Rep. Terri Cortvriend has been honored by Clean Water Action as an “Environmental Champion” for her work protecting Rhode Islanders and the state’s water from toxic PFAS chemicals. The award was presented Friday at the organization’s 21st annual “Breakfast of Champions.”
“I am honored to be recognized by Clean Water Action, and very proud to be their partner in the effort to protect and preserve one of the most precious resources on our earth: the water. We have made significant progress over the last half-century in cleaning up the pollution of the past and prohibiting any further degradation here in the Ocean State. But we still have a long way to go in recognizing and preventing pollution from some of the contaminants that we haven’t known about as long. I am grateful for the strong support and assistance that Clean Water Action provides for the work of protecting our water, and look forward to working with them to help protect against PFAS chemicals in Rhode Island,” said Representative Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown).
In 2022, Representative Cortvriend’s years-long effort resulted in two new laws concerning PFAS – a family of manmade chemicals known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances. She was the sponsor of the law that will prohibit PFAS in food packaging made or sold in Rhode Island beginning next year, and cosponsored legislation requiring the Department of Health to establish maximum contaminate levels of PFAS in drinking water.
PFAS, which are commonly used in everything from food packaging to frying pan coatings to firefighting foam, have been found to cause detrimental health impacts including decreased fertility, developmental delays in children and cancer.
Representative Cortvriend has been a leader in efforts to mitigate climate change and pollution, address public shoreline access and move toward renewable energy. She was a cosponsor of the Act on Climate, and in 2020, she and Rep. Lauren Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) launched the Aquidneck Island Climate Caucus, a community group to give voice to the importance of mitigating and adapting for the earth’s changing climate.
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.
Clean Water Action’s annual “Breakfast of Champions” took place Friday, May 12, at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick. Also awarded at the breakfast were Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), 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.