Protect Narragansett Bay

Narragansett Bay at risk

Whether we’re fishing off Point Judith, swimming at First Beach or sailing along the coast, Narragansett Bay is a huge part of what we love about Rhode Island. Yet the Bay’s waters face serious pollution — from sewage overflows, development, unrestricted pollution and more. Environment Rhode Island is working to rein in the pollution, and restore Narragansett Bay to health.

Too often, we’ve seen our beaches closed due to high pollution levels, with hundreds of beach closures in recent years. The Department of Health also warns against swimming in the Upper Bay because of sewage pollution.

Clean Water Act loopholes leave half of our streams unprotected

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to strip Clean Water Act protections from small streams and wetlands.

More than half of Rhode Island’s streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development as a result. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it. And it’s not just small streams and wetlands that will suffer — these waterways are the same ones that feed the Bay and help to keep it clean.

The EPA can protect the Bay

The Environmental Protection Agency is moving to update clean water standards to reduce pollution in Narragansett Bay, but polluters and their allies in Congress are trying to block them. We need to show overwhelming public support for tough clean water standards to protect the Bay and all of our waterways.

This spring, we and our allies across the country submitted more than 170,000 petitions to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to restore protections to all of our waters and cut sewage pollution. In April, she announced a plan to do just that.

But polluters’ allies in Congress won’t give up — and now they’re threatening to stop the EPA from doing its job. At the same time, powerful corporate interests are preparing for battle: ExxonMobil threatened “legal warfare” if the EPA moves forward with its plan to restore Clean Water Act protections.

Our plan to defend Narragansett Bay

We refuse to let polluters and their allies in Congress open our precious waterways to more dumping and development. We’re bringing together Rhode Islanders from all walks of life to protect the Bay. From anglers to sailing enthusiasts, clergy to scientists, local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean.

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the state, educating Rhode Islanders about what’s at stake. But if we’re going to push past ExxonMobil and other powerful polluters, we’re going to need everyone who cares about the Bay to get involved. Join our campaign by sending the EPA a message today.


Clean Water Updates

News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Environmental groups hail EPA action as biggest step for clean water in a decade

Coming off the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, Environment Rhode Island stood with regional organizations and officials to celebrate the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restore Clean Water Act protections to waterways across New England and the rest of the country. The EPA’s proposed rule would close loopholes from polluter-led litigation that leave 54% of Rhode Island streams at risk of unchecked pollution.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Narragansett Bay haunted by stormwater, trash, global warming

On Halloween, Environment Rhode Island released Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay, a fact sheet that compiles ten of the most "scary" realities facing Rhode Island’s most iconic waterway. The fact sheet comes on the heels of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of its intention to move forward with a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands across the country.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay

On Halloween, Environment Rhode Island released Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay, a fact sheet that compiles ten of the most "scary" realities facing Rhode Island’s most iconic waterway. The fact sheet comes on the heels of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of its intention to move forward with a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands across the country.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Obama Administration Should Use Sound Science to Protect Rhode Island’s Waterways

The Obama administration has taken a significant step forward in clarifying the science connecting America’s waterways and the drinking water for millions across the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board released a report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence, which reviews the scientific literature outlining the impact that small waterways have on larger bodies of water downstream. 

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Headline

Miranda Bertholet: Protect public lands

For everyone who loves Rhode Island's beaches, the new year -- and a new Congress -- could bring new promise that Rhode Island's beaches and public lands will be protected for generations to come.

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