Save The Bay’s 2020 Legislative Priorities
by Jed Thorp, advocacy coordinator
The content below will be updated as the session continues. Check back often for the latest updates. Version edited January 6, 2020.
The 2020 Legislative Session has begun at the Rhode Island State House and, as in past years, Save The Bay will be working hard to ensure the General Assembly takes steps to improve and protect Narragansett Bay. Below are our top priorities for the coming months:
Establish the OSCAR Fund
Our top legislative priority will again be to establish a permanent fund to help Rhode Island adapt to the impacts of climate change. Cities and towns throughout the state need help dealing with problems like sea level rise, coastal erosion, increased storm intensity and flooding and storm surge. Save The Bay supports the creation of the Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Fund (or “OSCAR”) which would be funded through a new five-cents-per-barrel fee on petroleum imported into the state by ship. OSCAR would provide direct grants to cities and towns to adapt infrastructure on public lands and enhance natural systems and habitats to improve resilience.
Support Environmental Bonds
We expect the Governor’s budget will again propose putting an environmental bond before the voters in the fall to funds things like clean water improvements and open space protection. Save The Bay feels strongly that bond monies should also be included for the removal of high hazard dams which could improve public safety and also improve the ecological function of the state’s rivers and streams.
Funding for Environmental Agencies
Lastly, we always take a close look at the sections of the Governor’s budget that pertain to the Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council. These agencies are instrumental in protecting Narragansett Bay, but funding for them has has generally declined in recent years. Save The Bay will advocate to ensure the DEM and CRMC have the resources they need to do their important work.
Save The Bay recognizes that the strength of our advocacy efforts are members and supporters like you. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to subscribe to VoterVoice, our Action Alert platform, to stay up-to-date on ways you can make your voice heard.
Questions? Want to learn more about Save The Bay’s legislative priorities? Contact Jed Thorp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-272-3540 x113.