Rhode Island State House

The House of Representatives today approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson asking the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to issue a report on the impact the new federal administration’s cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have on Rhode Island’s ability to preserve its environment and enforce current statutes.

In the budget blueprint he proposed earlier this month, the president slashed the EPA’s budget by $2.6 billion, a cut of more than 31 percent from its current level of $8.2 billion.

“Reductions of this magnitude in personnel and monetary resources are sure to strain the EPA’s ability to preserve and protect the natural resources all Americans rely upon for their drinking water, clean air, and recreational opportunities. Cuts of this size seem sure to have a negative impact on the ability to preserve Rhode Island’s precious resources,” the resolution says.

According to information provided by the state Auditor General’s office, more than $21 million of DEM’s $73.8 million budget (based on fiscal year 2016 expenditures) — 28.6 percent — comes from federal sources. About 21 percent of the state agency’s personnel costs are federally funded.

The resolution (2017-H 5317) asks DEM to report its initial findings to the House by April 20.

Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) said she would like to know specifics about how the cuts will affect DEM as soon as possible to inform citizens about the effects these cuts could have on programs they use, and to provide lawmakers with critical information as they prepare the 2018 state budget.

“It’s easy to feel disconnected to news about federal budget cuts, but when those cuts mean drastic cuts to programs at the local level, people are going to experience them firsthand. If federal funds are cut for programs that support the maintenance of parks and recreation and wastewater treatment plants, for example, Rhode Islanders will feel the loss,” said Representative Carson. “Before Congress passes any form of that budget, citizens in Rhode Island should know just how it will affect them. Rhode Islanders appreciate our natural resources. People will be interested in what’s at stake for our environment and our communities if the administration’s proposal moves forward.”

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.