Governor's office says landfill opponents exhibit "a pattern of unsubstantiated allegations"

Ryan Crowley, constituent liaison for Gov. Lincoln Chafee, responded "directly on his behalf" by e-mail this afternoon to my letter about the behavior of opponents of Portsmouth's Island Park landfill capping project — printed this week in the Newport Daily News, Sakonnet Times, Portsmouth Patch, and RI Future.

Regarding the public behavior of the protesters, Crowley responded that DEM was not present during the event at the landfill, but, "at a public meeting earlier that year, individuals from the Department felt the conduct of the opponents was threatening enough that Portsmouth Police were called in at their request."

And on the matter of the complaints the group keeps lobbing at DEM, Crowley said, "you quite accurately note that there is clearly a pattern [of] unsubstantiated allegations. According to DEM the latest allegation involved a claim that soil was highly contaminated with lead coming from a school in Fall River to the project. When DEM researched the complaint, the City Official quoted denied making any such statement about lead in soil. Both third party sampling and the DEM's own confirmation sampling showed there were no exceedences of lead in any of the soils. DEM says this is an illustrative example of the unsubstantiated complaints received over the course of this project."

Editorial note: A big thank you to Gov. Chafee. It makes me feel better that the torch and pitchfork crowd aren't the only people who get his attention. Thank you, sir.