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Environmental Advocacy Unit

The Environmental Advocacy Unit continued its community-based mission to enhance public enjoyment of Rhode Island’s environment. For example, the Attorney General obtained an additional $714,000 for air pollution control projects in R.I., bringing the total award from a particular Clean Air Act suit against out-of-state polluters to nearly $2,000,000. Indeed, this year saw a portion of that two million dollar award come to fruition in the form of the actual installation a solar panel array on the RIPTA bus garage in Providence.

The Environmental Advocacy Unit’s mission is to enhance public enjoyment of Rhode Island’s environment.

In a joint effort by Attorney General Kilmartin and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) the Unit released a new training guide to assist law enforcement in making dog rescues involving illegally-trafficked animals and to prevent animal cruelty.

Although located in the Civil Division, the Unit intersects with the Criminal Division. Building on Attorney General Kilmartin’s promise to create an Environmental Crimes Task Force, the Unit brought together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to facilitate the successful prosecution of environmental crimes. Members of the task force include the State Police, the Police Chief’s Association, the DEM (including the Division of Enforcement, the Bureau of Natural Resources, and the Office of Compliance & Inspection), the CRMC Enforcement Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and EPA’s Criminal Investigative Division.

In 2013, the Attorney General Kilmartin maintained his suit seeking to enforce the public’s rights to enjoy a nearly two-mile section of the Misquamicut beach-front. The suit seeks to enjoin specific beach-front lot-owners from interfering with the public’s right to use this dry sand area, alleging that this strand was dedicated by a recorded 1909 subdivision plan.

The Attorney General also continued efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in a series of federal cases, one of which comes before the United States Supreme Court in February, 2014.

The Unit also brought litigation to enforce R.I.’s environmental laws upon referral by DEM. Following up on the success in securing a court order for the removal of an illegal marina on the Kickemuit River in 2012, the Office of Attorney General Kilmartin, through the Unit, assists the Derelict and Abandoned Vessel and Obstruction Removal Commission in clearing waterways of debris.