Lawmakers, Take Note: Environment Council of Rhode Island Releases Green Report Card
The latest Green Report Card highlights an unfocused RI General Assembly with a "B-"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tricia Jedele, President, Environment Council of Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island -- The Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) released its biennial Green Report Card today. The report highlights critical environmental issues that were considered by the General Assembly during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions. State lawmakers were graded on 14 pieces of legislation that covered a broad host of affairs, ranging from matters on clean water, to state energy policies.
“The bills that are highlighted in this report card are priorities on which many ECRI members worked hard to ensure passage or defeat. These pieces of legislation have a lot to do with determining the health of Rhode Island’s communities for future generations,” said Tricia Jedele, President of ECRI.
While tremendous progress in renewable energy and conservation policy was cited in the report card, there were many missed opportunities, especially on the public transit front. The Transit Investment and Debt Reduction Act of 2012 was a high priority for ECRI members, as it would have enabled a sustainable funding mechanism For the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). Despite broad support from the environmental, business, and labor communities, it was not brought to a vote. Because of this, like many other ECRI member priorities, it could not be included for an overall grade of the General Assembly, except in the case of its sponsors.
With Rhode Island’s many fiscal challenges being a factor to the hindrance of key environmental issues, the report also lays out the roles that a healthy environment plays in a strong economy. Additionally, ECRI outlines its strong opposition to the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council’s (RIPEC) proposal to place the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) under a Commerce Secretariat.
“Environmental protection is the lynchpin to any robust and sustainable economy,” Jedele wrote in a letter to Governor Chafee earlier this month.
The Green Report Card also includes an article summarizing the Governor’s first 22 months with respect to Rhode Island’s environment.
“The environmental community stands by the statements in this report, the priorities that are highlighted, as well as the system that was used to measure legislator performance," Jedele said. "Lawmakers, take note.”
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The Environment Council of Rhode Island is a coalition of more than 60 organizations and individuals whose mission is to serve as an effective voice for developing and advocating policies and laws that protect and enhance the environment.