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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM'S STEPHEN G. MORIN HONORED BY JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
PROVIDENCE - Stephen G. Morin, the Department of Environmental Management's Environmental Response Administrator, was recently honored by the U. S. Justice Department at the Justice Department's annual Environment and Natural Resources Division Awards Ceremony in Washington.
Morin's recognition came from his role, on behalf of DEM, as being "instrumental in obtaining a settlement valued at over $20 million for restoration and recovery of natural resource injuries occurring in connection with the North Cape oil spill."
In January of 1996, the tug Scandia and the barge North Cape grounded on Moonstone Beach in Southern Rhode Island, resulting in the state's largest oil spill- 828,000 gallons of home heating oil. The spill killed roughly nine million lobsters, more than 400 loons, and 1,600 other marine birds, as well as more than a million pounds of clams, oysters, amphipods and other species. The spill dramatically affected the lobster industry and reduced the productivity of the area's piping plover population.
The settlement, crafted collaboratively by a number of state and federal agencies, was announced by Governor Almond and federal officials in December 1999. Under the settlement, the owner, operator and insurer of the vessel North Cape will restock 1.24 million lobsters; provide funding to build predator exclusion cages to protect piping plover; acquire land to maintain loon and eider duck productivity; acquire land adjacent to coastal salt ponds to prevent ecological impacts from future land development; undertake anadromous fish restorations; transplant shellfish, such as quahogs, from a portion of the Providence River to shellfish sanctuaries in Narragansett Bay; provide oversight of the lobster restocking effort and provide for a comprehensive lobster monitoring program, tagging more than 10 percent of the re-stocked lobsters.
The yearly awards ceremony recognizes Justice Department division employees and state and local government officials who assist in Department of Justice cases. Morin, a resident of North Kingstown, was among 400 individuals honored at the ceremony.