The Clean Water Blog

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Fighting for a Safe & Healthy Environment for all Rhode Islanders

In 2021 we accomplished a lot thanks to our members. Clean Water Action not only helped pass the Act on Climate, but the Balloon Release Bill, the Straw Bill and community plastic bag bans. Looking forward to 2022, there is a bright future but there is still work to be done! Clean Water Action is working on multiple bills in the state house that we need to get on the floor.

First off, we want to say thank you! With the continued support of our members, we were able to testify before the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee on February 17th in support of bills to reduce toxins in our lives and waste in the environment. There was a great turnout with 10 out of 17 committee members showing up and there wasn’t a seat available in the house! Committee members were engaged and asking questions, change was talked about…but the change hasn’t happened yet. Right now, it is crucial for everyone to do their part and use their voice to push these bills forward and protect Rhode Islanders.

Did you know that Rhode Island Resources Recovery Corp. estimates that if we continue with current waste trends, the Rhode Island landfill will reach capacity by 2038? That’s only 16 years away! We have to do something about this! House bill 7279 is an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)bill that will reduce the effects of single use plastic and create a price associated with the waste being produced holding plastic companies accountable instead of local taxpayers. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will impose a fee on plastic manufactures that will  be used to fund green initiatives like reuse and recycling infrastructure. Unlike other waste reduction bills that target one product at a time like bottles or foam containers, this bill creates a management system for an entire class of products. 

Help us put pressure on the legislature to bring this bill to the floor, click here to send a message to your local representatives.

Here’s another not so fun fact. The toxic forever chemical, PFAS  is not only used in food packaging which we have been telling you about for years, it’s also found in fire fighting foam, cookware, cosmetics, bibs, carpets and rugs, outdoor clothing and nursing pillows.  PFAS is highly toxic and can cause serious health effects like liver disease, early menopause, birth defects and even cancers. This year Clean Water Action and our colleagues are supporting four bills that will tackle this dangerous chemical upstream, at the source, and downstream, at the tap:

  • H-7436 Requires manufacturers to disclose the use of PFAS in all products and will ban its use in cosmetics, cookware, baby products, outdoor apparel, carpets, rugs and other textiles, and fire fighting foam.
  • H-7438 Bans the use of PFAS in packaging including food packaging.
  • H-7233 Sets maximum contamination levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water (matching the existing Massachusetts standard), groundwater, and surface waters. 
  • H-7234 Adds PFAS to the list of hazardous substances covered under the state’s Industrial Property Remediation and Reuse Act.

These four bills work together to protect our public health. Let’s face it, toxic chemicals shouldn’t be near our food or where our kids play. 

It’s time to ban all unnecessary uses of  PFAS and you can help! Click here to tell your local representatives how important this issue is.

The final bill that Clean Water Action supported on February 17th was H-7129 which tackles the problem of neonicotinoids which have been used for decades as a pesticide. The problem is that recent studies found a link between these chemicals and a collapse in the bee population, massive songbird die-offs and interruptions in aquatic food webs. This bill will restrict the use of neonicotinoids  to those that have been trained to use and dispose of it properly. 

The support was great at the hearing but it is more than a waiting game. Now we need you to get involved! Every voice matters, contact your local representatives and tell them why they need to care.

Because of you we are able to fight for a safe and healthy environment for all Rhode Islanders.