Act on Climate passes RI House of Representatives

If signed into law, the bill would require the state to formulate a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A bill called the Act on Climate passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives Tuesday, moving one step closer to becoming law.  Representative Lauren Carson sponsored the bill.

Carson says, “What it does is it builds on the “Resilient Rhody” bill, which we passed in 2014.  It builds on that bill and creates enforceable mandates for reducing carbon in the state of Rhode Island.”

The bill would require the state to formalize a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  According to Rep. Carson, the bill itself does not contain any specific requirements for businesses, property owners, or drivers.  However, she says market forces are already driving changes that will help the state reach its goals.

Carson says, “Gas cars are being phased out by both Ford and GM.  By the year 2035, they’re not going to make them anymore.  So, I use that as an example because there’s evolutionary changes taking place in the economy that are going to really promote this kind of a plan and net zero carbon.”

The public would be able to track the state’s progress through an online dashboard, and hold the state responsible via lawsuit if the plan isn’t moving ahead like it should.

Carson says, “There’s no settlement for anyone that does the suing.  The purpose of a suit would be to get the plan, and get the plan moving.”

Among those who voted against the bill, House Minority Leader Rep. Blake Filippi provided this written statement:

“The debate last night exposed what this really is — a massive, unbridled delegation of power over many facets of our life, businesses and municipalities to a group of unelected bureaucrats. During the debate, RI House GOP offered numerous protection amendments to ensure that the rhetoric from the bill sponsors — stating that this is an ‘aspirational plan,’ was formalized within the legislation. ALL of our amendments providing protections for residents, businesses and municipalities were shot down. We respectfully ask Governor McKee to veto this vague and onerous legislation.”

The bill passed in the House by a vote of 53 to 22.

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Categories: News, Rhode Island