R.I. DEM is once again failing to do its job

On June 11, 2014, history began to repeat itself. On that date a meeting was held between members of the Concerned Citizens of Bradford and Charlestown and the Toxic Action Center (TAC), an environmental activist group based in Boston.

What history is being repeated? In 2005, the TAC, R.I. Public Interest Research Group (RIPIRG), and Sierra Club successfully filed a lawsuit against Bradford Dyeing Association (BDA) for air and water pollution. In that case, as in the Copar Quarries of Westerly case, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management was not effectively responding to complaints about BDA's air and water pollution, thus forcing the neighbors of BDA to take action.

RIPIRG's Matthew Auten worded it this way: "State and federal environmental regulators had given BDA a free pass for years."

In my opinion, the lawsuit won by Copar and Westerly Granite against Westerly gives Copar the same kind of "free pass" to pollute. Only thing different about Copar's "free pass" is it allows for the strip-mining and crushing of granite in the middle of a wetland surrounded by hundreds of homes. More importantly, Copar's "free pass" also allows it to "legally" emit tons of toxic "crystalline silica" dust, a known lung carcinogen.

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