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Friday, January 17, 2020

Said Speaker Mattiello: “This is a national issue. The fifty-square foot State of Rhode Island cannot positively – or negatively – impact the environment.“

Speaker Mattiello says there’s nothing Rhode Island can do about climate change

“What measures do you want – or what measures can you take to address our climate change challenge here?” Boston Globe reporter Dan McGowan asked Rhode Island Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) at the Globe’s Legislative Kickoff Panel featuring the Speaker and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (Democrat, District 4, Providence) on January 15.


“Let’s be realistic about climate change,” said Speaker Mattiello. “It’s real, it’s been happening for a long time. I’m aware of that. And I think it has to be addressed.

“There’s nothing Rhode Island can do to address climate change in a way that’s real or impactful. 


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Imagine...the whole state fits in here!
"This has to be done at the national level – and the international level – because even if our nation does and the rest of the world doesn’t participate, we’re still going to be in trouble and we’re not going to solve the problem.

“This is a national issue. The fifty-square foot State of Rhode Island cannot positively – or negatively – impact the environment.

“We can act appropriately, which I think we do – we’re heavily investing in green energy and we have great recycling programs – we are about as green as a State can be, and I supported and encouraged all of those initiatives.

“However, when you’re talking about changing our climate, I realistically – and as much as I think it’s changing – I realistically believe that all you can do is harm your economy and not improve your climate, unless the entire nation joins in.



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“So this stuff has to be debated at the national level, which is very hard. It’s easy to come into Rhode Island, a small state, trying to affect policy, check off the win box. It doesn’t help the environment.

“So all we can do is hurt ourselves and not necessarily help ourselves. But I do support every green initiative out there but it has to be realistic and has to work within the confines of our economy,” concluded the Speaker.

“Boo!” yelled Michael Kearney, a 22-year old climate activist with the Sunrise Movement. “Shame!”

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Statement from The Environment Council of Rhode Island

The Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) today expresses deep disappointment with the remarks made by Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in response to a question about the climate crisis at Wednesday night’s Boston Globe forum.

The Globe’s Dan McGowan asked the Speaker about “what measures [he could] take to address the climate challenge here [in Rhode Island].”
In response, Speaker Mattiello said:
“There’s nothing Rhode Island can do to address climate change in a way that’s real or impactful… This is a national issue. The fifty-square foot State of Rhode Island cannot positively – or negatively – impact the environment.”
“The climate crisis will effect everything from our economy to public health, and we are already seeing these impacts take hold,” said Priscilla De La Cruz, the president of the Environment Council of Rhode Island. 

“For the Speaker to claim that nothing can be done by state government to reduce the risks to Rhode Islanders is inaccurate. Most of all, we dispute his assertion that state-level actions will only harm the local economy. That is just wrong. Reducing fossil fuel usage in favor of renewable energy has been proven to be good for job creation and for consumers.”

“We need to make emission reductions across all sectors of our economy,” added Kai Salem, ECRI vice-president for policy. 

“The sector with the highest emissions is transportation and that has to be addressed. We should also make every building more efficient. And we need to make sure the most vulnerable among us are protected from climate change and have opportunities to benefit from the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy.”

“In addition to reducing emissions, we also need to be preparing our state for climate change,” said Meg Kerr, senior director of policy at Audubon Society of Rhode Island and past president of ECRI. 

“Investing in climate resilience will not only protect our communities and shorelines, it will also grow our economy. But this will require leadership from policymakers at every level of government– local, state, and federal. There’s no excuse for Rhode Island to watch from the sidelines. We need to step up and do our part because Rhode Islanders will also suffer the consequences of inaction.”

De La Cruz added: “While we are disappointed in the Speaker’s comments, we are happy to work with him and the legislature to come up with effective solutions to fend off the worst effects of the climate crisis, protect our shorelines and neighborhoods, and sustainably grow our economy.”

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About the Environment Council of Rhode Island
                                                                                                                                                    
The Environment Council of Rhode Island is a coalition of organizations and individuals whose mission is to serve as an effective voice for developing and advocating policies and laws that protect and enhance the environment. www.environmentcouncilri.org