On Friday, Environment Rhode Island unveiled “Rhode Island’s Coast: 10 Places Worth Protecting”, a list of ten coastal places in the state that have received support through federal conservation programs. With funding for these programs under fire––and with Congress debating the nation’s budget in D.C.––Environment Rhode Island held a news conference at Conimicut Point Park in Warwick asking Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to ensure Rhode Island's beaches and public lands are protected for the future.
The U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive transportation and infrastructure bill, including an amendment (1822) to set aside $700 million to conservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and to establish a National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) which will dedicate resources to conserving and restoring oceans and coastal areas. The NEO provisions were proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island small businesses and organizations signed a letter to the state's representatives in Washington, D.C. urging them to champion the protection of Narragansett Bay and other waters in the state and across the country by leading the fight against the unprecedented number of anti-environmental riders in recent House and Senate bills. Many of these amendments have threatened to ease or eliminate longstanding Clean Water Act protections and to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to enforce environmental regulations.
Environment Rhode Island declared a critical victory for Newport beaches and harbor today, announcing that the City of Newport has agreed to take steps to end its illegal sewage and stormwater pollution. These cleanup measures are part of a proposed settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by Environment Rhode Island and local residents to enforce the Clean Water Act.
Environment Rhode Island joined NRDC and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to release the annual beach water quality report. Sen. Whitehouse said, “Rhode Islanders know that a healthy Bay means clean beaches and a vibrant tourism economy. Sixteen million people visit Rhode Island each year to enjoy our beaches, seafood, and water sports – creating 55,000 jobs and injecting $6.8 billion into our economy. We’ve made great strides in reducing wastewater pollution into Narragansett Bay, but this report reminds us of the progress still to be made to protect our economy and our environment.”
Rhode Island’s coastal tourism and fishing businesses generate just over $2 billion annually and provide 56,000 jobs, according to a new report released by Environment Rhode Island today. These businesses and jobs would not exist without clean beaches and a clean ocean, both of which would be threatened by risky offshore drilling.