Date: August 16, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Republican Representatives Calls Upon Governor Raimondo to Reschedule Meeting Which Severely Impacts Farmers
RHODE ISLAND -- Members of the RI House Minority Caucus are calling upon Governor Gina M. Raimondo to require RI DEM Director Janet Coit, to reschedule a meeting which will severely impact farmers, to a date more convenient to the farming community.
On Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. the RI DEM is conducting a “Farmland Acquisition Rules and Regulations” workshop. There is concern among Republicans that the workshop is an effort to bring the small business farms in Rhode Island under state control and to divert the money to future efforts to advance the administration's RhodeMapRI agenda which will have a devastating impact on the rural towns in Rhode Island.
According to Representative Sherry Roberts (R-District 29 Coventry, West Greenwich), “I see this as nothing more than a power property grab by the state of Rhode Island. I believe this meeting was unfairly scheduled, during a time when most farmers will not be able to attend, because they will be participating in the Washington County Fair - one of the most important events of the year to the farming community here in Rhode Island.”
Representative Michael Chippendale (R - District 40, Coventry, Foster, Glocester) added, "at a time when our small local farms are already struggling tremendously under the pressures of a stalled economy, increasing regulatory burdens and a shrinking marketplace, I feel that there should have been a better effort by the administration to ensure that those people most affected by these policy changes are actually able to attend this important meeting. I don't know if the oversight by the administration is intentional, but they are conducting an informational meeting at a time when the people who will bear the impact of this policy cannot be in attendance, and that is just wrong."
Representative Roberts went further, “I am asking the Governor to ask RI DEM Director Janet Coit to find a more appropriate time to conduct the workshop, so all farmers and interested parties may participate. The state should be helping small family farms advance their efforts to grow and prosper, not destroying their right to make a living in an industry they know and love.”
Representative Chippendale offers a solution, "Simply reschedule this meeting, or schedule additional meetings in the beginning of September to allow the hard-working members of RI's farming community to attend the workshop and get an understanding of just exactly how these new Rules and Regulations are going to impact their businesses."
Representative Robert A. Nardolillo (R-District 28 Coventry) echoes the sentiments of his fellow caucus members saying, “This issue is about protecting the rights of land owners and making sure the state does not overstep its authority. Elected officials are responsible to the taxpayers we represent, and I am working to make sure farmers are not overly burdened with unnecessary regulations.”