May 26, 2024

Senate OKs Sen. Lauria’s bill to include climate change in economic planning

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State House – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria to help ensure that climate change, rising seas and coastal resiliency are considered as the state makes its economic development plans.

The legislation (2024-S 2043A) adds data about climate change, sea level rise and coastal resiliency to the list of matters that should be considered by Rhode Island Commerce and the Division of Planning as part of the creation of the state’s long-term economic development vision and policy and strategic planning.

Accordingly, the bill also adds the directors of the Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council to the Economic Development Planning Council convened by each governor.

“Our changing climate and the rising seas are a reality with profound effects on our future here in Rhode Island. When we are planning any aspect of that future, particularly something as far-reaching as our economic aspirations and strategies, we have to take climate change into account. We need to consider where we are putting our investments, whether and how they will stand up to the changes that are already happening and that we know will be advancing, and how we can make investments that not only withstand these changes, but put Rhode Island in a position to thrive,” said Senator Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). “As the Ocean State, resiliency is critical to our economy, and it should always be considered in any economic planning activities.”

The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7246). The Senate bill is cosponsored by Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham), Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, South Kingstown), Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Senate Majority Whip Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Sen. Jacob Bissaillon (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).

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