The Honorable Robert Jacquard

Chair, House Committee on Corporations

Rhode Island State House

May 15, 2018




Dear Chair Jacquard and Members of the House Committee on Corporations:


The members of Climate Action RI are dismayed and outraged by H.8020, a hurried attempt to benefit one developer and campaign donor at the expense of the health and safety of the general public. We urge the committee to reject the bill.


Climate Action RI is the Rhode Island affiliate of, an international organization devoted to solving the climate crisis through urgent and steep cuts to carbon pollution. Our local group, just over one year old, now comprises over 500 Rhode Islanders demanding climate action.


We submit the following facts for the committee’s consideration:


Fact #1: Biomass incineration is not a low-carbon power source. Multiple peer-reviewed studies have shown that burning wood emits 50% more CO2 per megawatt generated than even coal [1]. That is why biomass was specifically excluded from the 2011 net metering bill.


Fact #2: Biomass incineration releases dangerous soot and other air pollutants. If this bill passes, Rhode Island children will experience more asthma, and Rhode Island adults will experience more cases of lung disease and stroke.


Fact #3: This bill specifies no pollution restrictions. It specifies no limits on emissions, on the types of biomass that are eligible, or on the cleanliness of the incinerator inputs.


Fact #4: This bill is designed to benefit one developer, a prolific campaign donor, giving it the stench of a backroom deal. The Providence Journal reported in 2016 that Mark DePasquale’s family and employees had given over $64,000 to House leaders. It appears that Mr. DePasquale’s quid pro quo is a fast-tracked change to the law that benefits his new venture.


In the interests of public policy, public health, environmental stewardship, and good government, the committee should emphatically reject H.8020.




Justin A. Boyan

President, Climate Action RI


[1] New Study: Biomass Energy Has Big Climate Impact Even Under Best Case Scenario