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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM'S OFFICE OF AIR RESOURCES HONORED BY EPA FOR ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENVIRONMENT
3 Warwick Residents, One Providence Resident Participate in Awards Ceremony
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management's Office of Air Resources was recently presented with an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts and commitment to reducing nitrogen oxide emissions in the Northeast.
Warwick resident Stephen Majkut, chief of the Office of Air Resources, accepted the award on behalf of the Department. Also participating in the awards ceremony were DEM Air Resources staff members Douglas McVay and Karen Slattery, both of Warwick, and Barbara Morin of Providence.
Given out since 1970, EPA's Environmental Merit awards are presented to individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the environment. This year's competition drew nearly 100 applications.
DEM, along with the air resources offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut, voluntarily submitted regulations to EPA to reduce air pollution resulting from the interstate transport of nitrogen oxides, a precursor of ozone smog. High ozone concentrations can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, headache and fatigue. Rhode Island submitted these regulations despite a court ruling that said states did not yet have to meet these federal requirements. Regulations from these three New England states, which were the only states in the country to make such submissions, will result in nitrogen oxide reductions of more than 5,500 tons each ozone season beginning in 2003.
It is DEM's practice to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to the greatest extent practical. The Department, through its actions and policies, has been sending a clear and consistent message to the general public and the regulated community that emissions of nitrogen oxide will be reduced and minimized to the maximum extent practical from existing, new, and modified sources. The Department recently assisted in the implementation of a new motor vehicle inspection/ maintenance program aimed at improving air quality, and intervened in an EPA suit to enforce federal permit requirements at certain power plants in other regions of the country.