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Governor McKee Endorses State Climate Panel's $2.6 Million Spending Plan

PROVIDENCE, RI Governor Dan McKee today endorsed action by the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) to approve a spending plan allocating $2.6 million across state partners to support Rhode Island's implementation of the Act on Climate law.

The EC4 is the panel statutorily charged with assessing state efforts to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, catalyzing government agencies to do their part in cutting GHGs, and strengthening the resilience of Rhode Island communities to prepare for the effects of climate change. The EC4 received its first-ever direct funding in the state budget approved by the Rhode Island General Assembly and signed into law by Governor McKee in June.

"With the approval of this funding, we are reinforcing Rhode Island's stride toward a climate-resilient future," said Governor McKee. "The EC4's plan aligns with the 2021 Act on Climate, while integrating climate efforts across state agencies. Together, we are charting a cleaner, more sustainable path forward for our state."

"The funding allocated in this first-ever EC4 budget is a balanced distribution of funds to agencies with a good split between resilience and reducing carbon emissions, as well as a balance between direct program support, capacity building, and engagement," said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director and Terry Gray. "We look forward to working collaboratively across all the agencies and offices on the EC4 to implement these key investments."

"The transportation sector accounts for a significant portion of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. The $1.1 million in funding will aid in supporting the DRIVE EV and Erika Niedowski Memorial E-bike rebate programs, accelerating the adoption of cleaner transportation, said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. "Additionally, the allocation of $150,000 will encourage municipal engagement in state energy programs, enhancing their capacity to secure state and federal energy funds for local projects aligning with the state's greenhouse gas emission reduction goals."

The EC4 funding will be spread across various Rhode Island agencies to support their climate efforts, including $1.1 million to support the continuation of the Office of Energy Resources (OER) DRIVE EV and E-bike rebate programs, referred to by Commissioner Kearns above. Also, OER will receive $150,000 to support municipalities' participation in state energy programs. DEM will receive $220,000 for investments in urban tree cover and to support statewide climate resilience priorities.

Other projects and efforts funded include support for the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. for outreach to the business community on investments in resilience and reducing emissions, support for the Department of Labor and Training for environmental education and workforce needs, and support for the RI Infrastructure Bank for its Energy Asset Management Program.

View the complete spending plan at https://climatechange.ri.gov/sites/g/files/xkgbur481/files/2023-09/ec4-spending-plan-table.pdf.

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