Environment

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Rhode Island has enacted new protections for the state’s freshwater wetlands. The new legislation, signed into law Wednesday, streamlines the process for developers hoping to build near wetlands.

But that doesn’t mean that it will be easier to build along those wetlands, according to state officials.

Prior to the legislation, developers needed approval from both the state and cities and towns to begin building. Now developers only need state approval.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind installed the first foundation over the weekend for what is slated to be the first offshore wind farm in the country. Monday morning the company took state and federal officials on a boat trip to see the barge, cranes, and foundations up close.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Federal and state officials take a boat trip this morning to check out the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. The project has broad support from environmental groups, fishermen, the Narragansett tribe, and others. But it’s a point of contention for Block Island residents.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“We kept looking around and hadn’t seen anything,” said Torrey. “And he came home [and said], ‘Guess what I saw?’ So we said, ‘Let’s go over to the Southeast Light and take a look.’ So we did!”

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