At tonight’s City Council meeting Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10) along with his colleagues, Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Councilwoman Rachel Miller (Ward 13), Councilwoman Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), and Councilman David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) will call on the City Plan Commission to deny the application of Allens Providence Recycling LLC.
“As the Councilor for Ward 10 it is not my intention to stand in the way of bringing new businesses to my Ward,” stated Councilman Pedro Espinal. “That said, when the business in question could potentially have serious consequences for the environment and the well-being of my constituents, I will speak out. Our residents deserve to have clean air and clean water. I believe that any new business development along the Port should incorporate multi-use buildings and our goal as a City should be to clean-up Allens Avenue and the waterfront and make the area more hospitable for all of our residents and visitors alike.”
The proposed facility could potentially accept, process, and haul 2,500 tons of construction and commercial waste per day. This increase in industrial traffic will undoubtedly cause more pollution along Allens and Thurbers Avenues, in an area that is already considered a “frontline community” by the City of Providence’s recently published Climate Justice Plan.
The neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed industrial recycling location have the highest rate of childhood asthma in both the City and State and are ranked ninth in the nation, along with the highest rates of emergency room visits among children on Medicaid with Asthma in the City.
“I stand with Councilman Espinal in his support for the well-being of the residents of Lower South Providence and Washington Park,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “I, like my colleagues, are always looking for ways to bring new businesses to our city, but we must do so with an eye on the ramifications of what proposed businesses can have on the environment and the surrounding communities. The proposed location, being so close to the Port of Providence, causes me further concern due to my fears of the potential for further pollution of the Narragansett Bay.”
The sponsors of the resolution have serious concerns with the project’s failure to meet the City’s Comprehensive Plan’s provisions regarding environmental sustainability and their ability to avoid disproportionate environmental burdens on residents. They are also concerned with the potential health impacts posed by the proposed industrial recycling operation in an area that is already highly impacted by pollution. In addition, they have concerns about the long-term impacts that a facility like what is being proposed might have on future development in and around the Port of Providence.
Councilwoman Carmen Castillo stated, “We must work to protect the safety of our residents at all costs. It pains me to know that so many young children are suffering from asthma in this one section of our City. It is a wake-up call that we, as elected officials, need to do more to protect our residents. I ask that the CPC deny this application.”
Upon passage, a copy of the resolution will be sent to Chairwoman Christine West of the Providence City Plan Commission, Director Bonnie Nickerson of the Department of Planning and Development, and the registered principals of Allens Providence Recycling, LLC.