R 278
2001-H 6381
Enacted 6/14/2001

H  O  U  S  E     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Representatives Ginaitt, Naughton, Moura, Fox and Giannini Date Introduced:   May 3, 2001

WHEREAS, The Providence River shipping channel and harbor have shoaled substantially since they were last dredged in 1971 and continue to shoal; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Coast Guard, as a result of the shoaling and loss of depth and width in the channel and harbor, has placed restrictions on vessel traffic in the channel and harbor; and

WHEREAS, The shoaling and restrictions on navigation established by the Coast Guard limit the size of vessels that can serve Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island is dependent on petroleum products brought in by ship and by barge for transportation, for industrial and commercial uses, and for residential heating; and

WHEREAS, Currently many vessels that bring petroleum products into the Port of Providence must incur tidal delays or lightload or lighter product which raises the cost; and

WHEREAS, A consolidation among oil companies supplying oil and petroleum products to Rhode Island has resulted in a reduction in storage capacity in Rhode Island that places Rhode Island at greater risk of petroleum shortages; and

WHEREAS, Suppliers serving Rhode Island have shifted to greater reliance on "just-in-time" deliveries to avoid holding inventories and incurring economic losses due to backwardation of oil prices; and

WHEREAS, "Just-in-time" deliveries increase the risk to Rhode Island of running out of petroleum due to a shortage of vessels available to supply Rhode Island or adverse weather making it difficult for vessels, especially barges, to come to Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, In the winter of 1999-2000, Rhode Island was on the verge of running out of heating oil because of shortages of supplies and weather conditions, and in December 2000 Rhode Island was down to a one and one-half day supply in the Providence terminals, although a ship carrying oil was moored off Jamestown but of too great a draft to proceed up the shipping channel and re-supply Providence; and

WHEREAS, The requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the retirement of vessels likely to occur due to their age is projected to reduce the general availability of vessels to serve ports during this decade, thus increasing the risk to ports that cannot be served by a range of different sized vessels that they will not be able to receive "just-in-time" shipments; and

WHEREAS, Dredging the channel to a lesser depth than the Congressionally authorized depth of forty feet would reduce the number of vessels that could serve Rhode Island, thus increasing risks to public health, safety and well-being, and would increase the needed frequency of dredging; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations respectfully requests the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve dredging to the authorized forty foot depth in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Providence River and Harbor Maintenance Dredging Project; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to send a certified copy of this resolution to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to each of the members of Rhode Island's congressional delegation.

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