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State of Rhode Island
2004 Legislative Session
Proposed Environmental Bills

For additional information, contact Elizabeth Stone at 401-222-4700 ext. 2422.

Bill Number
(Sponsor)

Bill Description

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL
Cesspool Phase-Out

S-2769 (Gibbs)
H-8153 (Watson)
The Governor has introduced legislation calling for the phase-out of all high-risk cesspools over a 15-year period. The phase-out plan targets cesspools and other substandard systems that predate the adoption in 1968 of the state's ISDS code and are located in close proximity to surface waters, groundwater, or wells. Systems located in these areas are the ones most likely to pose risks to human health and/or the environment. Cesspools are an inadequate means of sewage treatment and disposal, which contribute directly to groundwater and surface water contamination.
FY 2005 BUDGET
ARTICLE NO. 5

H-8219 (Watson)

$60 Million for Water Pollution Prevention & Open Space, Agricultural Lands and Recreation Preservation
The Governor has proposed $60M in new bond money to protect open space and farmland; to preserve land vital to our drinking water supplies; and to continue the work of cleaning up Narragansett Bay. The $60 million in new bond money will be divided as follows:
  • $15 million for Narragansett Bay and Watershed Restorations.
  • $35 million for Open Space and Recreational Development.
  • $10 million for groundwater protection/land acquisition.
Strengthening Protection of the State's Wetlands Resources
H-8070 (Ginaitt)
S-2975 (Sosnowski)
This proposal would increase the maximum civil penalty for wetlands violations from a current maximum of $1,000 per violation up to a maximum of $10,000 per violation. Under the proposed bill, penalties between $5,000 and $10,000 per violation could only be applied if the Department is able to show that an individual knowingly or recklessly altered a wetland area in violation of the wetlands statute, regulations or permit conditions.
Authorizing the Creation of Dam Management Districts
H-8026 (Gorham)
S-2293 (Bates)
This proposal would authorize the creation of dam management districts. This proposal, which stems from the 2000 Governor's Task Force on Dam Safety and Maintenance, would provide all RI municipalities with a financial tool to help maintain the state's aging dam infrastructure (private and public). These dam management districts (comprised of one or more municipalities) would be similar in nature to fire districts, wastewater management districts, and stormwater management districts.
Clarifying Eligibility for Pollution Control Tax Credits
H-8147 (Amaral)
S-2269 (Breene)
This proposal would clarify the eligibility criteria for existing pollution control tax exemptions (RIGL §44-18-30(15)). Under this proposal, sales and use tax exemptions for pollution control equipment would apply exclusively to equipment purchases that directly control water and air pollution (at a particular facility), but not be available for equipment purchases that have an indirect role in the control of pollution, such as laboratory testing equipment.
Amending Select Provisions of the Commercial Fishing Licensing Statute
H-8129 (Caprio)
S-2837 (Sosnowski)
This proposal would provide for a sixty (60) day application "grace period" for those individuals who fail to meet the recently established February 28th application deadline. Such applicants would be assessed a fee of $200 in addition to all other applicable fees. In addition, this proposal incorporates technical changes into the commercial fishing licensing statute aimed at clarifying/streamlining administration of the licensing program.

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rev. 3/22/04