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Rhode Island Gets $977K in Recovery Act Funds to Help Clean Up Underground Petroleum Leaks, Create Jobs, Protect Land and Water

Release Date: 07/27/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – July 27, 2009) – In an effort to protect people where they live, work and play, EPA is announcing $977,000 to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to assess and clean up underground storage tank petroleum leaks.

The greatest potential hazard from a leaking underground storage tank is that the petroleum or other hazardous substances seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly one-third of all Americans.

“We’re providing immediate growth opportunities for communities across the nation, as well as long-term protection from dangerous pollution in the land and water,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA is putting people to work by serving our core mission of protecting human health and the environment.”

This money is part of $197 million appropriated under the Recovery Act to address shovel-ready sites nationwide contaminated by petroleum from leaking underground storage tanks. The funds will be used for overseeing assessment and cleanup of leaks from underground storage tanks or directly paying for assessment and cleanup of leaks from federally regulated tanks where the responsible party is unknown, unwilling or unable to finance, or the cleanup is an emergency response.

EPA regional underground storage tank programs will enter into cooperative agreements with RI DEM in summer 2009. These cooperative agreements will include more detailed descriptions of state spending plans.

“The Recovery Act is providing nearly $10 million across New England to speed up the important work of assessing and cleaning up underground storage tank leaks,” said Ira W. Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “This is an investment with real dividends: healthy communities, a clean environment and good-paying jobs.”

"I commend the EPA and DEM for their vigilance in improving the quality of our drinking water and the protecting of our environment, and this grant will allow the state to further clean up dangerous old, underground storage tanks," said Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri. "Protecting and improving our environment is improving and protecting our quality of life."

"This new EPA grant provides an additional financial resource for DEM's efforts to assess and clean up petroleum releases from leaking underground storage tank sites in RI, particularly those in sensitive areas where investigation and remediation have stalled due to the owner's lack of resources," noted RI DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan, PhD.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can visit Recovery.gov to see how every dollar is being invested.

More information:

Recovery efforts and the environment in New England (www.epa.gov/region1/eparecovery/)

EPA information on underground storage tanks (www.epa.gov/swerust1/index.htm)

National EPA Recovery Act underground storage tank efforts (www.epa.gov/swerust1/eparecovery/index.htm)

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