House leaders announced they will not take up a bill that would clear the way for “advanced recycling” plants that use the high-heat process known as pyrolysis to turn plastic into fuel. On June 7, a divided Senate voted 19 to 14 for the “advanced recycling” bill, which environmental groups said would set back Rhode Island’s progress in addressing climate change and matters of environmental justice.

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, and House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski, a Providence Democrat, issued a joint statement, saying the bill is effectively dead this year “The House will not be considering legislation this year that adds advanced recycling as a definition for refuse disposal,” the House leaders said. “We are a member-driven body, and our members have spoken to us loudly and clearly that they have serious unresolved questions about this bill. We have had the best year ever regarding environmental legislation, and we do not want to take a step backward by passing this bill.”

For example, they said the Assembly has passed, or is about to pass, legislation that establishes the strongest renewable energy standard in the country, increases offshore wind capacity, reduces the use of plastic bags, and sets limits for “forever chemicals” in water and packaging. In response, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio issued a statement saying, “We respect the House’s position on this bill, and we look forward to continuing to work productively with them to enact strong environmental legislation.”

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Author: Edward Fitzpatrick, Boston Globe
Image: Edward Fitzpatrick, Boston Globe