Sens. Reed and Whitehouse stand up for Rhode Island’s coast, global warming solutions, mercury pollution limits

Media Contacts
Channing Jones

Environment Rhode Island

Providence – Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate voted for increased resources for our parks and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has protected beloved places like the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge and other beaches, coastal areas, and public lands across Rhode Island.

The Senate also rejected polluter-friendly measures to block the clean-up of global warming (amendment #359) and mercury pollution (amendment #514), but voted to advance the dirty Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (amendment #494). All of these measures, offered as amendments to the Senate budget resolution, were non-binding, as was the underlying budget resolution itself.

Channing Jones, Program Associate with Environment Rhode Island issued the following statement in response:

“Protecting Rhode Island’s coast, tackling global warming, and saving children from mercury pollution should all be no-brainers. When it came to defending our progress cleaning up harmful mercury and global warming pollution from dirty power plants, Senators Reed and Whitehouse chose the environment and our health over polluters’ interests.

“Last year – the hottest year on record in the U.S. – global warming contributed to extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. Rhode Island’s senators know that we can’t afford any major steps backward combating the carbon pollution fueling global warming, which poses a special threat to a low lying coastal state like Rhode Island. We applaud them for defending the cleanup of new power plants – which, without strong standards – would be able to spew carbon pollution without limit. Senators Reed and Whitehouse also admirably voted down amendments to block the clean-up of mercury pollution, a potent neurotoxin, and to green-light the dirty Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would facilitate the reckless extraction of one of the most carbon-rich deposits on the planet.

“Lovers of Rhode Island’s coast should be thrilled that the Senate voted to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a landmark program that keeps development and pollution away from the best of our natural heritage – and with a track record of success in Rhode Island. Going forward, I hope the Senate will do more to advance real solutions, like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, to address our most pressing environmental challenges.”