Photo Courtesy of Edouard Dupont-Madinier

An art academy in France, Domaine de Boisbuchet, now has a solar-powered building designed by students from Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany. The house was part of an international solar competition last year.

Newport Third Graders Lobby For Official State Insect

May 1, 2015
St. Michael's Country Day School

A group of third graders in Newport hope to convince lawmakers to name an official state insect.  The students at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport want to make the American Burying Beetle the Ocean State’s official bug.

Their teacher Linda Spinney says the students will make their case at the Statehouse Thursday before lawmakers.

“We’re taking the school bus up there today. It will be a late night for them but I think their parents want them to really see the process and where it takes you when your voices are heard.”

thisisbossi / flickr

Hot days last summer triggered high levels of smog pollution across the state, especially in Providence. 

The city earned an F in this year’s State of the Air report, issued by the American Lung Association. Karina Holyoak Wood is the organization’s public policy director in Rhode Island. She said tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders have chronic lung problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Courtesy of Narragansett Bay Commission

The board of the Narragansett Bay Commission has voted to move forward with the final phase of a water quality project designed to overhaul its old sewer systems. The wastewater agency is struggling with how much it will cost to complete the project, aimed at further improving water quality in Narragansett Bay.

The Narragansett Bay Commission’s third and final phase of a multi-year water quality project will cost about $815 million, if state and federal regulators approve the plan. This final phase could bring the project's total cost to about $1.5 billion.

The project, known as the combined sewer overflow (CSO) project, involves installing a large tunnel that would run through Pawtucket, Central Falls and the northern part of East Providence. The tunnel would stop untreated sewage and stormwater from overflowing into Narragansett Bay during heavy rainstorms.

The board of the Narragansett Bay Commission will vote tomorrow on how to approach the third and final phase of the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project. That project aims to reduce the amount of untreated sewage and polluted runoff entering Narragansett Bay and its tributaries. The board will discuss three options at a meeting tonight.

Five New England governors met yesterday in Hartford, Connecticut, to talk about increasing the region’s energy supply. No solutions are set in stone, but environmental advocates are concerned proposals rely too heavily on natural gas.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said this winter New England’s average wholesale electricity prices were significantly higher than neighboring regions. And those high prices are tough on consumers and businesses. Raimondo said at the regional meeting, the governors committed to provide relief.

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A new pool of money is available for cities and towns looking to reduce their energy use and costs. The state is setting aside more than $500,000 to retrofit existing streetlights to more energy-efficient ones with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

Marion Gold, commissioner at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, said streetlights are one of the biggest expenses in a municipality’s energy budget.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

This story is part of our series “Rising Tide” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: Does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?

RIPR File Photo

Gov. Gina Raimondo will meet with other New England governors in Hartford, Conn., tomorrow to discuss the region’s energy problems.

At a private roundtable, New England governors plan to explore solutions to a number of challenges: the rising prices of electricity, limited pipeline capacity, and the aging electricity grid.

Today is Earth Day and state leaders are awarding $3.3 million dollars in grants to improve water quality in Rhode Island.

Rick Payette / Creative Commons License

A farm in Warren is the 100th farm in the state to be permanently protected for farming. This marks a milestone for the state’s farmland protection efforts.

  The state considers Lial Acres in Warren an important farm to protect because of its prime soil and its close proximity to other protected farms. The farm also abuts land protected for drinking water quality by the Bristol County Water Authority.

The Lial family currently operates it as a vegetable farm, though previous family generations ran it as a dairy farm. It has been an active farm for 125 years.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The state’s management plan that zones offshore waters for renewable energy projects is getting an update. The first public meeting for stakeholders is happening Thursday at the University of Rhode Island.

The Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or SAMP for short, is a planning tool that allows the state to balance both the economy and the environment as it pursues offshore energy projects. It includes about 15-hundred square miles of portions of Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration submits its annual fisheries report to Congress Wednesday. By law (the Magnuson-Stevens Act), NOAA Fisheries must report annually on fish populations within 200 miles of the coast. The agency is also tasked with rebuilding depleted stocks.

Last year, NOAA Fisheries brought two fish species, (considered depleted), back up to healthy levels, and removed several others from the overfishing and overfished lists.


In advance of Earth Day, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, the agency that runs the Central Landfill, has launched it's annual education campaign focused on recycling. The campaign includes TV and radio spots and a series of web videos on how to recycle properly. 

Sarah Kite, director of recycling services, said workers at the recycling facility continuously find items that don’t belong in there.