Is a ban on new natural gas hookups on the table for Aquidneck Island?
PROVIDENCE — If there’s a frontline in the battle over natural gas in Rhode Island, it has to be Aquidneck Island.
It’s where thousands of people in Middletown and Newport lost heat 2½ years ago when an extraordinary set of mishaps resulted in an interruption to their gas supply on some of the coldest days of winter.
It’s where National Grid is working on a long-term plan to shore up service and, in the meantime, wants to continue to operate a temporary plant that can tap into liquefied stores of natural gas when necessary.
And it’s also where a pair of leading environmental groups has formally petitioned state regulators to enact a moratorium on new gas connections to help curtail use of a fossil fuel that is a key driver of climate change.
The request from the Conservation Law Foundation and the Acadia Center is the latest twist in an ongoing debate about the future of gas on the island, which literally sits at one of the endpoints of the pipeline network that sends the fuel around New England, making it especially vulnerable to disruptions to delivery.
Even though the siting board didn’t immediately give his group what it wants, Hank Webster, Rhode Island director of Acadia, expressed satisfaction that a moratorium is still on the table.
“A moratorium, paired with targeted efficiency and electrification improvements, will deliver consumer benefits directly into people’s homes and businesses,” he said in an email. “Sinking tens of millions of ratepayer dollars into new long-lived gas infrastructure just doesn’t make sense, given the need for [Rhode Island] to cut greenhouse gas pollution as fast as we can.”
Read the full article in the Providence Daily Journal here