Governor Gina Raimondo’s budget proposal includes some new initiatives for the environment, including a larger role for the state’s Clean Water Finance Agency. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to discuss the environmental impact of the budget.
The Pawcatuck River will have one less dam along its river in the near future. The Nature Conservancy has filed a wetlands permit application in Rhode Island to remove the White Rock Dam beginning this summer.
Rhode Island is losing salt marshes at an alarming rate. Scientists and coastal planners say this is one of the most pressing climate change impacts already facing the Ocean State. Salt marshes are critical fish and wildlife habitats that support the state's fishing and tourism industries.
This harsh winter has been hard on all of us, and it's also taken a toll on our wildlife, especially waterfowl and songbirds. February is on record for the most number of injured birds a wildlife clinic in North Kingstown has taken during a winter season.
Kristin Fletcher, executive director of Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, said frozen waters have made it difficult for waterfowl to fish. The nonprofit’s clinic is taking care of emaciated and dehydrated birds, including many Canada geese. Fletcher said winter is usually the clinic's quiet season.
The fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has exempted some Gulf of Maine fishermen from emergency fishing restrictions it issued last November. A fisheries analyst said the latest compromise still meets the goal to protect the region’s cod, but not everyone agrees.
NOAA Fisheries issued fishing trip limits last November that would reduce the Gulf of Maine cod catch by 20 metric tons. Fisheries policy analyst William Whitmore said fishermen came back with an alternate proposal.
The state is suing a scrap metal yard on the Providence waterfront, at the upper Narragansett Bay, for alleged environmental violations. This is not the first time the company has come under fire.
Back in 2012, the Department of Environmental Management, notified Rhode Island Recycled Metals, it was violating numerous rules on water pollution. The state worked with the company on a plan to solve the issues. But more than 2 years later, the DEM says the company still hasn’t cleaned up. DEM director Janet Coit says she’s taking them to court.
Lawmakers have put the breaks on legislation that could put trash incineration on the table at the Central Landfill. A committee voted to hold the bill for further study. The bill would remove language in a law that bans the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation from including incineration in its statewide trash management plan. It would also remove any references to the high costs of incineration. This is the latest attempt to remove a ban on trash incineration.
Deepwater Wind has secured more than 290 million dollars to build and operate a wind farm off the coast of Block Island. The company plans to begin installing turbines this summer. Deepwater is, so far, the only offshore wind company in the country to get full financing for an offshore wind farm.
Two banks have financed Deepwater Wind’s offshore wind farm: a bank in France and Ohio-based KeyBank.
The federal government is investing millions of dollars to harness energy from ocean waves and tides as energy demands continue to grow. (In 2013, it spent $16 million on 17 tidal projects.) It’s also investing money to research how these tidal energy projects may be developed responsibly and sustainably. Some of that research is coming out of Brown University.