Rhode Island representatives introduce bill to get rid of outhouses

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced a bill to flush outhouses out of the state. The Providence Journal reports the bill co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Justin Price and Democratic Rep. Arthur Handy would require any outhouse existing as of January 2019 be “abandoned, filled up and destroyed” within one year. Price says the bill was inspired by former Warwick residents who lived within smelling distance of their neighbor’s outhouse. The proposed bill would have the state Department of Environmental Management enforce the ban. Those who refuse to comply could face up to a $1,000 fine. Outhouses used on the grounds of historical structures would be exempt. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday night. ___ Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com Close The biggest headlines, delivered to your inbox Get news as it happens. Sign up for Boston.com's email news alerts. Thanks for signing up! Continue Reading

$430,000 state grant will fund cleanup at Richmond mill site

Published 7:22 am, Friday, February 16, 2018 RICHMOND, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has awarded a nearly $430,000 grant to clean up contaminated land around an old mill in Richmond. The Westerly Sun reports that Clark's Mill, built in 1848 on the Pawcatuck River, is currently owned by FXF Hydro, which submitted the grant application in December. Agency officials say the soil is contaminated with oil and heavy metals, typical of old mill sites. The contaminated soiled will be hauled away and the site will be capped. Recommended Video: Now Playing: Drone footage captures dolphins feeding on a school of fish in Narragansett, Rhode Island, on September 24.Dale Denelle shot the drone footage while out boating on Block Island Sound. Denelle told Storyful he has been filming dolphins in Rhode Island since they started appearing more frequently last year. Credit: Dale Denelle via Storyful Media: Storyful The decontamination work will begin in the spring. The Clark's Mill property is one of 10 the state hopes will be redeveloped after they are cleaned up, creating jobs and stimulating local economies. ___ Information from: The Westerly Sun, http://www.thewesterlysun.com Continue Reading

The Danger of President Pence

On September 14th, the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, who last year published a book titled “In Trump We Trust,” expressed what a growing number of Americans, including conservatives, have been feeling since the 2016 election. The previous day, President Trump had dined with Democratic leaders at the White House, and had impetuously agreed to a major policy reversal, granting provisional residency to undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. Republican legislators were blindsided. Within hours, Trump disavowed the deal, then reaffirmed it. Coulter tweeted, “At this point, who doesn’t want Trump impeached?” She soon added, “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.” Trump’s swerve did the unthinkable—uniting Coulter and liberal commentators. After Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, Gail Collins, the Times columnist, praised Vice-President Mike Pence as someone who at least “seems less likely to get the planet blown up.” This summer, an opinion column by Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, appeared under the headline “ ‘President Pence’ is Sounding Better and Better.” Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan, serves as a daily reminder that the Constitution offers an alternative to Trump. The worse the President looks, the more desirable his understudy seems. The more Trump is mired in scandal, the more likely Pence’s elevation to the Oval Office becomes, unless he ends up legally entangled as well. Pence’s odds of becoming President are long but not prohibitive. Of his forty-seven predecessors, nine eventually assumed the Presidency, because of a death or a resignation. After Lyndon Johnson decided to join the ticket with John F. Kennedy, he calculated his odds of ascension to be approximately one in four, and is Continue Reading

