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4/14/2016 Senate passes several ‘Green Jobs’ bills
STATE HOUSE – Tonight, the Rhode Island Senate passed several bills that fall within its ‘Grow Green Jobs RI’ initiative.  All of the legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The first piece of legislation (2016-S 2174) passed is sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) and it requires the Office of Regulatory Reform to establish a task force to make recommendations for a statewide solar energy permitting program for residential and small business use.

“Currently, our residents and small businesses must navigate all of the various state and local permitting processes in order to install a solar power system on their property.  This is a time consuming and burdensome ordeal, especially for small solar developers with limited resources,” said Senator Lynch.  “If we want to be serious about promoting job growth in the clean energy sector, we have to make it much easier for our population to utilize clean energy sources such as solar power and not block their access with unnecessary regulations.”

The second piece of legislation (2016-S 2175) is sponsored by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, Johnston, North Providence) and it directs the Office of Regulatory Reform, in consultation with DEM, DLT, CRMC, and representatives from plant-based industries and agriculture, to work together to identify ways to reduce arduous regulations.

“A recent URI study concluded that a 5 percent growth in green-related industries would add $94.5 million to the state’s economy and would create 387 jobs.  This is something we need to make sure happens in our state,” said Senator Archambault.  “There is a significant opportunity for continued growth in this sector, and this legislation will not only grow our economy, but also help save our planet.”

The third piece of legislation (2016-S 2179) is sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and it increases the membership of the Resource Recovery’s Board of Commissioners from 9 to 10 members by adding the Secretary of the RI Executive Office of Commerce, who would serve as a non-voting ex officio member.

“Recycling, reuse and remanufacturing creates far more jobs than landfilling our discarded items,” said Senator Coyne.  “This bill will assist Commerce RI in identifying and supporting opportunities for economic growth of recycling industries.”

The fourth piece of legislation (2016-S 2182) is sponsored by Sen. Walter S. Felag, Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), and it directs Resource Recovery to complete two reports detailing the economic impact of recycling and the state’s compliance with the 50 percent diversion goal.

“Recycling is creating jobs across the country in states that have established ambitious recycling goals.  For example, Connecticut has a recycling rate of 30 percent, and that industry supports 4,800 jobs, accounts for $275 million in wages, and adds $700 million to the state’s economy,” said Senator Felag.  “Growing our recycling businesses will keep our communities clean, our environment healthy and create lasting in-state jobs that will strengthen the local economy.”

The fifth piece of legislation (2016-S 2266) passed is sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and it supports increased recycling by charging Resource Recovery with overseeing the collection of recyclables at all state agencies, institutions and educational facilities by no later than January 1, 2021.

“This bill promotes government efficiency, will provide state agencies with Resource Recovery’s technical expertise to further reduce waste generation, and will extend the life of our landfill by keeping valuable commodities in the state’s stream of commerce,” said Senator Goodwin.  “Like all of the legislation in the Senate’s ‘Grown Green Jobs RI’ action plan, this bill will protect our precious local environment while also generating the economic growth that our state needs.”

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903