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6/22/2017 Senate passes Sosnowski bill that makes renewable energy exemptions in land use change tax for farmlands
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would create an exemption to the land use change tax for farmlands that establish renewable energy systems.

The legislation (2017-S 0570A) would exempt no more than 20 percent of the total land acreage previously classified as farm, forest or open space land from a land use change tax if the change is for purposes of a commercial renewable energy system.

“Not only does this legislation encourage the creation of renewable energy systems in Rhode Island,” said Senator Sosnowski, who serves a chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee, “it also helps farmers who are having economic struggles to pursue an additional form of income. That benefits everybody: it encourages renewable energy and helps to preserve our farmland.”

Under the legislation, land which is actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use would be defined by rules and regulations established by the Department of Environmental Management in consultation with the Office of Energy Resources.

“The original bill was amended to make the exemption on no more than 20 percent of land so that we can encourage the continuation of these farms, rather than see entire parcels changed over to commercial use,” said Senator Sosnowski.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2017-H 6095A) introduced by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) has been approved by the House Municipal Government Committee.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903