RI Environmental Activists Rally For More Aggressive Climate Action During NGA Meeting

Jul 16, 2017

Climate Action RI, an environmental advocacy coalition, held a rally Saturday outside of the National Governors Association's annual summer meeting at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

More than 100 protesters stood across the street from the convention center chanting and demanding the more than 30 governors in attendance create more aggressive policies addressing climate change. 

Speakers stood in front of an 11-foot banner meant to represent the worst case scenario of how much sea levels could rise in the Northeast region by 2100. They demanded a switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, a tax on carbon pollution and a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure, like the proposed natural gas power plant in Burrillville. 

Protester Mawuli Agbefe said he came out to take advantage of the rare opportunity to find so many governors in the same place at the same time. He said it's up to governors to take charge in the fight against climate change.

"The federal government isn’t doing it and we can see by (President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency) that they don’t really care too much about climate change. They’re ignoring it, it’s got to be left up to the states," Agbefe said.

Trump wants to cut the EPA’s funding by more than 30 percent, which could impact the amount of money Rhode Island gets to fund its air and water quality monitoring programs.  

Protester Rita Webb said she hopes the governors will get the message that it's crucial to take care of the environment.

"Without the health of the environment, nothing else matters. It’s like a person. If a person is sick, all the money in the world, if you’ve got cancer, isn’t going to cure that cancer. Right? So if our planet is sick, than nothing else is going to matter," Webb said.