In December, FANG along with allies across the continent delivered letters to Morgan Stanley, one of the top financiers of Invenergy's fracked-gas power plant division. Invenergy is the company that has proposed a massive fossil fuel power plant in Burrillville and several other similarly controversial projects in Pennsylvania.
News coverage of the letter delivery in Providence, in RI can be found here. Full text of the letter is below:
The FANG Collective
545 Pawtucket Ave, Unit 113
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Thursday December 15, 2016
Audrey Choi, CEO: Morgan Stanley's Institute for Sustainable Investing
New York, NY 10036
Dear Ms. Choi,
The FANG Collective is writing in regards to Morgan Stanley’s investment of over $540 million in Invenergy Thermal Operating LLC. Invenergy plans to construct a new fracked-gas and diesel fuel power plant in Burrillville, Rhode Island. Investment in this project, known as the Clear River Energy Center (CREC), violates Morgan Stanley’s Environmental Policy Statement on multiple fronts, wholly fails to align with the principles set forth by the Institute for Sustainable Investing, and carries significant and growing financial risk.
We ask that Morgan Stanley fully divest from Invenergy’s construction of the Clear River Energy Center, a project that is both unethical and unsustainable; and to withdraw your line of credit for Invenergy’s thermal operations as a whole.
We commend Morgan Stanley’s firm resolution not to support projects that will degrade critical habitats, and we caution that an investment in the CREC breaches this resolution. This power plant will be constructed directly on the border of the George Washington Wildlife Management Area, land protected by the state of Rhode Island. According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the power plant is likely to negatively affect the conditions that maintain this protected area—the impacts of clearing forest patches for development can extend well beyond 300 feet from a clearance’s edge.
In addition to imposing ecologically-harmful “edge effects” onto state-protected land, the large forest clearing required for the CREC will connect with pre-existing forest clearings to its north, east, and west. Thus, Invenergy’s facility promises to severely fragment a tract of forest that has long served as a vital passageway for wildlife, including the state-threatened Black-Throated Blue Warbler. We urge you to uphold the conservation principles defined in Morgan Stanley’s Environmental Policy Statement, and stop condoning the radiative degradation this plant will bring to surrounding critical habitats.
We also urge you to consider the impacts of your investment the rights of indigenous people. While Invenergy has completed archaeological surveys in compliance with federal legislation, the company have not initiated any form of consultation with local tribes regarding the significance of the investigated sites or other sites of relevance. Nor has Invenergy received any form of permission by the tribes to encroach on their traditional territory. This is in direct conflict with Morgan Stanley’s procedure for respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
Morgan Stanley has gone without violation of this crucial human rights principle for several years. Maintaining this investment, however, makes Morgan Stanley newly complicit in exactly the type of oversight you have strived to condemn.
If such ethical violations aren’t enough, it has recently been made clear that the financial prospects of Invenergy’s thermal projects are unstable. As you know, Moody’s downgraded Invenergy’s credit facilities for their thermal operations in October and revised the outlook to negative, citing the company’s financial underperformance in the past year.
It is no coincidence that Invenergy’s process of obtaining permits to build the CREC has continuously faltered from the very start. Their application and documents have been criticized for consistently lacking crucial information, making it impossible for government agencies and community organizations to compile exhaustive advisory opinions about the project. Currently, Invenergy’s application is officially suspended for exactly this reason. We hope you will investigate further into this issue, as we believe these patterns may demonstrate an alarming disinterest in transparency on Invenergy’s part—or, potentially, a deeper lack of competence.
Burrillville’s resistance to Invenergy’s proposed power plant has held strong for over a year and shows no signs of waning. They have been instrumental in exposing Invenergy’s oversights throughout the permitting process, and, as evidenced by the application’s recent suspension by Rhode Island’s Energy Facility Siting Board, it’s working. The FANG Collective will continue to support them, and will take all nonviolent measures necessary to resist the CREC. If you decide to maintain your investment in this project, we will also work to expose Morgan Stanley’s condonement of Invenergy’s transgressions and the harm they will cause.
In addition to CREC, Invenergy is currently proposing fracked-gas power plant projects in Jessup, PA and in Elizabeth Township, PA. Both projects are facing strong community resistance and fail to meet Morgan Stanley’s principles on ecology and indigenous rights. We urge you to further investigate and take a critical look at these projects as well.
Recently, Morgan Stanley seems to have maintained an attention to sustainability and equity unique among investors. Preserve this reputation, protect your financial stability, and protect the communities threatened by Invenergy’s fracked-gas projects - divest from and cut your line of credit to Invenergy’s thermal operations now.
With militant love,
The FANG Collective