Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said he generally supports the intent of a bill to reduce the state’s contribution to climate change, although he plans to review arguments for and against the legislation before deciding whether to back it.

State Rep. Lauren Carson (D-Newport), the sponsor in the House of Representatives, touts the Act on Climate as the most important environmental legislation to be considered by the House in 25 years.

But GOP lawmakers say they fear the bill – expected to win House approval on Tuesday – will impose costly mandates on Rhode Islanders to change their homes and businesses.

In an interview with The Public’s Radio, McKee, a Democrat, expressed skepticism about the Republicans’ concerns.

“We’ll look at that data and then we’ll determine how accurate it is,” he said. “I would feel as though it’s probably not as accurate as it’s being portrayed right now. But we’ll take a serious look at both sides of the argument and I think in general we support this effort in terms of lowering the carbon pollution.”

Carson described the Act on Climate as “a meaningful promise to our children that we will not keep destroying the earth they are inheriting.”

“It makes no costly, instant changes,” she said, “but requires our state to commit to a practical, 30-year strategy for embracing and phasing in the new, cleaner technologies that become more effective, available and affordable each year.”

In a statement, the House GOP charged that the bill “delegates to the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (ECCC) the dramatic and expansive legislative power to regulate all facets of Rhode Islander’s personal lives, businesses and municipalities, to achieve aggressive greenhouse gas emission reductions: 45 percent below 1990 emissions by 2030; 80 percent below 1990 emissions by 2040, and; net zero emissions by 2050.”

The GOP, which holds 10 of 75 seats in the Rhode Island House, said it plans to introduce an amendment Tuesday that would require legislative approval for any plans adopted by the ECCC before they are carried out by state agencies.

“As H5445 is currently written, no personal, business, state or municipal activity is off the table in order to achieve dramatic emissions reductions,” said House Minority Leader Blake Filippi of New Shoreham.

“And unlike traditional agency regulation making, H5445 makes clear that these regulations may be imposed no matter the financial impact on Rhode Island families and businesses. Such a broad delegation of legislative power to unelected agencies is repugnant to our core democratic values.”

The state Senate passed the Act on Climate, sponsored in that chamber by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Newport), last week.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi said the threat of climate change underscores the need to support the measure.

“According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the last seven years have been the warmest seven years in recorded history,” Shekarchi said in a statement.

“My home city of Warwick has 39 miles of coastline and about $200 million of commercial and residential property located in special flood hazard areas,” he added. “We are already seeing the impact of sea rise caused by climate change, and we need to act now. This legislation requires the state to create an enforceable plan to reduce emissions to levels that will help us avoid the worst consequences of rising temperatures and sea levels. It also increases accountability and transparency by requiring public metrics for monitoring emissions reductions and a robust process for public participation and input.”

Ian Donnis can be reached at idonnis@ripr.org. Follow him on Twitter @IanDon. Sign up here for his weekly RI politics and media newsletter.