Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Friday, April 2, 2021

Governor McKee: Sign the Act On Climate Into Law

Environmental community calls for urgent and decisive leadership on climate

Kai Salem, Environment Council of Rhode Island

McKee has already threatened to veto the bill. The
environment is NOT a McKee priority so he needs a push
The Environment Council of Rhode Island, on behalf of its 70 organizational and individual members representing over 50,000 Rhode Islanders, calls on Governor to sign the 2021 Act On Climate (H5445-sub A and S78-sub A) into law.

On March 23rd, the House of Representatives passed the Act On Climate with a bipartisan majority (53 – 22) after nearly four hours of debate. 

Supporters of the bill believe Rhode Island needs to take this critical step in planning for and addressing climate change with science, accountability, and enforceability.

The prior week the Rhode Island State Senate also passed the 2021 Act On Climate with overwhelming support, 33 – 4. It’s now Governor McKee’s turn to show Rhode Islanders that he can lead the Ocean State through the many crises we face, including the climate crisis.

The Act On Climate is the most important climate bill passed by the General Assembly in Rhode Island history, preceded only by the 2014 Resilient Rhode Island Act.

“The bill makes greenhouse gas reductions economy-wide, binding and enforceable and consistent with what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, which our coastal and frontline communities are already experiencing. The accountability provision in the Act On Climate bill updates the Resilient RI Act and gives it teeth. It’s the next simple step for Rhode Island to take,” said Meg Kerr, Sr. Director of Policy at Audubon Society of RI and former President of the Environment Council of Rhode Island.

In an open letter to Governor McKee, members of the Environment Council members expressed the urgent need for decisive climate action.

“We ask that you sign the bill into law as it was passed by the Senate and House and keep the accountability and enforcement measures that would move Rhode Island beyond aspirational targets and position the state as a leader.” The letter goes on to read: “This legislation, while simple, sets the framework for how the state will address climate change. 

“It is the foundation and framework we need to really reduce emissions and transition to a green economy in an equitable way. Rhode Island needs a solid foundation and comprehensive plan to address the climate crisis, a plan that is economy-wide and enforceable to set us on a path to a just transition to a green & sustainable economy.”

“Massachusetts passed comparable climate legislation with the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. This bill has kept the Massachusetts government accountable for meeting its climate targets and led to the growth of a nation-leading clean energy economy. But it’s not too late for Rhode Island to shift its lagging action into meaningful leadership and reap the benefits of growing green economy,” said Kai Salem, VP of Policy at the Environment Council of RI and Policy Coordinator at Green Energy Consumers Alliance.

Charlestown's state rep Blake "Flip" Filippi tried to kill the bill
in the House claiming it would mean the end of the world as we
know it and, in particular, it might affect his cattle business
in Lincoln. - Editor Will Collette
The Environment Council of Rhode Island urges Governor McKee to counter the inertia and special interests of opponents and consider the overwhelming public support for the Act On Climate and what the science is telling us – now is the time for bold climate action and leadership.

“The people of the Ocean State deserve a firm commitment to facing the climate challenge with transparency, enforcement, and accountability – our health, our environment, and our economy depend on it. It is not the time for delays or attempts to weaken a good and necessary climate bill. And let’s not ignore that voters want climate action. The vast majority of voters are concerned about climate change and support emission reductions, according to a recent survey,” said Jonathan Berard, Rhode Island State Director at Clean Water Action, a member of the Environment Council of RI.

We call on Governor McKee to commit to signing the 2021 Act On Climate into law by Earth Day, April 22nd, as written and passed by both the House and Senate. The Environment Council of RI looks forward to working alongside Governor McKee and his administration to implementing the Act On Climate and delivering a cleaner, healthier future for all Rhode Islanders.

What can you do to help the Act On Climate be signed into law?

1) Contact Governor McKee ASAP. Tell him, "I urge you to sign the 2021 Act On Climate bill as written and passed by the House (H5445-subA) and Senate (S78-subA). We need your leadership to secure a green & sustainable economy and a healthier state for Rhode Islanders." 

Call the Governor McKee’s office at 401-222-2080

Send a message online:

2) Sign the petition by Climate Action RI. It takes less than a minute. 1,000 Rhode Islanders have already signed; will you help us surpass 2,000?