On June 11, 2014 “history began to repeat itself.” On that date a meeting was held between members of the Concerned Citizens of Bradford and Charlestown and the Toxic Action Center, an environmental activist group based in Boston.
What history is being repeated? In 2005, the Toxic Action Center, R.I. Public Interest Research Group, and Sierra Club successfully filed a lawsuit against Bradford Dyeing Association for air and water pollution. In that case, as in the Copar case, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management was not effectively responding to complaints about Bradford Dyeing Association’s air and water pollution, thus forcing the neighbors of Bradford Dyeing Association to take action.
R.I. Public Interest Research Group’s Matthew Auten worded it this way: “State and federal environmental regulators had given Bradford Dyeing Association a free pass for years.” In my opinion, the lawsuit won by Copar and Westerly Granite against the Town of Westerly gives Copar the same kind of “free pass” to pollute. Only thing different about Copar’s “free pass” is it allows for the strip-mining and crushing of granite in the middle of a wetland surrounded by hundreds of homes.
More importantly, Copar’s “free pass” also allows it to “legally” emit what I believe is toxic dust.
Charles L. Marsh Sr.