Ruggiero to lead CRMC study commission


STATE HOUSE – Rep. Deborah Ruggiero has been elected chairwoman of the newly organized House commission to study the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Created by legislation (2021-H 6252) sponsored by Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), the 15-member commission is to comprehensively study and provide recommendations for the reorganization of the CRMC and issue its findings and recommendations by April 1, 2022.

The CRMC is the state’s lead agency reviewing proposals for 19 coastal communities and is charged with offshore wind projects, dredging, development, marinas and aquaculture. 

“Our commission is going to review the process for coastal management procedures, the scope of CRMC’s work, and listen, identify and assess opportunities to make CRMC better for the future of Rhode Island and its residents. This will not be a look back at past CRMC decisions, especially since some of those decisions are in litigation. This is about looking to the future. We will make policy decisions based on facts, data, and science to better ensure coastal development in the Ocean State. The process must be consistent, fair, safe and sustainable for generations to come,” said Chairwoman Ruggiero.

At the commission’s first meeting Wednesday, its members also elected Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) vice chairman. Other members include Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), Rep. Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry), Save The Bay Director of Advocacy Topher Hamblett, Jamestown Town Administrator Jamie Hainsworth; Exeter Town Planner William DePasquale Jr.; Newport City Manager Joe Nicholson Jr., Rhode Island Builders Association designee David Baud, Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association President Richard Hittinger, Rhode Island Shellfisherman’s Association President Michael McGiveney, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography Dean Paula Bontempi, Audubon Society of Rhode Island Executive Director Lawrence Taft, New Shoreham Town Councilor Sven Risom and Westerly Town Planner Nancy Letendre.

The commission has scheduled its next two meetings:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. at Seaman’s Church Institute, 18 Market Square, Newport. This meeting will feature a presentation by CRMC Executive Director Jeff Willis on the work of the CRMC, the staff, and issues before the CRMC.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 2 Jamestown Town Hall, 93 Narragansett Ave., Jamestown. This meeting will be a presentation by CRMC on the Bay Special Area Management Plan (Bay SAMP) and aquaculture.