Environment Council of Rhode Island

...building an ecologically healthy future in a sustainable economy

Watch List - 2012

This list is for public information only. ECRI may or may not have an official stance on these bills.
People interested in tracking legislation during the session are encouraged to sign up for an account in the General Assembly's Bill Tracker system.

Bill Title House Bill # & Sponsor Senate Bill & Sponsor ECRI's Position House Committee Senate Committee House Bill Status Senate Bill Status
Conservation and Preservation Restrictions on Real Property

Protecting Conservation Easements. S2224 (Sosnowski) & H 7171 (Walsh) Jud. Protects land trusts and other non-profit organizations that hold conservation easements from third party lawsuits to enforce the conservation easement.  In essence, this bill clearly states who has standing to file a lawsuit regarding a conservation easement.  This bill is trying to address a problem that is popping up in other states where neighbors that are having a dispute are using conservation easements as a weapon in those disputes.  The result is that the organization that holds the easement ends up with expensive legal fees defending their easement and their position enforcing the easement.

An Act Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers Public Transit Investment

Sponsors: O'Grady, Tanzi, Handy, Blazejewski, Valencia  H7581

Would Restore RIPTA to the dedicated trust fund created in the 2011 budget to provide for investments in transit services while simultaneously moving the timeline forward and creating additional revenue by transferring all existing registration fees into the fund.

Act Relating to Parks & Recreation Areas

Oppose H7195 (Winfield) S2088 (Tassoni) ENR, EnvAg. a bill that would require DEM to maintain trails for four wheel drive vehicle and ATV use. Held for further study in House.

Oppose
Local Farm, Open Space, and Recreation Bond

Local Farm, Open Space, and Recreation Bond

RI Budget Article 5, Question #4

This bond referendum is proposed by Governor Chafee's budget and would provide funding for $25 million for farm land conservation, local grants for open space acquisition for habitat and recreation, local grants to develop outdoor recreation facilities, fish passages, stormwater management and habitat restoration. For more information, see the Local Farm, Open Space and Recreation Bond Fact Sheet (pdf file, 32kb).
 
[NOTE: Is there a bill #? - sk]

Support
Outdoor Wood-Fired Hydronic Boilers

1. Ban outdoor wood boilers S2082 (Walaska)  AgEnv

An Act Relating to Health and Safety: Product Stewardship for Discarded Products

Senate Sponsors: Ruggerio, McCaffrey, Felag, Walaska, and Miller   S2398

House Sponsors: Walsh, Ruggiero, Tanzi, Handy, and Naughton   H7443

These bills would establish a framework for manufacturers to be responsible for collecting and recycling their products, providing an incentive to design products that are less toxic, more durable, and easier to recycle. Program to be pre-populated with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.

Relating to Health and Safety -- Air Pollution

Wood stove w/o EPA approval phase out S2085 (Jabour) H7371 (Handy) AgEnv, ENR

An Act Relating to Health and Safety Energy

House Sponsors: Brien, Phillips, and Baldelli-Hunt   H7049

This bill would overturn the State's ban on incineration of waste and facilitate the creation of a waste-to-energy facility located in the city of Woonsocket.

Oppose
Toxics out of Toys

Toxics out of toys S2396 (Ruggerio) would ban use of cadmium, lead, and mercury in children’s products.

An Act Relating to Towns and Cities

House Sponsors: Gallison, San Bento, Malik, Brien, and Dickinson   H7866

Senate Sponsors: McCaffrey, and Lynch   S2616

This bill was drafted by the RI Builders Association and would limit municipalities' ability to protect wetlands and steep slopes through the planning, zoning and subdivision process. This legislation will increase development density in rural areas that have wetlands and/or steep slopes and zoning requirements for lots larger than 1 acre.

