Portsmouth Sen. Ottiano seeks to give locals veto on landfill capping

Today's GoLocalProv has a story about the nearly one hundred abandoned landfill sites in Rhode Island, and if Portsmouth's Sen. Chris Ottiano (R-11) has has way, capping them could get a lot harder.

On Feb 13, 2012, Sen. Ottiano appeared before the Portsmouth Town Council and promised to introduce (with Sen. DaPonte of East Providence) legislation on landfills which would provide "More gates for the Town Council or municipality or our constituents to have some say and be able to potentially slow or temporarily stop the process if they see the need." (See 89:40 here)

Here's the problem: What constitutes "need" -- at least in the case of a landfill in the town of Portsmouth -- is a group (whose spokesperson is a RISC board member) which has, over the past year, ignored the science, distorted facts on a petition, refused to trust test results or the DEM, and used political pressure to try to halt a project to cap an unquestionably contaminated site. These are the voices that Sen. Ottiano's torch-and-pitchfork bill would empower.

What follows is a letter I sent to Gov. Chafee, DEM Director Janet Coit, and Sen. Ottiano last week, which appeared in yesterday's Newport Daily News:

(The following post is appended)

Crossposted from RI Future.


As a physician, I would expect Sen. Ottiano to give some credence to what are called "facts." I sure he does so in his office practice. In his role of as an elected official he does give credence to facts sometimes, and is not always a knee-jerk right winger. On this occasion, however, he is dead wrong, and frankly I am disappointed. I expected more from an "M.D."