Conley introduces bill to curb greenhouse gas emissions in phases

Conley introduces bill to curb greenhouse gas emissions in phases

PROVIDENCE - State Sen. William "Billy" Conley Jr., of District 18 in East Providence and Pawtucket, submitted a bill last week that he says draws attention to the future of climate change in Rhode Island and sets the state on a path toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The legislation repeals the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission and creates a climate change council in its place, which would fall under the purview of the executive branch of government. Codifying Gov. Lincoln Chafee's executive order establishing the interagency Rhode Island Climate Change Council, this panel would be charged with coordinating efforts to ensure each of the state's department directors take climate change into consideration during decision-making processes.

"We have been putting this off for decades, and it's time to quit dragging our feet," said Conley. "Best practices will stimulate the Rhode Island economy, and this legislation does not create an expense for the taxpayers. I can assure you that the price will be large, however, if our state is not proactive."

According to Conley, "The bill simply provides an avenue for us to effectively work toward the same goal (of) preparing for the effects of climate change." He said Rhode Islanders can't wait for the "destructive impact" of climate change before "safeguards and feasible emissions reduction plans" are put in place.

Conley's bill calls for a diverse 18-member advisory board, which would encourage the council to utilize the expertise of Rhode Island universities and colleges in measuring compliance, mapping of emissions and development interventions.