Last week, the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) hosted a forum for candidates running RI Governor to discuss their plans for the environment if elected. The forum covered several of Rhode Island’s most pressing environmental issues, including environmental justice and implementation of the Act On Climate. But one question stood out.
Moderator Ed Fitzpatrick of the Boston Globe asked: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, should Rhode Island set an end date for the last sales of new gasoline-powered automobiles like some other states?
A note from Larry Chretien, Executive Director: This blog was written by Kai Salem and Mal Skowron as a wrap up of the super strong 2022 legislative session of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Kai is moving on from Green Energy Consumers to attend law school at Columbia University. There’s a huge need for energy lawyers who put people and the planet first. In her four years here, Kai made her mark as an energy advocate working in the public interest. We wish her the best and are thankful for what she accomplished.
Starting today, July 7, Rhode Islanders who want to purchase or lease an electric vehicle (EV) are eligible to receive a rebate from the newly re-instated DRIVE EV program. This is big news for drivers who are tired of paying $5 per gallon of gasoline and are ready to buy a car that’s much better for the climate.
Rhode Island makes history! Late Tuesday afternoon, the RI House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing a bill to update the Renewable Energy Standard to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to reach that total level of commitment towards wind, solar, and other qualifying power sources. This was Green Energy Consumers’ top priority this legislative session, and its passage builds on advocacy we have done for years to establish and increase the Renewable Energy Standard.
UPDATE on June 8th: S2274 (100% Renewable) passed the Senate; all eyes are now on the House bill, H7277. The bill was amended to reach 100% by 2033, which would still make RI the first state to reach 100% renewable electricity. We need your help NOW to make sure this bill becomes law.
Contact your State Representative by Tuesday to ask them to vote yes on H7277.
S2583 (offshore wind procurement) also passed the Senate! Encourage your State Rep to support H7971 when you make your call. Thank you to the leaders who have worked to pass these bills.
Originally published May 5th, 2022
Rhode Island is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. A month ago, the state released worrying emissions data that shows the state’s GHG emissions in 2018 were up 15% from 2016, including increases in all sectors, with one of the biggest jumps in emissions coming from our electricity sector. This new data puts into question whether the state will be able to meet its 2020 climate goal, set in the 2014 Resilient RI Act. And it underscores the challenge before Rhode Island in meeting the 2021 Act on Climate mandate of 45% emissions reductions from the 1990 baseline in 2030.
This summer, the RI Office of Energy Resources is planning on launching DRIVE EV, an incentive program to help drivers access electric vehicles (EVs). This program is desperately needed, as Rhode Island has the lowest EV adoption rate in all of New England (and much of the US). Here’s what you need to know.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge Brian Stern put a pause on PPL's purchase of Rhode Island's electric and gas utility from National Grid. This pause is temporary and will allow for the judge to hear the Attorney General's case on why the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers misunderstood the laws that govern this transaction. Specifically, the judge said that since the Division failed to take into account either potential ratepayer or climate change impacts of the sale, the Attorney General is likely to succeed in its appeal. Additionally, the judge determined that if he let the sale close prior to the appeal being done, there would be no reasonable way to undo the transaction, so it must be paused until he can finish a full review of the case.
Some politicians in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are calling on their state governments to reduce or eliminate the gas tax in response to rising prices since Russia invaded Ukraine a couple weeks ago. That’s an awful idea and political pandering at its worst.
Last week, Rhode Island legislators Sen. Alana DiMario and Rep. Terri Cortvriend introduced bills setting a target of 100% of new cars registered being electric vehicles by 2030. The legislation (H. 7653 and S. 2448) creates a process to plan for the infrastructure and other changes involving cars, trucks, and public transportation in order to meet the 2030 target, which is critical for the state to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Act on Climate. Following Rhode Island’s withdrawal from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the bill represents a new approach to tackling pollution from transportation, the region’s largest source of emissions.