Protect Narragansett Bay
We should be doing everything we can to protect Narragansett Bay. But shortsighted Supreme Court decisions have left streams that feed the Bay—and help keep it clean—vulnerable to pollution. Polluters are pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency to back down from efforts to close the loopholes, so Environment Rhode Island is fighting back.
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
This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to close the loopholes in the Clean Water Act. This could be the single largest step taken for clean water in more than a decade. But big polluters are pressuring the EPA to back down. They’ve threatened “legal warfare,” and made false claims, including one that the EPA wants to “regulate mud puddles.”
Our plan to defend our rivers and streams
It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose, and with them downstream waterways like the Bay. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Rhode Islanders from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean.
For several years, 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 drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about our waterways to get involved.
- More than half of Rhode Island’s streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development.
- There are more than 100 beach closings or advisories in Rhode Island every year.
- Thousands of Rhode Islanders have already joined our call to protect the Bay.