Editorial: Save the Bay has it right

Posted 4/28/19

With the annual focus on the environment created by Earth Day still fresh on the mind, although as many have noted Earth Day should be every day, Save the Bay recently produced the following opinions …

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Editorial: Save the Bay has it right

Posted

With the annual focus on the environment created by Earth Day still fresh on the mind, although as many have noted Earth Day should be every day, Save the Bay recently produced the following opinions on a series of bills up for consideration in the current General Assembly session. They are views to be agreed with wholeheartedly.

Support the “Plastic Waste Reduction Act (S. 410 / H. 5671).” The Plastic Waste Reduction Act has two goals: 1) to reduce plastic pollution in our local environment, and 2) to encourage use of reusable and recyclable bags by both consumers and retail establishments. The bill will ban single-use plastic bags (see related story on page 2) in all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island. Having a statewide ban with penalties for violations would be a significant achievement.

Support only the underlying amendments to the "Solar Siting Bill (H. 5789)." It is important as Rhode Island works to incentivize renewable energy development, we must avoid areas of environmental concern and encourage solar development in already disturbed areas, such as brownfields, landfills, gravel pits, and parking lots. Areas of concern include core forest, forested tracts of 250 acres or more, natural heritage areas and habitats with high ecological value and high vulnerability. Forests remove carbon from the atmosphere, absorb water, reduce runoff, recharge groundwater, prevent erosion, and filter pollutants before they enter reservoirs, lakes, and rivers and streams that flow to the Bay. The health of Narragansett Bay is heavily influenced by the health of its watershed, and the Bay will suffer if valuable forested lands are destroyed.

Support the "Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Fund (S. 412 / H. 5628)." The Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Fund (OSCAR) will create a new source of funding to help cities, towns and state agencies complete much-needed climate adaptation projects on public lands, including: removal and replacement of low-lying infrastructure and roads that are subject to flooding and erosion, regrading and replanting of eroding banks and restoration of salt marshes and floodplains along rivers and streams.

OSCAR would be funded by a 5-cents-per-barrel fee on petroleum products imported by ship into Rhode Island. Climate change is caused, in part, by the burning of fossil fuels. This fee, if passed onto consumers, would equal one additional cent on a ten-gallon gasoline fill-up, and would generate roughly $1.9 million each year for these important projects.

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