its proposed expansion of its Liquified Propane Gas (LPG) storage and distribution facility in the Port of Providence.
In March 2021, Sea 3 Providence petitioned the EFSB seeking a declaratory order that would have allowed the existing LPG facility to expand to accommodate an additional 540,000 gallons of LPG storage capacity and to begin receiving daily deliveries of LPG by rail without full regulatory review. Shortly thereafter, the Attorney General intervened in the matter, arguing that the proposed expansion posed significant risks to the public health, safety and welfare, and that the proposal should be reviewed to ensure consistency with the 2021 Act on Climate and the State’s commitment to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
Today, the EFSB denied Sea 3 Providence’s petition and ruled that the proposed expansion represents an alteration of a major energy facility and requires a full application and review by the EFSB under Rhode Island law.
“My Office, alongside community stakeholders, intervened in this matter because we believe that energy facility expansions like this project should be subject to full and comprehensive regulatory oversight given the direct impacts they have on our environment, health, and public safety,” said Attorney General Neronha. “There should be no room for regulatory shortcuts, and I am grateful that the EFSB saw things the same way. Today’s decision is a clear win for all Rhode Islanders, and especially those who live, play, and work near this facility.”
In its decision, the EFSB determined that potential impacts of the project on the State’s ability to meet Act on Climate goals must be considered, and that Sea 3 Providence had not presented enough evidence to show that there would not be significant impacts with respect to greenhouse gas emissions. The EFSB also determined that Sea 3 Providence did not sufficiently demonstrate that there would not be significant safety impacts stemming from the project.
Sea 3 Providence proposes to incorporate an adjacent vacant lot into the daily operation of its existing terminal to acquire daily shipments of LPG by rail, in addition to continuing its current means of obtaining large, less-frequent supply via marine vessels. The proposal also seeks to install piping and equipment to allow for the offloading of LPG rail shipments into six proposed new 90,000-gallon horizontal storage bullet tanks on the adjacent vacant property. These rail shipments would arrive daily and increase the facility’s ability to fuel trucks, potentially resulting in additional pollution and congestion to the Port area.
State law requires a full application and approval from the EFSB if the expansion is an “alteration” to the existing facility. According to Rhode Island General Law § 42-98-3(b), an “alteration” is “a significant modification to a major energy facility, which, as determined by the board, will result in a significant impact on the environment, or the public health, safety, and welfare.”