Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threatening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide. However, Rhode Island's waterways are ranked second cleanest in the nation by total volume of discharged toxics.
The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster delivered a reminder to the world that nuclear power comes with inherent risks. Among the risks demonstrated by the Fukushima crisis is the threat of water contamination, including contamination of drinking water supplies by radioactive material. In the United States, 49 million Americans receive their drinking water from surface sources located within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant—inside the boundary the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to assess risk to food and water supplies.
Environment Rhode Island's new report, “Gobbling Less Gas for Thanksgiving: How Clean Car Standards Will Cut Oil Use and Save Americans Money,” uses regional Thanksgiving travel projections released by AAA to estimate how much less oil would be used—and how much money would be saved at the gas pump—if the average car taking those trips in Rhode Island this Thanksgiving met the 54.5 miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard the Obama administration is proposing for new cars and light trucks by model year 2025.
Pollution from power plants and vehicles puts the health of our nation’s children and families at risk. Ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, is one of the most harmful and one of the most pervasive air pollutants. There are millions of people living in metropolitan areas around the country, including in Rhode Island, exposed to multiple days each summer when the air is unhealthy to breathe. This report ranks metropolitan areas for their unhealthy air days in 2010 and 2011.