Calli Renovato-Anchor Staff
On Sep. 15, Governor Gina Raimondo signed executive order 17-10 which prioritizes the protection of Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline and its surrounding ecosystems.
The Ocean State may not be facing with Josè the same devastation that the Caribbean, Texas and Florida faced with Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria, but with this order from Gov. Raimondo ensures the safety of Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline and its residents.
In a press release sent out by Raimondo’s team regarding the executive order, U.S. Senator Jack Reed stated that “The Trump Administration is walking away from the issue of climate change. That means at the local and state level, we need to step up and I am pleased to see Rhode Island taking action.”
Considering the fact that our coast is extremely susceptible to erosion, sea level rise, wetland loss and coastal flooding, this executive order represents a much needed step in the right direction.
The executive order details the creation of a new position, Chief Resiliency Officer, whose main responsibilities include managing government collaborations with business, academic and nonprofit partners to plan key actions in making sure that Rhode Island is more resilient to climate change. Any plans initiated by the Chief Resiliency Officer will then be submitted to Gov. Raimondo by July 1, 2018 for approval.
Shaun O’Rourke, who is the director of Stormwater and Resiliency at Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, has been tapped to fill the post, and will be Rhode Island’s first Chief Resiliency Officer under the new program.
The Executive Order is just one of the many steps Rhode Island has taken to defend its coast and its residents against climate change under Raimondo’s watch. This past summer, Gov. Raimondo unveiled the first offshore commercial wind farm in the United States, located 3.8 miles off of the coast of Block Island. O’Rourke and the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council are planning ahead with this new action plan, to make sure that we can adapt to the changes climate change will bring.
To get involved in efforts to protect our environment at the state level, there will be a resiliency roundtable with O’Rourke at the Save The Day Center here in Providence this Wednesday, Sep. 27. For questions or to RSVP, contact email@example.com. You can also go to Climatechange.ri.gov for a list of events in October.