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Home > Publications > Proposed 2005 Legislation


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State of Rhode Island
2005 Legislative Session
Proposed Environmental Bills

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

Bill Number
(Sponsor)

Bill Description

Cesspool Phase-Out
(Governor's Proposal)

H-5989 (Long)
S-0506 (Gibbs)
The Governor has re-introduced legislation calling for the phase-out of all high-risk cesspools over a 15-year period. The phase-out plan specifically 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, wells, and drains likely to intercept groundwater flow from the location of cesspools. Systems located in these areas are the ones most likely to pose risks to human health and/or the environment.
Instituting a Statewide Ban on the Use of MTBE in Gasoline
(Governor's Proposal)

H-5990 (Singleton)
S-0395 (Gibbs)
The Governor is proposing a ban on the use of MTBE as a gasoline additive beginning January 1, 2007. Under this proposal, as of January 1, 2007, gasoline sold, delivered for sale, or imported into RI may not contain more than 0.5% MTBE by volume. When gasoline containing MTBE is spilled or leaked, MTBE, because of its physical properties, tends to move rapidly through groundwater and remain in the groundwater for indefinite periods of time. Even small quantities of spilled or leaked gasoline can cause such contamination. Groundwater contaminated with MTBE - even at very low levels - can render the water undrinkable due to adverse taste and odor.
Eliminating Commercial Vessel Exemption under New Certification Program Governing Compliance with No-Discharge Law
H-5993 (Trillo)
S-0507 (Breene)
Pursuant to legislation adopted in 2004, owners of all boats operating or mooring in RI waters for more than seven days - except commercial vessels and open boats without sleeping accommodations - are required to obtain and display a "no discharge certificate decal" available from DEM for $10. The decals (valid for a period of four years) will be obtainable from certification agents, e.g. marina operators, based upon an inspection to determine whether boats are in compliance with the no-discharge law.

The Department is proposing to amend the new statute by removing the exemption for commercial vessels, and clarifying that the new program only applies to boats operating in RI state waters.
Increasing Threshold for Mandatory Accident Reporting
H-5991 (Ehrhardt)
S-0303 (Bates)
The Department is proposing to increase the threshold limit (RIGL §46-22-21) for mandatory reporting of accident damages to a vessel from the current reporting limit of $500 up to the federal reporting limit of $2,000. The US Coast Guard recently increased its mandatory-reporting threshold from $500 to $2,000, and most states are seeking to follow suit.
Authorizing the Creation of Dam Management Districts
H-5992 (Long)
S-0394 (Breene)
The department is again proposing legislation authorizing 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.

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