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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Assembly approves Biodiesel Heating Oil Act of 2013

Big win for the environment and for local Democratic sponsors

Tanzi, Sosnowski and Walsh pull off another win
for the environment
STATE HOUSE – With the Senate’s passage of a House bill, the General Assembly approved legislation yesterday that could position Rhode Island as a leader in an emerging biofuels market.
The legislation (2013-H 5802Aaa), sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), would require all No. 2 distillate heating oil sold in the state to contain a specified percentage of a bio-based product. 

The Senate companion bill (2013-S 0816A), sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), has been placed on the House calendar for today.

“The General Assembly’s top priority has been job creation this year, and this legislation definitely has that in mind,” Senator Sosnowski said. 

“As I’ve said before, we also need to look at the big picture and stay in step with our nation’s desire to become less dependent upon foreign energy sources. The creation of green jobs causes a positive ripple effect throughout various aspects of our lives, from the economy to the overall quality of life. I think the General Assembly’s mere recognition of that is going to put Rhode Island on the map regarding the future of renewable energy.”

The bill includes a compliance schedule, which begins in July 2014 with a 2 percent bio-based product requirement. By July 1, 2017, all No. 2 distillate heating oil sold in the state would be required to contain at least 5 percent biobased product. The governor of Rhode Island would also have the power to temporarily suspend the requirements if physical availability of bio-based product heating oil is inadequate at commercially reasonable prices.

 “This bill is about taking a huge leap toward better air quality and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” Representative Handy said. “In addition, the cost savings associated with the production of better heating equipment and more efficient fuel will benefit all Rhode Islanders in both the short-term and the long-term. It’s a win-win situation for taxpayers because it’s beneficial to the environment and it’s putting more money directly in their wallets.”

Cosponsors of the House bill include Representatives Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), Donna M. Walsh (D-Dist. 36, Charlestown, New Shoreham, South Kingstown, Westerly), Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).