General Assembly passes bill that makes renewable energy exemptions in land use change tax for farmlands
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) that would create an exemption to the land use change tax for farmlands that establish renewable energy systems. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
The legislation (2017-S 0570A, 2017-H 6095Aaa) 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 Committee on Environment and Agriculture, “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.
“After hearing from several interested parties who were concerned about the disappearance of Rhode Island farmland, the original legislation was amended to make the exemption on no more than 20 percent of land,” said Representative Handy, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. “That way, we’ll encourage renewable energy without risking entire farms being changed over to commercial use.”
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903