Representative Christopher Blazejewski (Democrat, District 2, Providence) and Senator Louis DiPalma (Democrat, District 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton) are introducing resolutions to solicit a report from the Rhode Island Green New Deal Research Council (RI GNDRC) “in order to inform smart, local policies that position Rhode Island for success in the face of climate change and a shifting economy.
The RI GNDRC is a collaboration of researchers, civic leaders, and community organizations exploring Green New Deal-related frameworks that meet Rhode Island’s conditions and needs through community engagement and research. Think of it as developing a state version of the Green New Deal, which is focused nationally.
The national Green New Deal is sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat, New York) and Senator Edward Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts). The national Green New Deal includes initiatives pertaining to:
- Providing adequate resources for public efforts for climate change adaptation;
- Creating good paying jobs that provide a family a sustaining wage;
- Securing clean air and water; climate and community resiliency; healthy food; access to nature; and a sustainable environment; for all people in the United States for generations to come.
- Upgrading the building stock, including specifically, affordable, safe, adequate housing;
- Mitigating pollution, and cleaning up hazardous waste and abandoned sites; and
- Reversing deindustrialization and counteracting systemic injustice.
“This is a call to action for Rhode Islanders to come to the table to define our own terms for a resilient future,” said Michael Roles, Project Manager for the RI GNDRC. Roles was emceeing and event at the State house to announce the introduction of the resolutions.
“The current dialogue around the concept of a Green New Deal needs further study about what it could look like in practice. We need to understand the facts and data surrounding the proposed Deal. It is important we critically review and evaluate the Deal and its impact on Rhode Island,” said Senator DiPalma, sponsor of the Senate resolution.
“When we bring it to the state level, it’s realism,” said Ken Paine, Chair of the Civic Alliance for a Cooler Rhode Island (CACRI). “It can be done and it can be done to the betterment of our state.”
“The history of climate advocacy in this country has almost entirely been a history of those folks who have seriously grappled with this issue coming over to meet the folks who haven’t grappled with it, where they’re at and find a common ground that those folks are comfortable with,” said Tim DeChristopher from the Climate Disobedience Center. As a result, “We’ve only ever had completely inadequate climate solutions in this country.”
“In this legislative session, Sunrise RI is committed to doing everything we can to pass this resolution,” said Lauren Manus an organizer with Sunrise RI. “We are scared. We are hopeful. But we are not backing down from relentlessly demanding the solutions we need to solve this crisis.”
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“I see how pollution has disproportionately affected people of color in this community,” said Dounya Bilal, a student at Lincoln School in Providence. “The LNG facility being built on the South Side of Providence is completely unacceptable, and tells us that enough is enough.”
After the introduction of the bills there was a hearing in the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Blazejewski’s resolution. Because of the long House debate passing the Reproductive Privacy Act, the committee hearings started about five hours a later than normal. Only three people, including Mike Roles, testified in favor of the resolution:
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