AG Neronha Urges Action On CRMC Legislation

At a news conference last week Attorney General Peter Neronha urged the General Assembly to move ahead with legislation aimed at overhauling the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). We have been writing about this for a few years and were happy to learn that Neronha was taking part in crafting the legislation this session. As it stands now, the CRMC does have a professional staff with degrees in engineering, marine biology, and environmental sciences, but all decisions are made by a 10-member council of political appointees who need no particular expertise.

Alex Kuffner writes in the ProJo:

At a news conference Wednesday, Neronha reiterated his support for bills that would do away with the group of political appointees that rule on applications before the Coastal Resources Management Council and put power in the hands of agency staff who have expertise in engineering, geology and other relevant fields.

The legislation would abolish the 10-member council of appointees elevating the agency to the Department of Coastal Resources, a department within state government, with an in-house attorney!  Long overdue. Kuffner notes:

Appointees, who are nominated by the governor and approved by the Senate, have included in recent years a dental hygienist and the head of a chain of physical therapy offices.

And at one point, a liquor store owner. This agency is too important to be run by unqualified supporters and cronies.

Save the Bay Executive Director Topher Hamblett hosted the event at their Fields Point headquarters (seen here), along with Sen. Victoria Gu (Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (Middletown, Portsmouth), lead sponsors of the bill. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Senate Majority Leader Ryan Pearson have signed on as co-sponsors.

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