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Three-Year Performance Partnership Agreement Will Boost Rhode Island’s Environmental Protection

Release Date: 02/20/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

Joint News Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Regional Office
Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management

(Boston, Mass. - Feb. 20, 2008) - A three-year performance partnership agreement between EPA’s New England regional office and the Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (RI DEM), worth nearly $8 million, gives Rhode Island’s environment a major boost.

“By reaching a three-year agreement on funding of these important environmental programs, we are better able to make strategic, long-term decisions that provide better protection for the health of citizens and our environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

“The agreement and associated funding are critical to maintaining our core programs for environmental protection in the state,” said RI DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan, PhD. “They include long-standing programs to protect and resource air and water resources, ensure the proper management of hazardous wastes and pesticides, and ensure the proper operation of underground storage tank systems.”

The agreement dedicates $7.9 million for environmental protection. Of that amount, EPA has awarded the state about $5.1 million to implement clear environmental goals over the next year, with $2.8 million as the state match. The partnership agreement between EPA and RI DEM focuses on clean air, protecting the state's water resources, and restoring ecosystems.

Examples of specific, measurable goals set forth in the agreement include:
- Conducting over 900 inspections of regulated facilities that require environmental permits including underground storage tanks, wetlands, solid waste management facilities, facilities that discharge in waterbodies, and facilities that use or sell pesticides;
- Re-issuing 11 major RI Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permits and re-issuing general permits for four existing discharge categories that include stormwater construction, non-contact cooling water, gasoline-contaminated groundwater, and #2 fuel oil-contaminated groundwater;
- Completing 37 studies that will identify potential water pollution sources and corrective actions in Rhode Island watersheds; and,
- Conducting 140 pre-application meetings for people needing assistance with environmental permits.

The partnership agreement also includes financial help for communities, such as a total of $700,000 for retrofitting vehicles to reduce emissions from diesel fumes and $440,000 for nonpoint source water pollution control projects.

Among other provisions of the partnership agreement, RI DEM will continue to monitor water quality conditions in Narragansett Bay, rivers, lakes and coastal waters that will assist in Rhode Island’s efforts to identify pollution problems and help move forward with cleanup efforts. The agreement also calls for RI DEM to revise the state’s solid waste regulations to promote recycling of commercially generated waste, and revise the state plan to meet the federal air pollution standard for ground-level ozone, a summertime pollutant that affects lungs.

This is the eighth performance partnership agreement that RI DEM has forged with EPA.

More information: The 3 year performance agreement (http://www.dem.ri.gov/pubs/index.htm)


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    Contacts:
    U.S. EPA: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
    RI DEM: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402