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7/7/2021 Bill extending airport air quality monitoring program becomes law
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly has passed and the governor has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that extends the air quality monitoring program at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

The new law (2021-H 5922A, 2021-S 0607A) extends the required air quality monitoring program at the airport for two years to July 31, 2023. The act would also provide the sunset provision for the air quality monitoring program would be dependent upon the Airport Corporation undertaking certain specific actions regarding the collection and reporting of air quality data from monitors set up around the airport.

“This law was first passed in order to monitor the air quality around the airport,” said Representative McNamara, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. “The citizens of Warwick have a right to know how air quality is being affected by jet engines taking off and landing at the airport. Two years ago we changed the location of air monitoring sites, specifically near the Winslow Park playing fields, where hundreds of children gather regularly for various sports leagues.”

In addition to the quarterly reports, the law will require the Airport Corporation to compile at least 20 months of complete air quality monitoring data from these monitors and submit that data to the Department of Health.

“The original playing fields were moved by the Airport Corporation to make room for the new runway extension,” said Senator McCaffrey. “Since jet engines can have a particularly adverse effect on young children, it was imperative that we test the quality of the air at the park that runs adjacent to the runway. I look forward to sharing the conclusions and recommendations of the Department of Health with the people of Warwick.”

The law calls for long-term air monitoring at four sites located near Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport to determine the impact of air pollutants, which may be harmful to public health on the densely populated, primarily residential area of the city of Warwick that surrounds the airport.

The Airport Corporation began monitoring for pollutants in early 2008 using procedures and specifications outlined in a work plan developed in consultation with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Health.

This law also requires the corporation, the Department of Health, and the city of Warwick to publish technical reports and scientific publications that resulted from this health study on their respective websites and to maintain them for at least five years.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903