Oppose
CFL Producer Responsibility

xxxx

Act Relating to Parks & Recreation Areas — Public Use of Private Lands Liability Limitations

Senate Sponsor: McCaffrey   S2491

This legislation would eliminate the liability protection for public recreation use of lands owned by municipalities and the state. It would increase municipal and state costs for liability insurance and for accident claims. As a result, it would discourage municipal efforts to develop parks and otherwise encourage public recreation use on land they own. It would also discourage partnerships between non-profit organizations and municipalities and the state to develop trails and promote recreational use of other protected areas.

Oppose
Petroleum Advisory Commission

A vote to establish an advisory commission that would recommend policies to reduce the use of petroleum in Rhode Island through the use of alternative fuel sources and effi-ciency programs.

Support Signed
Clean Water Bond

Clean Water Bond
RI Budget Article 5, Question #3
This bond referendum is proposed by Governor Chafee's budget and would provide funding for $20 million for wastewater treatment plant improvements, sewer line extensions, sewer-tie ins, residential septic system upgrades. For more information, see the Clean Water Bond Fact Sheet (pdf file, 60kb).

Support
Conservation and Preservation Restrictions on Real Property

Protecting Conservation Easements. S2224 (Sosnowski) & H 7171 (Walsh) Jud. Protects land trusts and other non-profit organizations that hold conservation easements from third party lawsuits to enforce the conservation easement.  In essence, this bill clearly states who has standing to file a lawsuit regarding a conservation easement.  This bill is trying to address a problem that is popping up in other states where neighbors that are having a dispute are using conservation easements as a weapon in those disputes.  The result is that the organization that holds the easement ends up with expensive legal fees defending their easement and their position enforcing the easement.

OSPAR Fund

Continued OSPAR funding for state environemental agencies. OSPAR: (Oil Spill Prevention Administration and Response) Fund. This is RI’s most important sources of habitat restoration funding. 

Support
Dam Safety Inspectiion

Dam safety and inspection legislation H7285 (Ferri) ENR. Unneeded dams pose a potential threat to public safety and their removal can also restore habitat.  This bill is aimed at insuring that owners and the state are aware of the condition of their dams and the option of removal.  The bill requires three things: 1) regular inspections by owners of high and significant hazard dams starting in 2014, 2) inspection reports which include the option of removal in the case of unsafe dams, and 3) recording of any outstanding orders or notice from DEM regarding unsafe dams in local land records of the city or town in which 

Support
Public Drinking Water Supply

Allows Warwick to ignore safe drinking water standards. S2278
(would permit the City of Warwick to comply with the publication requirement of the Safe Drinking Water Act by posting the report on the city website and making printed copies available at specified city facilities.)

Oppose
School Siting Bill

School Siting Bill S2277 (Pichardo) H7412 (Slater) EnvAg. Prohibits the construction of schools on contaminated sites where there is ongoing potential for vapor intrusion.  Requires a written report, public meeting, and comment period for schools proposed for any other contaminated site.
 
S2277 link is really to S2277A - sk

Support
An Act Creating a Special House Commission to Study Producer Responsibility Models for Paper and Packaging

Study Commission to Examine Producer Responsibility for Packaging Materials H7027 (Walsh) ENR. Placed back in committee.    
 
(would create a study commission whose purpose it would be to study producer responsibility models for paper and packaging, and who would report back to the House no later than 1/17/13.)
 
The bill link is to Sub A

Support
Rechargeable Battery Collection and Recycling

Recyclable batteries program S2187 (Ruggerio) AgEnv
Bill link is to Sub A

Support
Management and Disposal of Regulated Medical Waste

Require hospitals & pharmacies to provide containers for public disposal of sharps H7366 (Corvese) ENR

Support
Petroleum Advisory Commission

Petroleum Advisory Commission S2186 (DiPalma) H7261 (Ruggiero) SpecLeg, ENR. Creates a commission to devise an action plan for the state to meet a 50% reduction in petroleum use by 2050.S2186 RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- THE RHODE ISLAND PETROLEUM SAVINGS AND INDEPENDENCE ADVISORY COMMISSION House bill is sub B

2186
Louis P. DiPalma