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Rhode Island Cogeneration Assocs. v. E. Providence, City of

ELR Citation: 20 ELR 20795
Nos. No. 89-0327P, 728 F. Supp. 828/(D.R.I., 01/04/1990)

The court holds that a city ordinance banning commercial use of coal in the city is preempted by state air pollution laws. The ordinance banned plaintiff's planned coal-fired cogeneration electrical facility. The court first holds that Rhode Island's Attorney General was entitled to intervene as a matter of right, because as chief officer of the state the Attorney General has an interest in how state laws are interpreted. The court holds that the Rhode Island Siting Act, which regulates large facilities in the state, does not give local governments authority to enact laws concerning smaller facilities, and does not exempt smaller facilities from state laws and regulations. Finally, the court holds that the state has preempted the city's authority to enact this ordinance. The local ordinance inhibits enforcement of state air pollution laws and threatens to disrupt the state's overall scheme of regulating environmental issues. The court concludes that the future of the planned facility must be determined under Rhode Island environmental laws.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
George E. Liberman, Robert A. Pitassi
Licht & Semonoff
One Park Row, Providence RI 02903
(401) 421-8030

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor
William J. Conley Jr., City Solicitor
Town of East Providence, 145 Taunton Ave., East Providence RI 02914
(401) 431-3311

Michael Rubin, Ass't Attorney General
Westminster Sq. Bldg., 10th Fl., 10 Dorrance St., Providence RI 02903
(401) 528-5477

Counsel for Defendants
James Purcell, Steven Snow
Partridge, Snow & Hahn
One Old Stone Sq., Providence RI 02903