96-S 3300

Passed in Senate

Jun. 6, 1996.


WHEREAS, The nation's shoreline and marine environment are invaluable and essential natural resources from which the people of this country continually derive and enjoy immeasurable recreational, industrial, commercial, and aesthetic benefits; and

WHEREAS, The nation's shoreline and marine environment are constantly used by and for industry, transportation, waste disposal, and other purposes including transport of oil and its byproducts; and

WHEREAS, The people of Rhode Island, its natural resources, and environment have recently suffered a severe environmental tragedy when the North Cape oil spill occurred on January 19, 1996; and

WHEREAS, The grounding and consequent oil spill involved an accident relating to the use of tug and barge system of oil transport in Rhode Island waters; and

WHEREAS, Towing vessels including tugs and barges have played and will continue to play an important part in these purposes; and

WHEREAS, Federal legislation predominates in the regulation of vessels involved in interstate commerce; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island Sound is now classified as inland waters according to the boundary lines established by the Coast Guard; and

WHEREAS, The Coast Guard allows oceangoing vessels transporting oil and hazardous materials along inland waters to be more heavily loaded and to be free of restrictions delineated in the Coastwide Loadline Act; and

WHEREAS, Oceangoing vessels allowed to be more heavily loaded sit deeper in the water and have less freeboard; and

WHEREAS, Oceangoing vessels moving outside inland waters are required to carry less cargo and to increase their reserve buoyancy to insure safety; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island Sound is a dangerous ocean environment that should not be traversed by deeply laden vessels that have only the reserve buoyancy and freeboard necessary for vessels traveling in a sheltered coastal environment characteristic of inland waters; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby memorializes the United States Coast Guard to remove the inland waters classification of Rhode Island Sound whereby Rhode Island's shoreline and marine environment will be protected and preserved for the present and future enjoyment and prosperity of the people of this nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the members of the Rhode Island delegation of the United States Congress, the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

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