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What Happened With the East Bay Energy Consortium and What Comes Next

Although the EBEC bill did not pass the House last week, is leaders be would like to see it reintroduced this winter.

In 2009, the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) was founded in order to explore the feasibility of combining resources across the nine East Bay municipal lines in order to invest in assets and technologies for renewable energy sources. A bill to establish the group as a non-profit governmental entity recently passed the Senate, but was held last week before it got to the House.

The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee determined it should be "held for further study," which essentially killed the bill.

“It was a bit of a disappointment that it didn’t come out of the committee to be heard on the floor,” said Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, Chair of the EBEC Board. Napolitano also serves as a City Councilor in Newport.

The Board will meet within a month to determine next steps and Napolitano said she would like to see the board decide to reintroduce the bill.  She said although there were originally valid concerns, several revisions addressed the major issues.

“We all had concerns,” said State Senator Louis DiPalma, who introduced the bill in the Senate. He said if the EBEC approved, he would also like to reintroduce the bill.

DiPalma said the majority of the concerns arose after the recent news that .  The Consortium was first proposed as a subsidiary of the EDC, which raised concerns that if they defaulted on their loans, Rhode Island taxpayers would be held liable once again.  

DiPalma said the language was changed so that the Consortium would be a stand-alone entity and would be responsible for its own debts.  

The new language was modeled almost word for word after the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust (“The Trust”), which is an intergovernmental insurance risk-sharing pool.

“Think of it as a blueprint,” said the Senator.  “It is a two page bill,” he said. 

Napolitano said since the concerns had been addressed, it was important to educate Representatives, so they would understand Rhode Island taxpayers were no longer liable.  She said only a handful of legislators attended an informative breakfast that was held to explain the changes.

Another educational opportunity was lost when they were not allowed to testify at the last hearing; a decision that she attributed to a “mystery letter” from Governor Lincoln Chafee that a board member found on the packets prepared for the legislators.

The Governors letter read, “There is language in the legislation that I cannot support, including creating EBEC as a subsidiary of the Economic Development Corporation and the potential financial exposure the State would be Subject to regarding the bond financing of this project.”

DiPalma said the letter was probably a “contributing factor” in the decision to remove the EBEC’s testimony that day.

“It was very obvious he had not seen the new legislation,” said Napolitano.  “It’s very unusual to come in and try to kill something like that.” She said after waiting two and a half hours, they were taken right off the agenda.

Four days later, the Office of the Governor’s Office wrote Napolitano an email that he supported the bill now that it was modeled after the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust.

“I always felt that he was a Governor who believed in renewable energy,” she said. 

DiPalma said one rumor he had heard was that resident's electricity bills would become more expensive. He clarified that and other rumors were not accurate, because the bill did go into detail of the types of technologies or particular by-laws.  It established the group as a legal governmental entity, similar to how a new business would incorporate, he explained.

The intent of the group is to not only invest in renewable energy, but also save cities and towns money, said DiPalma. 

"My goal is to interact with the group and bring it back in January, in some way, shape or form," he said.

