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    Letter: Look closer at Sen. Whitehouse’s environmental record

    U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s fervent stance on “environmental” issues is why he was appointed chairman of the Senate’s clean air and nuclear safety subcommittee. But Sen. Whitehouse’s perceived reputation as an “environmental champion” is questionable. Just look at R.I.’s Department of Environmental Management’s cover-ups of clean-air and nuclear-safety violations.

    Clean air: In 2010, a granite strip-mine started operating in the middle of a pristine wetland ignoring a required “wetlands permit” without penalty. Also, the “wetland” strip-mine emits tons of “toxic silica dust” from its rock-crushers and waste. The deadly “crystalline silica dust” pollutes the air and coats residential homes, forcing children to breathe the equivalent of “asbestos dust” 24/7. The R.I. Department of Environmental Management minimizes this deadly lung toxin by calling it “fugitive dust”.

    Nuclear safety: In 1966, United Nuclear opened a U-235 nuclear waste recovery plant in Wood River Junction. This plant polluted the 300-square-mile Pawcatuck aquifer with radioactive wastewater until it was closed in 1983. See United States Geological Survey online report, pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp1571.

    Based on facts, it is obvious that Senator Whitehouse’s own state’s environmental protection record is disgraceful. Now can anyone believe that Senator Whitehouse is an “environmental champion” when the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management covers up the annihilation of its own environment?

    Charles L. Marsh Sr.

    Westerly



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