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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462


For Release:

August 7, 2000 / REVISED

Media Contact:

Bob Ballou 222-4700 ext. 4420
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

DEM DENIES REQUEST TO BERTH NEW FERRY AT STATE PIER IN GALILEE DUE TO IMPACTS ON COMMERCIAL FISHING OPERATIONS

PROVIDENCE -- The Department of Environmental Management has denied the request by Island High Speed Ferry, LLC (IHSF) to operate a 122-foot ferry out of State Pier #3 in the Port of Galilee in Narragansett. The decision emanates from an extensive public review process, including two well-attended public workshops.

DEM's decision, issued today, is based solely on the proposal's unacceptably adverse impact on the Port's commercial fishing industry, whose interests are paramount due to the terms governing the State's ownership and management of the Port. The proposed ferry was found to be too large for the berth in question. As such, it would have displaced commercial fishing vessels, impeded navigation, and exacerbated congestion in an already congested part of the Port.

Notwithstanding DEM's decision, the Department credited IHSF for its efforts to mitigate concerns by offering a range of options; noted that its decision has no bearing on the issue of competition between ferry companies; and maintained its willingness to continue supporting IHSF's original proposal, made in 1997, which involved a smaller (93 foot) vessel and far less disruption of commercial fishing operations in the Port.


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