Record cold doesn’t mean ice is safe, officials warn

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page By Jacob Carozza Globe Correspondent  December 30, 2017 The record cold that swept into New England this week may lead some to conclude that it’s the perfect time to head out onto the region’s frozen lakes and ponds for ice fishing and skating.But authorities in multiple states are warning people to think twice before venturing onto the ice.“There are no guarantees. Always consider ice to be potentially dangerous,” the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife wrote in ice safety guidelines posted online. “You can’t judge ice conditions by appearance or thickness alone; many other factors like water depth, size of waterbody, water chemistry, currents, snow cover, age of ice, and local weather conditions impact ice strength.”Brrrrrrr! Winter is DEFINITELY here... make sure to stay safe and take a few moments to review these ice safety tips and ice thickness guidelines before venturing out for ice fishing or an afternoon skate! https://t.co/hoHn34dGqc #MassWildlife #DFG #MassFishHunt— MA. Fish & Game (@MassDFG) December 29, 2017 Advertisement Temperatures throughout the region Saturday will be frigid. A high of 20 degrees is forecast for Boston, with a low of 9 at night and wind chills below zero, according to the National Weather Service. Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Providence will see similar temperatures, while Manchester, N.H. will be even colder, with a low of 4 degrees at night, the service said.Authorities urge residents who wish to head out onto icy lakes and ponds to use an ice chisel or similar instrument to make a hole in the ice, and use a tape measure to determine its thickness.The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says 4 Continue Reading

State: Ice isn’t safe at state parks for fishing or skating

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Despite bitter temperatures, the ponds at Rhode Island state parks are not considered safe for ice fishing, skating or other winter activities.The state Department of Environmental Management says there’s “no safe ice” in the parks as of Friday.The agency does not monitor ice conditions for other bodies of water in local communities.Ice must have a uniform thickness of at least six inches before it may be considered safe by DEM. That generally takes at least five to seven consecutive days of temperatures in the low 20s.DEM says it also considers the size and depth of a pond, presence of currents and local temperature fluctuations.The state plans to start stocking ponds with trout for ice fishing in late January.The department has published an ice safety guide .  Continue Reading

Rhode Island plans a free hike for New Year’s Day

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state has planned a free hike for the public on New Year’s Day.Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management is offering a guided walking tour of Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island.The event is part of the annual First Day Hikes program, an effort by all 50 state park systems to encourage people to start the new year in a healthy way and enjoy nature.The National Association of State Park Directors says more than 50,000 people took part last New Year’s Day.In Rhode Island, hikers will explore the state park on a one-mile tour that’s expected to take two hours. The group is assembling at noon.Registration is encouraged. For more information or to register, contact the Department of Environmental Management.  Continue Reading

Exclusive: The Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan

In the next five years, millions of acres of America’s public lands and waters, including some national monuments and relatively pristine coastal regions, could be auctioned off for oil and gas development, with little thought for environmental consequences. That’s according to a leaked draft, obtained by The Nation, of the Department of the Interior’s strategic vision: It states that the DOI is committed to achieving “American energy dominance” through the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. Alarmingly, the policy blueprint—a 50-page document—does not once mention climate change or climate science. That’s a clear departure from current policy: The previous plan, covering 2014–18, referred to climate change 46 times and explicitly stated that the department was committed to improving resilience in those communities most directly affected by global warming. Interior’s new strategic plan fits within a broader effort by the Trump administration to marginalize climate-science research. (DOI did not respond to questions about the draft.) Last week the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly withdrew two of its scientists and a contractor from a conference in Rhode Island, where they were due to address the impacts of climate change on coastal waters. EPA websites have also been scrubbed of most references to climate change. At Interior and the Department of Energy, scientists have been discouraged from referring to climate change in grant proposals or press releases. Earlier this month Joel Clement, a top policy adviser and climate scientist at DOI, resigned after being transferred to an accounting position, where he was assigned to collect royalties from the oil and gas industry. Clement, who had spoken out about the impacts of climate change on Native American communities in Alaska, alleges that his reassignment was politically motivated. Understanding the Continue Reading

