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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Enviro-bills have one month to pass

Environmental Bills Move Toward Deadline

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff
PROVIDENCE — With about a month left in the 2012 legislative session, several environmental bills recently moved closer to passage.
Landfill air monitoring. The Senate passed a bill (pdf) requiring the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) to install four off-site odor and air pollution monitoring systems. Three will be in Johnston, one in Cranston. RIRRC must pay for the system. The House looks to pass a similar bill (pdf) May 17.
Safe jewelry for kids. The Senate passed a bill (pdf) regulating cadmium, hazardous paint, magnets and batteries in jewelry for children 12 and younger. The bill excludes stuffed animals, footwear and apparel. The full guidelines are not listed in the bill but can be bought for $46. The bill has been sent to the House Committee on Health Education and Welfare, where a similar bill (pdf) is still under consideration.  

Drugs disposal. The Senate approved a bill (pdf) designating police stations as eligible drop-off sites for medications and prescription drugs. The House votes on the bill May 16. 
Farms on state land. Agriculture will be permitted within all lands subject to the jurisdiction of the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM). A May 16 vote on the legislation (pdf) is expected in the Senate. A companion House bill (pdf) is still in committee.
Green jobs. The renewable energy coordinating board will provide a forum for supporting green jobs for recent college graduates and the unemployed in legislation (pdf) approved by the Senate. The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources takes up the bill next.
Penalties for invasives. Possession of non-native, invasive freshwater plants will result in a $500 fine in a bill (pdf) slated for a May 16 vote in the Senate.
Dams. The DEM gains the power to require dam owners to fix or repair unsafe dams in two bills — S2615 and S2617A (pdf). The House bills — H7285 and H7702 (pdf) — are still in committee.
Erosion. Cities and towns may require developers to comply with state stormwater and runoff standards for new construction and renovation projects in a bill (pdf) moved to the Senate floor.
Tipping fees. On May 9, RIRRC director Michael OConnell testified against abill (pdf) raising the tipping fee at the Central Landfill in Johnston by $2. The House Finance Committee voted to continue the hearing.
Paint cans. One of the most active producer responsibility bills (pdf) was held May 9 for further study for a fourth time. Sen. Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence/Providence, sponsor of the bill, requested the delay so that revisions to the bill can be reviewed. A House version of the bill (pdf) is still in committee.
Rechargeable batteries. Ruggerio also wanted time to allow for review of a producer responsibility bill (pdf) related to rechargeable batteries.
Florescent light bulbs. Producer responsibility bills managing the disposal of florescent light bulbs are expected to be considered in the House (pdf) and Senate (pdf) within the next two weeks.