PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch is urging state legislators to pass a bill that would require air quality testing in Warwick's T.F. Green Airport.
The bill was being considered in the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources today and will force the Rhode Island Airport Corporation to install a permanent air quality monitoring system at T.F. Green.
Lynch asked the RIAC in February why it had not done this earlier, and the corporation replied that state law is too vague on the matter.
"We have an opportunity during this legislative session to provide clarity to the state law and eliminate excuses for future non-compliance by ensuring accountability, enforceability, and oversight of this much needed system at T.F. Green," Lynch said.
Last Month, Lynch wrote the RIAC, asking it to install a temporary system within 45 days and have a permanent system in place by Sept. 8.
The bill requires the RIAC to have permanent monitors in place by Oct. 30 and to justify the location, type and number of monitors it uses.
"Considering the fact that RIAC had two and a half years to come into compliance with the existing state law, the deadlines set in the proposed bill are not only attainable, but more than fair," Lynch said.
"We cannot ignore the public health concerns caused by air pollution at T.F. Green. Air quality at T.F. Green must be monitored, and RIAC must comply with the law."
Lynch wrote to Rep. Peter Ginaitt, a member of the committee, claiming a vote against the bill would be one that projects tolerance for RIAC's "decision not to comply with state law" and a "disservice to the people of Warwick."
Studies of the air quality at the airport have shown the presence of several toxins. However, a study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency showed in 2006 that the levels of pollutants there were no worse than in the state's suburban areas.
However, a report in the Providence Journal said the study showed there were spikes of black carbon downwind from the airport.