Rhode Island governor signs climate change bill - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 12, 2021

Rhode Island governor signs climate change bill

Rhode Island governor Daniel McKee signed a bill into law on April 10 that requires the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“With four hundred miles of coastline, urban and rural coastal communities, fishing and agricultural industries, the Ocean State is on the front lines of the climate crisis,” Governor McKee said, said in a report from AP News after the bill signing ceremony in Newport. “The Act on Climate represents a commitment that not only addresses a moral imperative, but also presents a platform to enhance our economy, public health, environmental equity, and natural environment.”

The act positions the state, already home to the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, to help drive down the costs of environmentally sound technology, said Democratic state Sen. Dawn Euer, the bill’s Senate sponsor.

The bill addresses environmental injustices, public health inequities, and a fair employment transition as fossil-fuel jobs are replaced by green energy jobs, according to the governor’s office.

The legislation also requires the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council to draft plans to hit the bill’s goals and requires that it be updated every five years. The council was created in 2014 to advise the governor on what state agencies can do to address climate change. It’s made up of heads of state agencies, including the departments of environmental management, transportation and health, and the energy resources office.

Opponents of the bill said it gives the council too much power and could prove costly to homeowners and businesses.

“Signing the Climate Act into law will empower unaccountable bureaucrats to impose significant costs on our small businesses, municipalities and especially, those Rhode Islanders who least can least afford to pay more for transportation, housing, and utilities,” Republican Minority Leader Blake Filippi said in a statement Friday. “We could have and should have done better for the people of the Ocean State.”

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