Rhode Island beach evacuated after possible explosion injures woman

A Rhode Island beach has been evacuated after a 50-year-old woman was injured in a possible explosion Saturday, officials said. It had been a perfect day for the beach before a boom sent the woman out of her chair and into a rock wall at Salty Brine beach in Narragansett around 11:15 a.m., witnesses said. Authorities said they're still trying to figure out what happened. "There is no real evidence of a device so we are still trying to piece this together as far as what could have caused this explosion," Kurt Blanchard of the Rhode Island Environment Police told CNN.  The incident does not appear to be the work of terrorism, Larry Mouradjian, of the Department of Environmental Management, told the Providence Journal.  A bomb squad is investigating the scene, and samples of the beach are being taken after some witnesses reported a chemical smell. A "loud deep rumbling" preceded the blast, which caused the woman to fly six feet in the air and land on her head, said Dave Dean, a Providence radio host who was at the beach at the time. The victim was "trapped" under a pile of rocks before she was transported to a hospital, Rayna Maguire, spokeswoman for the department of emergency management, said. Her condition was not immediately clear, although WPRI reported she was conscious as she was moved. No other injuries were immediately reported. "It felt like an earthquake or a gas explosion," Dean said in a Facebook video. "Everyone that was in the water actually felt it."  "There is a big hole in the ground at the edge of the water," he wrote. Mario Lewis of West Greenwich told the Providence Journal he did not see smoke or debris but said, "it was like an M-80 boom, like a grenade." Authorities investigated witness reports of a suspect placing an object beneath the sand before fleeing, only to learn the person had simply dumped a bag of seashells, Mouradjian said. This news is Continue Reading

Can you imagine NJ coast with hundreds of turbines? Feds are

Imagine the New Jersey coastline dotted with hundreds of wind turbines taller than a football field and generating enough wind energy to power more than a million homes.This vision moved a step forward Wednesday when the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it will auction 344,000 acres offshore of New Jersey for wind energy development.The lease site is about the length of the southern half of the state's coastline."They're not going to be plunked down in the water in the next year. There's going to be a four- or five-year environmental review period before they go in," said Paul J. Gallagher Sr., the chief operating officer for Fishermen's Energy.Fishermen's Energy, founded by New Jersey commercial fishermen to develop offshore wind energy projects, is one of 13 energy development companies that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has pre-qualified to participate in the lease sale Nov. 9.Several of the companies are based in New Jersey; one has foreign roots; and the rest are located in the U.S.The site starts  seven miles offshore and lies entirely in federal waters, which span from three to 200 miles off the coast. It stretches from Harvey Cedars in the north to Cape May in the south.Offshore wind energy has been lauded by some environmental groups as an answer to fossil fuel dependence, but it has been slow to develop in New Jersey.Wednesday's announcement from the Department of the Interior has many of these groups hopeful that wind energy is finally going to be delivered."Wind doesn't spill. The biggest promise of offshore wind is it can power New Jersey with a clean, renewable energy source. It's a vital part of transitioning off of fossil fuels," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.If fully developed, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area could support Continue Reading

@ISSUE: Christie: An environmental disaster?

Gov. Chris Christie has received mostly poor marks on his environmental record from New Jersey environmental groups. We asked the heads of two of those groups, Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, and Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, to critique Christie’s record over the past six-plus years: What he has done well and not so well, and what would they like to see a successor do. To say the New Jersey environmental community has been a critic of Gov. Christie would be an understatement, but how do his actions compare to what you expected when he first took office?O’Malley: We had no illusions that a Christie administration was going to be environmentally friendly. From his first executive orders and administration appointments, it was clear that he was going to work to undo much of the environmental progress New Jersey had made over the previous decade. What wasn’t as obvious is how quickly Christie’s star would rise on the national scene — and how much he would start catering to a national conservative base. Potomac fever can be a dangerous affliction, especially when Christie started touting his record of environmental rollbacks on the campaign trail. His legacy will be cemented as a highly unpopular political opportunist, and environmental protections, from water quality to climate change, have been among his largest victims.Tittel: We always thought he would be bad on the environment but he turned out to be much worse. During the campaign there were warning flags when he attacked the Department of Environmental Protection and regulations. He first told people what they wanted to hear, talking about renewable energy, opposing LNG and protecting Barnegat Bay. But it proved to be rhetoric since right after he was elected he showed his anti-environmental agenda by stacking his transition team with lobbyists and lawyers who worked for polluters. We thought that he might be bad on Continue Reading