No Wine at Farmers Markets, No Tanning, No Big Pets


PROVIDENCE — The House and Senate worked well past midnight on June 13 to wrap up the 2012 session. Several environmental bills passed, and others stalled, such as a bill to establish the East Bay Energy Consortium.

The House and Senate also passed an override of a veto by Gov. Lincoln Chafee on a bill exempting property owners in Warwick from connecting to the municipal sewage system. The bill was opposed by the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

Here are the environmental bills that passed:

Paint. The House and Senate approved legislation for disposal of unused paint products at paint stores. The program would be funded through a fee on the sale of paint.

Children’s jewelry, but not toys or clothes, would conform to national safety standards in a bill passed by the House and Senate.

Paper and packaging. A nine-member commission has a year to study methods for cutting paper and packaging waste in order to extend the life of the Central Landfill in Johnston.

Climate change. The House and Senate passed a bill that places an advisory council under the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) as part of the Climate Risk Reduction Act of 2010.

Landfill. Three bills passed in response to last year’s odor crisis at the Central Landfill. Paper, glass, wood, food waste, plaster, drywall and leaves are banned from the daily cover of the landfill in a bill that aims to reduce items suspected of contributing to the problem.

Terms of an existing but inactive citizens advisory board at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation were revised to address governance at the Central Landfill. The third bill requires the installation of six air-monitoring stations that must be built near the landfill to gauge odors.

Court action on land trust property. The Senate and the House both passed guidelines defining which entities can challenge conservation restrictions on land trust properties.

Pets. Those weighing less than 35 pounds will be allowed at state campgrounds. Standards for tethering dogs were also passed by the Senate and House.

Artificial reef. Old boats will be used for an artificial reef program in Block Island Sound.

Tanning beds. Persons younger than 18 will need parental consent to use tanning salons.

Efficient power generation. Power generators will be required to install combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration systems to recapture lost energy in a bill that modifies existing efficiency standards.

Sewage and wetlands. Zoning rules relating to sewage systems and wetlands must be approved by the DEM in a bill passed by the General Assembly.

Livestock standards. The Senate and the House passed a bill creating an advisory board for setting standards for the welfare of farm animals. The committee would report to the DEM director. Docking or altering of cows’ tails would be prohibited in a bill passed by the House and Senate.

These bills were left waiting at the alter:

Beer and wine at farmers markets. The House passed a bill allowing local vineyards to sell wine at farmers markets, but the Senate did not reciprocate.

Medical sharps. Legislation passed in the House requiring hospitals and pharmacies to provide disposal of medical sharps, such as syringes and epi-pens and other sharp medical instruments. But the Senate didn’t consider the bill.

Drugs in the water. The Senate passed a bill creating a commission to study the health risks of pharmaceutical waste in the water supply. The House, however, took no action.

Outdoor wood boilers. The House passed a bill regulating outdoor wood boilers, but the Senate didn’t pass the legislation out of committee.

Tree care and mulch. The House passed a bill adding tree care and mulch to the state definition of agricultural operations in the state Right to Farm laws.

Dry Lands Act. The annual effort by the construction industry to increase building near environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands wasn’t voted out of committee.


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