Environment
8:28 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Advocates Protest Legislation Allowing Schools on Toxic Sites

Environmental advocates gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday to protest legislation that would roll back restrictions that prevent schools from building on toxic sites.

The woman who helped lobby for the federal superfund program, Lois Gibbs, spoke to a small group of demonstrators on the capitol steps. Gibbs brought attention to the Love Canal toxic site in Upstate New York back in the 70s. She is lending her star power to fight legislation that would allow schools to be built on sites where toxic vapors could be present. She said the bill would gut a new state law that serves as a national model.

“The current legislation that you passed, that they are trying to gut or change, is extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary."

Gibbs said that legislation established the most stringent school building codes in the nation. A main sponsor of the legislation allowing school construction on sites with possible toxic vapors, Representative John Edwards of Tiverton, did not return our phone calls. Rhode Island Mayoral Academies support Edwards’ legislation. It says it would allow them to convert the former Red Farm Studios in Pawtucket into another Blackstone Valley Prep Charter School. The environmental advocacy group, Clean Water Action, says work was put on hold due to toxic substances found at the site.

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