In my district in Newport, it is easy to see the importance and value of the Narragansett Bay and all our precious coastal resources. The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) was created by the General Assembly in 1971 as a means to protect, restore and responsibly develop coastal lands because lawmakers recognized that these areas are as vulnerable as they are critical to the identity, economy and environmental integrity of the Ocean State.

In the half-century since, much has changed, and our interest in protecting our coastal resources has intensified under pressure from higher population, greater understanding of environmental issues and of course, rising seas. It is for that reason that the General Assembly this year has committed to studying CRMC to determine whether we could improve its effectiveness at stewarding one of our most critical resources.

I’m proud to be a member of this study commission, which is currently meeting around the state and collecting input about how CRMC serves the people of Rhode Island. Led by my dedicated colleague, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), we have been diving deep into CRMC’s jurisdiction, the qualifications required of those who serve on it, and its policies to ensure fairness and transparency and balance the competing interests of development and conservation. I am very grateful to Chairwoman Ruggiero and my fellow commission members, as well as to the CRMC staff and others who have helped us in this exploration. I am looking forward to future meetings that will be scheduled soon to provide the public opportunities to weigh in on their priorities for CRMC and the future of coastal management in the Ocean State. We hope to wrap up our study by the start of the 2022 legislative session in January so we can offer legislation to implement recommended changes.

As a representative for Newport, I am keenly aware of the high stakes of appropriate coastal management. Whether CRMC is studying sea rise or making decisions on permits or harbor plans, its work is important, and I am dedicated to ensuring it is performed with the highest standards. I invite anyone is who would like to discuss this study to either contact me at rep-carson@rilegislature.gov or at (401) 523-1143, or to testify at our public hearings when they are announced.  

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).