They're Back: Lawmakers Introduce Enviro Bills

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — The long-awaited Green Bank program topped the list of environmental bills introduced at the Statehouse last week.

Bill (H7070) establishes a renewable-energy loan fund within the state Infrastructure Bank. Loans of $2,500 to $40,000 will be available to homeowners for solar projects and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, appliances and windows. Voters will be asked to support the program through a $60 million bond referendum. Rep. David Bennett, D-Warwick, sponsored the bill. It was referred to the House Finance Committee and awaits a hearing.

GMOs. The perennial bill (H7082) from Rep. Raymond Hull, D-Providence, requires labeling of food, drugs, alcohol and agricultural products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. It was referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. No hearing date has been set.

Interconnection. Bill (H7006) from Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence, limits the fees that electric utilities can charge renewable-energy projects for connecting to the power grid. The bill was referred to the House Corporation Committee. No hearing date has been scheduled.

RhodeMap RI. Bill (H7107) sponsored by Rep. Justin Price, R-Exeter, prohibits the State Guide Plan from requirements that exceed local housing, zoning and affordable-housing statutes. The bill was referred to the House Finance Committee. No hearing has been scheduled.

Waste management. Bill (H7084) authorizes the state Department of Environmental Management to issue temporary licenses to trash collection and recycling centers. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Michael Morin, D-Woonsocket. It was referred to the House Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. No hearing date has been set.

Camper fee. Bill (H7098) imposes a $50 fee on camping and recreational vehicle registrations. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Karen MacBeth, D-Cumberland, and was sent to the House Finance Committee. There is no hearing date scheduled.

Fee exemptions. Bill (H7099) prohibits the Narragansett Bay Commission and the Department of Environmental Management from charging fees to recycling businesses that don’t discharge wastewater into public waterways or sewage systems. The bill is sponsored by MacBeth. It was referred to the House Finance Committee. There is no hearing date scheduled.