Rhode Island looks to protect woodlands from solar farms

Meg Kerr, senior director of policy for Audubon in Rhode Island. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

COVENTRY, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would help protect woodlands from being cleared to make way for solar farms.

The Providence Journal reports that the legislation is similar to what the state has already done to protect farmland or wetlands.

Meg Kerr, senior director of policy for Audubon in Rhode Island, says recent proposals for energy projects in rural areas prompted the proposed Woodland Preservation and Stewardship Act.

The bill introduced by Cranston Democratic Rep. Arthur Handy and North Kingstown Democratic Sen. Bridget Valverde would put together an advisory board to identify critical forest areas and make recommendations for forest stewardship to cities and towns.

Opponents of the proposal say it would lead to more land taken off the tax rolls and infringe on the rights of property owners.

 

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