Bobby Oliveira June 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Jack, Do you enjoy showing off how little you know about politics? 1. Only sad little cranks, who are anatomically deficient in certain areas, file complaints anonymously. Why? Because politics works on fear and intimidation. Take away the name, take away the credit. Take away the credit, take away the fear. This is Poli Sci 101. I know, you were too arrogant to take poli sci courses, never mind learn life lessons. One of the life lessons you obviously missed out on is whenever a public body receives a Open Records Act request is the lawyer for said body makes a courtesy call to the AG. It's good politics dontcha know. Again, nobody has heard of you. 2. In my world, there are 4, count em 4, EBEC's in play. I stopped paying attention to yours months ago because word was out at the StateHouse that the bill was dead due to an internal matter. That's right, the bill was dead before you did just about anything. I guess that's the difference between being friends with the 65 and friends with the 10. All this noise based on that is rather silly. Once I found out which one you meant, your world being 1/4 the size of mine, I made a few calls - because I have friends. Important resource: friends. You should check it out sometime.
Bobby Oliveira June 18, 2012 at 11:59 AM
3. You obviously don't understand "team" politics. All issues are the same politically. You are on my team or you are not on my team. This is why independent thinkers never succeed: they make lousy teammates. Trying to say that the level of issue somehow differentiates things in the real world of actual politics is as stupid. yes, the boys in Tamany Hall restricted themselves to NYC issues. Too funny. 4. The decision was made before the grassroots ever showed up. None of your emails, your writings, no Council meetings had anything to do with the call to held the bill for further study. I will tell some folks that you tried to take credit and they will laugh, out loud even. Simply put, nobody ever fears the independent thinker, since they're useless at election time. Since I play a team game and am a coordinator for a few candidates, my ego is just fine. It's the looney tune outsider, the minority has the rights we give it and silly exclamation points won't increase them, who has an ego problem. learn how to serve and you might learn how to win.
Jack Baillargeron June 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Last time, Never tried to take credit for anything, just touted a local movement by many people, whether you want to admit it or not, had a lot to do with it. Known or unknown does not matter to me. You are the only one who thinks that. Trying to demean those people only again shows the fear of your ilk and politicians. The people have awakened to the scams by you and your brethren. You seem to have some sexual hang up, mentioning sexual innuendo’s all the time, to try and insult someone. Doesn’t work on me, quite happy with 34 years of marriage and great children. But then that’s why you have published relationship troubles I suspect, but I digress. Last vestige of someone who has lost is to attempt to degrade or demean others; you have many records of doing that in your life. No President and most elected officials do not get elected with out an independents nation wide that is a fact. This state is unique for its DEM control of over 75 years however. Changes take time, just longer here. Guess what? The popular vote Bill failed also. What the super control not working up State? Have no clue why you think lying about the Bill makes it true, it does not. Your days are numbered like all self-serving egotists. You not know much about local records. For one who lost every election they ran for, you have no credibility to speak on it lol. Karma does happen and you will find it devastating to yourself I am sure. Thanks for playing lol. oh No hotdogs.
Bobby Oliveira June 18, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Dear Jack, ohhh nice backpeddle. First it was you, then it was the grassroots, now it's kinda them but not them. Clear message there. Based on your personality combined with your independent thinker status, I would DNA test the kids. The only person lying about the bill is you. The folks at the statehouse who actually made the decision are clear,. I may have lost as a candidate, but as a manager, organizer, fundraiser, I've got a lifetime 72% winning percentage,. That's a 72 son, including 1 President and the longest two serving Mayors in Fall River. Again, talk to me after someone you even vote for wins. As long as my side is up against your brand of arrogance, we need never worry about karma. I guess you didn't hear the great announcement from the GOP Chair today. (Can you even name the GOP chair??) Anyway, karma ain't working against us.
Jack Baillargeron June 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
"First it was you". If you are going to accuse someone of something it is intelligence to at least paste it. You cannot however as it was never said. It has become obvious you are just trying to get to me (probably by one of your handlers), which will never work. Toot your horn all you want, in the end no-one really cares it toots flat. You are what’s wrong in this country in politics. You believe in one party rule and mob rule shamefully. Your DNA statement about my children is a gutless attempt at goading and typical of cowards in my opinion. If you cannot say something on here that you would not say in person then you are a coward. What’s with the son? Think you’re capable of being a father lol? Don't have kids do you. At least your genetic line will end with you, a plus for the world lol. Well free speech and free will are a right, there are consequences. Keeping the same corruption in office is nothing to be proud of, it only shows how un-American you are in trying to destroy what this country was founded on. Don’t care what a GOP, DEM or Independent says, I think for myself unlike you. Go harass and get infatuated with someone else, I am not interested people I consider scam artists like you, other than to see them in a perp walk eventually. In this State that it is Common practice. No more replies to you other than, get a drink, you need one.

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