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Save The Bay Welcomes Federal Action Against RI Department of Transportation

PROVIDENCE, RI –  Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a comprehensive enforcement action against the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to reduce pollution and resolve longstanding Clean Water Act violations related to operations of its stormwater drainage systems. On behalf of Save The Bay and its supporters, Executive Director Jonathan Stone welcomes federal action that will compel the state to make long overdue investments in cleaning up polluted runoff.

“Runoff is a major source of pollution to Narragansett Bay, and we are pleased that RIDOT is finally being held accountable for knowing where its own storm drains are, for cleaning and maintaining its stormwater collection system, and for taking actions that will reduce the flow of contaminants from our state roads into Narragansett Bay,” Stone said.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) first notified RIDOT of Clean Water Act violations in 2005.  “It is embarrassing that two state agencies have been aware that the state has been violating the Clean Water Act for nearly a decade and that only under federal pressure is RIDOT now taking action. Nearly 10 years of inaction has polluted the Bay and may now cost the taxpayers directly in the form of a $315,000 fine,” Stone said.

“This federal action against RIDOT is a wake-up call. It’s a clear message to invest in keeping the bay clean and that enforcement of environmental law matters,” Stone said. “Investments in clean water and environmental enforcement require political will. We call on the Governor and the General Assembly to invest in upgrading our stormwater infrastructure and to support DEM’s enforcement of laws that protect Narragansett Bay.”

 

 

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