2016-04-14 / Opinion


Modified Decree Will Pay Dividends

To the Editor:

We wish to announce that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Environment Rhode Island, and the undersigned Newport residents have reached agreement with the City of Newport on modifications to the court-ordered consent decree having to do with required efforts to significantly reduce the combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and storm water discharges into the surrounding waters of the City of Newport. This is an enormously beneficial achievement that will pay dividends now and in the future in any number of ways (beaches, sailing, boat/pier swimming, vistas, etc.)

These modifications state an explicit focus on stormwater control and an explicit reference to important interim benchmarks (significant reductions in CSO events and in CSO volume) that are anticipated to be achieved by 2019. Further, the City of Newport is required to take additional actions to attain these benchmarks if they are not realized in a timely manner.

The undersigned citizen plaintiffs wish to thank John Rumpler of Environment Rhode Island for joining our suit and the DEM for their participation in all of the plans and negotiations resulting in the modified consent decree. We wish to acknowledge the efforts of the City of Newport in reaching agreement on these important issues. But most especially we wish to thank and recognize the EPA, which has so effectively led the way in securing the implementation of the consent decree and in addition has provided the city with much assistance in arriving at a plan that will be in full compliance with federal and state regulations. Lastly, we are also most grateful for the ongoing professional advice and guidance provided to us by Chuck Caldart of the National Environmental Law Center, who has represented us throughout these negotiations.

Henry Rosemont Jr.
David Wixted
Ted Wrobel
Citizen Plaintiffs

Editor’s Note: Through a 2011 consent decree with the federal government, the City of Newport agreed to remedy violations of the Clean Water Act by developing and implementing improvements to its wastewater collection system and treatment plant. The above-referenced modification with new timelines was agreed to by all parties in December of 2015.

Compassionate Volunteers

To the Editor:

I want to shine a light on the more than 430,000 trained volunteers that gave more than 19 million hours of service last year. Who is this army of volunteers serving? It would be hospices across the U.S. – more specifically, patients and families nearing the end of life.

Right here in our community, 36 trained volunteers are working with Hospice at VNS and are giving selflessly to help people live as fully as possible, even at the end of life. Our community is a better more compassionate place because of their service.

April 10 – 16 is National Volunteer Week and every single volunteer deserves our appreciation and grateful acknowledgement.

Even when you're dying, there can be a lot of living to do. Hospice volunteers make more special moments possible for the patients and families they serve every day.

I encourage others to learn more about hospice by contacting Hospice at VNS at 401-682-2100 or vnsri.org.

Melanie J. McGinn, RN, CHPN
Hospice and Palliative Care

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