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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Rep. McEntee named ‘Environmental Champion’

Cited for her work fighting plastic pollution

Jed Thorpe, RI Director for Clean Water Action, left,
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, center, and Bob Walsh, right, at the
2023 Clean Water Action Breakfast of Champions.
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, was honored by Clean Water Action as an “Environmental Champion” for her work promoting environmental protection and sustainability. 

The award was presented Friday at the organization’s 21st annual “Breakfast of Champions.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by Clean Water Action, a group that has worked so hard and done so much to protect our state and its precious environment.  They have been terrific partners in the past when we passed the Plastic Waste Reduction Act last year and I am grateful to have them back on our side this session to pass and enact Rhode Island’s bottle bill, which will keep Rhode Island clean from damaging plastic pollution that is hurting every aspect of our ecosystem,” said Chairwoman McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

Chairwoman McEntee was honored for introducing legislation (2023-H 5502) that would establish a deposit system for recycling bottles and beverage containers.  

The bill will increase recycling rates, reduce litter, fight plastic pollution in our waterways, and incentivize the beverage industry to implement a more sustainable model with bottles and containers that are easier to recycle or even reuse.

She was also the lead sponsor last session of the Plastic Waste Reduction Act (2022-H 7065A), which reduces the use of plastic checkout bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.

The annual “Breakfast of Champions” took place Friday, May 12 at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick. 

Also awarded at the breakfast:

  • Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown); 
  • Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol); 
  • Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, Providence); 
  • RI AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Pat Crowley; 
  • Providence Journal reporter Alex Kuffner; and 
  • Shea High School senior and activist Zachary Pinto.

Clean Water Action is a national organization founded in 1972 during the campaign for the Clean Water Act. In Rhode Island, the group works to build a clean water and clean energy future through outreach, education, organizing, advocacy and policy action at the state and national levels.