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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Westerly Rep. Azzinaro sets up redundant commission

Waste of time

By Will Collette

UPDATE: If you really want to know more about the climate crisis and our shoreline, I suggest you attend this forum (or you can wait for Sam's commission to come out with its findings, presuming it ever meets:

RI State Senator Victoria Gu and RI State Representative Tina Spears will host a Town Hall on Climate Resiliency on Monday April 29th, 6-8pm at the Quonochontaug Grange Hall (5662 Post Road, Charlestown, RI). RI CRMC, RI EMA, and FEMA representatives will also be participating.

They will discuss some frequently asked questions about recent storm recovery work, regulations, and funding opportunities for mitigation work.

FEMA and RI EMA representatives will do a presentation and will be available to assist individuals and business owners who sustained losses during the Dec 17-19th 2023/Jan 9th-13th 2024 storms and are eligible for federal disaster relief funds. May 20th, 2024 is the deadline to apply (people may also visit

Residents, local officials, and businesses are invited to share their ideas, experiences, and priorities regarding climate resiliency efforts in our area.

For well over a decade, anyone who has been paying attention knows we are in a worsening climate crisis. Its effects on Rhode Island are already clear - bizarre weather, bigger and more frequent storms and sea level rise.

For more than a decade, government, academia and non-profit organizations have devoted considerable time and money to study this problem and come up with ways to cope. URI, the Woods Hole Institute, NOAA, DEM and the CRMC have looked closely what to do about Rhode Island's climate-driven coastal erosion problem.

Some fine work has already been done and lots of different options have been explored, including some that have already been put into effect.

Two local General Assembly members from Charlestown's Rep. Tina Spears and Sen. Victoria Gu, jointly sponsored legislation to promote coastal resiliency, drawing on the hard work already done by scientists and experts. 

So why then does Rep. Sam Azzinaro (DINO-Westerly) want to set up a new study commission on beach erosion? 

It's hardly within the scope of his two main categories of concern, namely veterans' affairs and anything of concern to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. (He once said he put the interests of ex-Bishop Thomas Tobin over his own constituents). 

Azzinaro says, as if this had not occurred to him before, "We have a serious problem here...This commission will be an important tool to protect our beaches and hopefully reverse the erosion that is plaguing too many oceanfront communities.”

His commission would include the same agencies that has already done the work but adds the director of the Misquamicut Business Association.

The House approved the resolution probably for the same reason they had approved ex-Rep. Justin Price (MAGA-Richmond) legislation to create a study commission on "chemtrails - to shut him up. Price's chemtrail commission never met and never issued findings. I am willing to bet the same fate awaits Sam's commission.

I suggest it is time for Sam to consider retirement and let voters choose a new representative. Or at minimum, he should stick to what he knows.

Here's the official news release on Azzinaro's commission: 

House approves Rep. Azzinaro’s resolution to create beach erosion commission

STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved a resolution (2024-H 7361) sponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro that creates a special study commission to recommend remedies to stop beach erosion in Rhode Island.
“We have a serious problem here in the Ocean State because our beaches are eroding at an alarming rate.  Our coastline and beaches are some of the finest in the world and we have to do everything in our power to protect this incredible asset that brings in millions of dollars in business and tourism every single year.  This commission will be an important tool to protect our beaches and hopefully reverse the erosion that is plaguing too many oceanfront communities,” said Representative Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly).        

The purpose of the commission will be to make a comprehensive study and cost analysis in order to provide recommendations to remedy the erosion of Rhode Island’s beaches.
The nine-member commission will consist of four members of the House of Representatives; the director of the Department of Environmental Management, or designee; the executive director of the Coastal Resources Management Council, or designee; the dean of the Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, or designee; the commander of the New England Army Corps of Engineers, or designee; and the executive director of the Misquamicut Business Association, or designee.
The commission will report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives no later than Jan. 5, 2025, and will expire on March 5, 2025.