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Audubon Advocacy Tracker

Audubon is supporting all efforts to further the implementation of the Act on Climate law—binding our state to reach significant reductions in carbon emissions, while also ensuring that Rhode Island can weather the impacts of climate change.

2023 Legislative Priorities

Check back here often for updates on the legislation we are currently following, along with the latest actions you can take to support our advocacy efforts.

Conserving Forests While Deploying Renewables: Our 2023 Top Priority

Solar Siting Reform

H5853 Sponsored by Representative Speakman and S0684 by Senator DiMario

 Take Action: 


Renewable Ready Program

S0504 Sponsored by Senator DiMario

Ensures that renewable energy projects like solar are built without clearing our state’s forests or increasing electricity prices for consumers. Instead, it would help offset the costs involved in preparing select sites for renewable energy projects – places like the roofs of large buildings, former industrial properties known as brownfield sites, and land situated next to major roadways. The program would be supported through federal funding and other existing sources, ensuring the costs aren’t passed on to ratepayers.

Farmland Preservation Funds

S560 sponsored by Senator DiPalma and H6018 sponsored by Representative McGaw

This critical bill would allot $5 million to the RI Department of Environmental Management for preservation, protection, and conservation of farmlands in Rhode Island, enabling critical matches for federal funding for the preservation of farmland for local food production.

Curbing Toxins and Plastic Waste Pollution —Detrimental to Wildlife, Our Environment, and People

Protecting Pollinators From Toxic Pesticides 

In 2022, we achieved a critical step in pesticide management – regulating neonicotinoids (neonics) to help keep these dangerous pesticides out of the hands of untrained users. Our elected officials took this critical first step to protect pollinators, pets, people, and the environment from this especially harmful neurotoxin by enacting into law restrictions on neonics §23-25-40 sponsored by Representative Rebecca Kislak and Senator Joshua Miller. This legislation will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

Now, House Bill 6160 sponsored by Representative Thomas Noret proposes amendments to pesticide control legislation, which could weaken last year’s victory of requiring additional training and testing for applicators of restricted pesticides, like neonics. Audubon believes it is not unreasonable for someone who is handling that type of poison to need to pass an additional test to ensure the healthy and safety of applicators, pollinators, and people. The standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are just that—minimum (floor) standards for regulating pesticide use under federal law—and not the ceiling for how Rhode Island can provide stronger oversight of these harmful and toxic pesticides.


"Bottle Bill" (Container Deposit System)

H5502 Representative McEntee and S0753 Senator Valverde establishes a container deposit system — a 10¢ refundable deposit. Incentivizes the beverage industry to implement a more sustainable model with bottles and containers that are easier to recycle or even reuse. Bottle bills work to reduce the amount of recyclable materials that end up in the landfill. Rhode Island is just one of two states in the region yet to enact a bottle bill. States like Maine and Vermont collect more than 75% of their cans and bottles for recycling, while RI collects only about 39% of its cans and bottles, sending the rest to the landfill or to roads, parks and beaches.


Take Action:

Banning of Pyrolysis

H5142 Representative McGaw and S0131 Senator Ujifusa bans all types of pyrolysis, including so-called “advanced recycling” by the fossil fuel industry. The burning of plastics through a high-heat process undermines Rhode Island climate goals and climate justice efforts.

Comprehensive Bans on PFAS (“Forever Chemicals”)

H5673 sponsored by Representative Cortvriend and S0196 sponsored by Senator Kallman sets a comprehensive PFAS ban—referred to as toxic forever chemicals—on several classes of consumer products, requires disclosure for products that are not banned, and phases out PFAS from firefighting foam.


Take Action: Sign a letter to your legislators urging them to support the PFAS Ban (courtesy of Clean Water Action RI)

Climate Justice

Environmental Justice Act

S770 sponsored by Senator Euer and H6196 by Representative Alzate ensure that Environmental Justice communities have greater protections from new polluting projects and better access to the permitting process. Modeled after legislation that already passed in New Jersey, the bill makes sure that families already dealing with the health impacts of living with polluted air and water can finally be heard.

Take Action: Urge your elected officials to support the Environmental Justice Act (courtesy of Clean Water Action RI.)

Green and Healthy Schools Campaign

Our public school buildings are low-hanging fruit and should be a high priority for early climate action. H6008 sponsored by Representative Handy and S0537 sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Pearson calls for decarbonizing all public K-12 school buildings by 2035 using strong labor and equity standards.

Resources: Read our May 2 Testimony in Support

Take Action: Sign on to the Green and Healthy Schools campaign and support the effort to decarbonize all public school buildings in Rhode Island by 2035 (courtesy of Climate Jobs RI.)

2023 Climate Literacy Act

All young Rhode Islanders need the skills and knowledge to be competitive in the growing green and blue economies. The Rhode Island Climate Change and Ocean Protection Education and Workforce Development Acts (S0551 & S0558 / H6105 & H6106) will ensure that they are prepared for the challenges we face.

Take Action: Sign the petition and contact your legislators - action items can be found on the RIEEA website!