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Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee Announces Janet L. Coit as Choice to Lead Department of Environmental Management

Providence, R.I.—Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee announced today that Janet L. Coit, the Rhode Island State Director for the Nature Conservancy, is his choice to lead the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

“Rhode Island is a tremendously beautiful state, and it is a common goal of all Rhode Islanders to preserve and protect our natural assets,” Chafee said. “Janet, with more than 20 years of experience working on environmental issues, is fully qualified to lead that effort. She understands, as I do, that smart, sound economic growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. We must ensure that economic growth and environmental preservation to go hand-in-hand. We can get Rhode Island working again while also protecting our greatest resource: our state’s natural beauty. I have full faith that Janet is the right choice for this significant post.”

“I want to thank Governor-elect Chafee for giving me the opportunity to lead this important organization,” Coit said. “As Director, I look forward to recognizing and rewarding the good work being done by the many talented, engaged professionals at DEM who have proven to be committed environmental stewards.” “Governor-elect Chafee’s historic election demonstrated that the people of our state want leaders who will bring people together, and in that regard I’ll follow the Governor-elect’s example as DEM Director,” Coit continued. “I want to engage Rhode Islanders of all stripes to work toward the common cause of protecting and preserving our environment while strengthening our economy and creating jobs. This is a goal we can all support, and I want to echo Governor-elect Chafee’s belief that environmental stewardship and economic growth are not at odds with one another.”

Janet L. Coit has worked with the Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s leading environmental nonprofits, since 2001, and currently serves as the organization’s Rhode Island State Director. Prior to joining the Nature Conservancy, she was Counsel and Environmental Coordinator in the Providence office of the late Senator John Chafee and, subsequently, then-Senator Lincoln Chafee. Coit has over two decades of environmental and legal experience, having served as: a staffer and, later, Counsel (under Chairman John Chafee) for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Legal Clerk for the Department of the Interior; Legal Intern for the Natural Resources Defense Council; Law Clerk for Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, San Francisco; Law Clerk for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department; and a Legislative Assistant, with a focus on environmental, natural resources, and energy issues, for U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire. Coit is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Environmental Law Society and a member of the Environmental Law Journal. She is married with two children and lives in Barrington.

Since its creation in 1977, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has served as the state’s primary regulatory agency and as its major environmental agency for natural resources management. DEM issues over 30 different permits and manages over 65,000 acres of parks, forests, wildlife management areas, boat ramps, fishing access areas, and state beaches. DEM is committed to preserving and protecting the quality of Rhode Island's water, land and air, and maintaining the health and safety of its residents. Together with many partners, DEM offers assistance to individuals, business and municipalities, and enforces laws created to protect the environment. The agency currently employs 392 full-time employees, and its enacted budget for fiscal 2011 is $93.1 M.

Governor-elect Lincoln D. Chafee will be the first independent Governor in Rhode Island history. His winning campaign focused on a new way forward for Rhode Island, one based on honesty, integrity, and independence. Chafee has pledged to utilize the state’s existing assets to maximize economic growth and job creation, to address the state’s fiscal instability through an honest budget process, and to root out the cronyism and corruption that have long run rampant in Rhode Island and are harmful to economic growth. Chafee previously served four years on the Warwick City Council, nearly four two-year terms as Mayor of Warwick, and seven years as US Senator. Most recently, he spent two years as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies, and wrote Against the Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President.

Contact: Mike Trainor Office: 401-222-4029 Cell: 401-252-1097

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