DEM reports increase in enforcement actions

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. (DEM)

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says enforcement actions increased over the previous year, but they were lower compared to 2015 and 2014.

The Providence Journal reports the department had 67 formal enforcement actions in 2017.

The department reported 76 in 2015 and 90 in 2014.

The DEM attributes the decrease to companies and the general public becoming more aware of environmental issues. It says it has issued 39 violation notices so far this year.

The report comes amid concerns that the agency is enforcing fewer violations due to budget cuts.

While the environmental group Save The Bay applauded the release of the report, it says it lacks context to show whether the department is understaffed.

The DEM has previously withheld documents from the group, saying they are privileged.

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