Bill On Climate Change Gets First Hearing In RI Statehouse

Apr 3, 2014

A bill to help the state prepare for climate change will have its first House committee hearing today. 

Rep. Art Handy introduced the bill, called the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014. He said it would require the state to start studying what areas are vulnerable to climate change threats, from flooding to sea level rise to temperature changes. 

“As we’re looking for the next Sandy to hit, the next 2010 floods, this [bill] sets in place the opportunity for state to figure out what we need to do after that, in terms of building better and building more resiliently,” said Handy.

Handy would like to see a more coordinated statewide planning effort. He said some state agencies, such as the Coastal Resources Management Council, already have good information about how climate change will affect the state’s shoreline.

“We’re going to also need to look across the state at things like river flooding in Burrillville or in Woonsocket as well, not to mention heat related issues,” said Handy.

Handy said the bill would prompt the state to look ahead on how to build structures that could handle extreme weather events, and protect things like water supplies and wastewater treatment plants. It would also set up a science advisory panel to consult with the state.

Many environmental groups plan to testify today in support of the bill. The House Committee on the Environment and Natural Resource will hold the hearing at the Rise of the House in Room 101.

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