Council President Pro Tempore Pedro Espinal Calls for Environmental Protections in South Providence

Jul 15, 2021 | 0 comments

At tonight’s City Council meeting, Council President Pro Tempore Pedro Espinal will introduce several pieces of legislation to address present and future threats to public health and the environment in the South Side of Providence.

Council President Pro Tempore Espinal proposed a resolution to stop the expansion of Sea 3 LLC, located in the industrial area surrounding the Port of Providence. This expansion would allow for the storage of an additional 450,000 gallons of propane on site, and the shipment of highly combustible propane tanks into the area of the port by rail.

“The Port of Providence and surrounding South Providence neighborhood is home to the most intensive industrial land use in the state of Rhode Island. For generations, residents in this area have faced disproportionately worse health outcomes compared to the rest of the city. Our focus should be on mitigating any activity that puts the environment or public health and safety at risk, not continuing to expand it,” stated Council President Pro Tempore Espinal.

In a letter to the Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) this past May, Pro Tempore Espinal shared his concerns that the expansion of this organization would only further burden the South Providence community, which has already suffered from toxins and air pollution for years due to industrial activity in the Port of Providence. In a continuation of this advocacy, Pro Tempore Espinal’s resolution further calls on the EFSB to reject Sea 3 LLC’s proposal for expansion.

In addition, Pro Tempore Espinal also proposed an amendment to the code of ordinances that would prohibit the bulk storage of Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) within the city of Providence. This ordinance would prevent any organizations from attempting to ship more harmful toxins or dangerous chemicals into the city or the port.

“The south side of Providence is constantly facing the adverse effects of industrial operations in the area. From poor air quality, to high childhood asthma rates, local residents and the local environment are always on the losing end of these kinds of developments. Additionally, the threat of an accident such as a fire or explosion could be devastating for our city. Just a few months ago, a submarine caught on fire in the port. It is irresponsible and unethical to allow for these kinds of dangerous operations to continue in our neighborhood. This is why I am fighting for both short- and long-term protections and regulations,” added Council President Pro Tempore Espinal.

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