Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lobby Day at the State House, April 21st

The Environment Council of RI will be hosting their annual Earth Day Lobby Day event at the State House on April 21, 2:30-4:30. Save The Bay will have a table and will be participating in a discussion panel on the Water Conservation and Competitiveness Act. The top three legislative priorities chosen by ECRI are the water conservation bill (h5828), the polluter fines bill (h5061, s50), and the diesel emissions reduction act (h5910, s491, s484).

Schedule of events:
2:30 - Lobby training by Ocean State Action
2:45 - Water legislation discussion panel
3:15 - Speaking program
3:30 - Lobby!

As a member of the Coalition for Water Security, Save The Bay has been actively involved in develpment of the water conservation bill. We have also lobbied for passage of the polluter fines bill, which would raise the maximum fines for polluters to $25,000 per day. This legislation has passed the Senate and rests with the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. We came very close on both these bills last year, and hope to have success in this session.

This year at the State House, Save The Bay has provided testimony on several bills that are important to the future health of Narragansett Bay and our watershed. Both the House and Senate have now heard testimony on the Energy Independence and Climate Solutions Act (h5706, s488). Many groups testified in favor of this bill, including student groups, the religious community, and small business owners. Our testimony focused on the threats to Narragansett Bay and the adaptations we all must plan for in the future.

I also testified on the Grow Renewable Energy Now Act (h5462, s703), a bill to establish a solar energy program for Rhode Island by increasing the renewable energy charge on electricity service and adding to the Renewable Energy Fund. The average electricity customer would see an increase of 15 cents a month, but the program would generate 2.5 million dollars to give out to residents, business owners and groups like Save The Bay to install solar power. I have also testified on the various green building standard bills that are in the works, but it seems like the bill to watch is for establishing an state energy efficiency building code, which would position RI to take advantage of federal funding.

Please join us at the State House on April 21st to learn more and help advocate for strong environmental legislation!

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