2012 -- S 2871

Enacted 05/31/12







     Introduced By: Senator John J. Tassoni

     Date Introduced: April 12, 2012




     WHEREAS, In the past, the United States has used unneeded ships as targets for military

exercises known as sinking exercises; and

     WHEREAS, Now the United States has devised an alternative means of disposing of

obsolete ex-military vessels that allows the vessels to serve in a productive capacity for fifty years

past their intended use; and

     WHEREAS, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 allows

appropriate obsolete ships to be donated for use as artificial reefs, which not only promotes

marine life and fishing, but also relieves pressure on natural ocean bottom features and reefs; and

     WHEREAS, The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) will coordinate the

federal agency solicitation and application for obtaining the vessels for use as artificial reefs; and

     WHEREAS, The donation and transfer application for all ex-military and MARAD ships

available for use as artificial reefs may be submitted only by states, commonwealths, and

territories and possessions of the United States, or municipal corporations or political

subdivisions thereof; and

     WHEREAS, The placements in Florida waters of the U.S.S. Spiegel Grove in 2002 and

the U.S.S Oriskany in 2006, and the U.S.S. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg in 2009 have already

provided substantial economic and ecologic benefit to the state, communities, and businesses in

the proximity of the placements; and

     WHEREAS, Each state within the United States with active Reefing Programs using ex-

military, MARAD, and other ships available for use as artificial reefs, formally reports marked

increases in permanent job creation and increased tax revenues through ecotourism, global media

attention, television productions, documentaries, and supporting industries; and

     WHEREAS, Since 1984, the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries has been involved

in an intensive program of artificial reef construction and biological monitoring, which includes

15 artificial reef sites. This network of artificial reefs provides a hard substrate for fish, shellfish

and crustaceans, fishing grounds for anglers, and underwater structures for scuba divers; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island has defined Marine recreation in the Ocean Special Area

Management Plan (SAMP), a collection of locations open to the public in Rhode Island and that

includes four themes: Marine Recreation in the SAMP area; Cruise Ship Tourism, Recreational

Activities Adjacent to the SAMP area; Cruise Ship Tourism, Recreational Activities Adjacent to

the SAMP area; and Economic and Non-Market Value of Recreation and Tourism in the SAMP

area. This resolution would add a new, fifth theme to the Ocean Special Area Management Plan,

a vessel Artificial Reef theme; and

     WHEREAS, The program provides a practical option for disposing of obsolete vessels in

a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner that can continue to promote ecotourism

associated with recreational diving and fishing in Rhode Island; now therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

respectfully requests the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to

adopt regulations regarding the placement of vessels in state waters to form artificial reefs and

development of a pilot program for the preparation and deployment of a specified obsolete vessel

in Rhode Island waters to serve as a model for the development of procedures for the placement

of such vessels in Rhode Island waters; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate respectfully requests the DEM to establish a pilot program

for the preparation and deployment of obsolete ex-military, MARAD, or other vessels in the

waters of Block Island Sound and shall, by January 1, 2014, and each year thereafter for a period

of five years, provide to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of

representatives an annual report on the success and outcomes, funding, and recommendations as

to whether the pilot program shall be continued, terminated, or expanded; 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 Governor and the Director of the Rhode

Island Department of Environmental Management.