NARRAGANSETT — The noise about Deepwater Wind has not been silenced in spite of the Town Council’s suspension of negotiations with the company until at least Monday’s Town Council meeting.
On Saturday, a group of residents opposed to the project passed out fliers and sought signatures on a petition against the project outside Stop & Shop in Salt Pond Plaza, 91 Point Judith Road. In five hours, 60 Narragansett residents signed the petition, which urged the Town Council to receive written assurances from the company that it will bury its transmission line and not construct its switchyard near Sprague Park, Narragansett Elementary School or the town community center.
Marie Younkin-Waldman, founder of “Where’s the town?”, said the group held the event because many residents remain unaware of Deepwater’s proposed wind farm off the coast of Block Island and the transmission line that would land at town beach and run through the town.
The group wants Deepwater to resubmit its environmental report, listing the proposed changes, and to hold all necessary public comment periods and hearings. In order to receive federal tax credits for the demonstration-scale wind farm, Deepwater must begin construction – most likely construction of turbine parts – by the end of 2013.
“We are not convinced that the company will keep its commitment to go underground because the first time they promised that it fell through,” said Myron Waldman, husband of Marie Younkin-Waldman and member of “Where’s the Town?”
Marie Youkin-Waldman said most people she spoke with could be categorized in two ways: opposed to the project, or not having enough information, but interested in learning more.
At a recent town Economic Development Committee meeting, it became apparent that the committee’s opinions vary about how the council should proceed before it decides if it should grant Deepwater the easement. (See related story, A2.)
On April 16, Deepwater Wind’s Vice President Aileen Kenney sent correspondence to Grover Fugate, executive director of the state Coastal Resources Management Council, that said the company would pay a permitting fee of $598,029.92. The fee was originally set at $700,000. Using the CRMC’s equation to determine permitting fees, Kenney calculated the company owes less than originally anticipated.
In January, Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski requested CRMC to waive the $700,000 fee, citing the company’s $3 million contribution to the agency’s ocean special area management plan. A CRMC subcommittee denied that request in March saying the company could not prove paying the fee would result in economic hardship.
Reporter Derek Gomes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.