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5/18/2017 Senate OKs Fogarty bill to create DEM freshwater overseer
STATE HOUSE – The Senate has approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Paul W. Fogarty to create a new position within the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to coordinate the stewardship of freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in Rhode Island.

Senator Fogarty said he sponsored the bill because freshwater bodies are critical resources in the state, and having a person whose job it is to look out for them would help protect them.

“Especially in my district, but also all over the state, the lakes, ponds and rivers face threats like pollution and invasive species. We rely on these bodies of water for all kinds of recreation, for the beauty they bring to the environment, and for the water they hold that is such a critical part of our environment,” said Senator Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield). “Currently, responsibilities for freshwater protection are scattered around a number of offices at DEM. Having one person who oversees them all will ensure these efforts are coordinated and efficient and will assure Rhode Islanders that all of our water resources are being well cared for.”

The legislation (2017-S 0203A) would create the new position within the Fish and Wildlife Division of DEM. The legislation is supported by Save the Lakes, a statewide organization dedicated to preserving Rhode Island’s lakes, ponds and freshwater resources.

It is cosponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) and Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick).  

The bill will now head to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Cale P. Keable (D-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) is sponsoring companion legislation (2017-H 5174).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923