School Siting Law

The Environmental Justice League worked with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and other stakeholders for over 3 years to pass “Environmental Cleanup Objectives for Schools” (aka the “School Siting Bill”) sponsored by Senator Juan Pichardo and Representative Scott Slater, both of whom represent the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood where Alvarez High School was built on the former site of the Gorham Silver Manufacturing Company.

The School Siting Bill was signed into law by Governor Chaffee on June 6, 2012.  Below are some photos from our press event celebrating this important environmental justice victory for our state!

2013 Update

The School Siting Law faced a huge challenge in the form of a bill proposed by the RI Mayoral Academies, a charter school industry group, who wanted to build a charter school on a former factory site in Pawtucket that may have vapor intrusion risks.  RIMA’s proposal would have effectively overturned the protective School Siting Law currently on the books.  The EJ League is proud to say we successfully defended the law this year and look forward to continuing to work to protect the health of all Rhode Islanders in the future!

Read the updated 2013 law here.

Learn more about RIMA’s proposal we were fighting here:

2013 School Siting Factsheet FRONT
2013 School Siting Factsheet BACK

Lois Gibbs, renowned toxics activist made famous through her family’s struggle at Love Canal in New York State — site of a chemical waste dump where her home and children’s school were located — joined the EJ League on May 22, 2013 for a press conference to protect the school siting law.  Check out a video of the press conference here:




Lois Gibbs Speaks at the Statehouse

(c) Kris Craig, The Providence Journal

Listen to this podcast about the school siting issue – recorded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) featuring Amelia Rose, EJ League Director, and Phil Brown, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences and Director, Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University.


Check out more information about RI’s school siting law plus Connecticut’s statewide EJ law featured on the New England EJ Forum’s Wiki page.


Read the School Siting Fact Sheet about the law passed in 2012 that was updated in 2013.


Read this article in EcoRI about the bill.


Group Picture

Stakeholders who helped make the School Siting Law a reality: including the Environmental Justice League, Urban Pond Procession, Clean Water Action, RI Department of Environmental Management, and the two bill sponsors, Sen. Juan Pichardo and Rep. Scott Slater.

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