EPA

John Bender / RIPR

Over the years, the state has slashed budgets across all government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Management. This agency, tasked with protecting the environment, has seen a decline in staffing. Environmental advocates say these cuts have weakened and slowed enforcing environmental laws and regulations.   

Earlier this year, residents packed a small room at the Statehouse for a hearing about a zoning bill. They complained to lawmakers about industrial pollution from a quarry in Westerly. Residents blame the DEM for poor monitoring and enforcement.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The regional head of the environmental protection agency said Rhode Island is doing state-of-the-art planning for climate change threats.  Curt Spalding spent Wednesday seeing firsthand the tools coastal managers have already put into place.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region is in Rhode Island Wednesday. Curt Spalding will survey parts of the state, to see which are at risk to storms and increased sea level rise.

For two days, the EPA’s Curt Spalding will tour areas in Westerly, South Kingstown, North Kingstown and Warwick. The idea behind the tour is twofold: to examine at-risk areas, and share ideas and existing tools for how to plan for rising seas and more violent storms.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has received more than $2.7 million to clean up contaminated properties in Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly.

Senator Jack Reed says these federal grants awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program will help local governments protect public health and redevelop former industrial sites for better use. Reed says it’ll also benefit the economy by creating jobs and increasing the value of surrounding properties.

Rhode Island is one of eight states that are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency for protection from out-of-state polluters.

The multi-state action is directed at Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

The petition cites decades of inaction by these so-called ‘upwind’ states and asks the EPA to require them to join a compact of states committed to reducing pollution.

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