Janet Coit, Director
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
DEM Director Janet L. Coit has worked in the environmental field for more than 25 years.
As Director of DEM since 2011, Director Coit has focused on efforts to promote local agriculture and seafood, provide opportunities to connect families and tourists to nature, and improve customer service and business processes to support environmental and economic interests. This year, she was awarded an honorary degree from Roger Williams Law School. Also, she was recently inducted into the American College on Environmental Lawyers and received the Environmental Business Council Paul G. Keough Environmental-Energy Award for Government Service. She received the "Mary Brennan Tourism Award" from the Rhode Island Hospitality Association for her role in attracting and executing the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover event in 2015; the event was the most successful North American stopover in the race's history, drawing more than 130,000 fans and contributing some $47 million to the local economy.
In 2015, Director Coit was honored with Sail Newport's President's Award and the Leadership Award from Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association. She was also recognized as one of Rhode Island's most powerful women by Rhode Island Monthly in 2014 and received the prestigious "John H. Chafee Conservation Leadership Award" from the Environment Council of Rhode Island. Earlier honors include being named "Boater of the Year" by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association in 2013 and receiving the Salomon Award from the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.
Prior to the Department of Environmental Management, Coit worked for 10 years as the state director for The Nature Conservancy, one of the world's leading environmental nonprofits; in this role, she oversaw some of Rhode Island's largest land conservation projects. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, she was counsel and environmental coordinator in the Providence office of the late Senator John Chafee and, subsequently, then-Senator Lincoln Chafee. She moved to Rhode Island in 1997, making a transition from her position as counsel to the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, where she worked on national environmental policy.
Director Coit has been a champion for the environment throughout her decades of environmental and legal service, including stints at the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, and working for three U.S. Senators from New England. Clean water, clean air and our natural areas provide for an environment that supports Rhode Island's economic future, and Director Coit is dedicated to preserving the quality of our environment and protecting the natural systems critical to the health, safety and well-being of Rhode Islanders as she leads the Department.
A magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Coit holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Environmental Law Society and a member of the Environmental Law Journal. She enjoys spending time outdoors, learning about nature and from people, and exploring Rhode Island's waterways, historic sites, and wild places. She is married with two children and lives in the East Bay area.