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DEM Names Agency Attorney Susan Forcier as New Chief of Environmental Protection Bureau

PROVIDENCE, RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Terry Gray announced today that he has named Susan Forcier, Esq., as the agency's Deputy Director of Environmental Protection (EP). As head of the EP Bureau, Forcier will lead an enterprise consisting of seven separate divisions, 170 employees, and a budget of around $35 million a year. The bureau enforces clean air and water compliance, regulates solid and hazardous waste, oversees the closure of active and inactive landfills, is the on-switch to transforming contaminated industrial sites through the brownfields program, investigates complaints and suspected violations of environmental laws and regulations, runs a hazmat unit that responds to more than 500 emergencies a year across the state, and helps expedite environmental permitting processes for thousands of individuals, companies, and local governments annually.

"This role is an important part of our leadership structure at DEM and I am looking forward to working with Susan in it," said Director Gray, who served as the EP Deputy Director before becoming the agency's director in 2021. "Along with being passionate about protecting Rhode Island's environment and natural resources, Susan has in-depth knowledge of EP programs and good ideas about advancing our mission and improving our business processes. She has been the lead attorney on many critical environmental permitting and enforcement cases in her career."

A native of Rhode Island, Forcier joined DEM in 2006 rising through the ranks of the legal unit until becoming Deputy Chief Legal Counsel in 2016. She earned a masters in marine affairs degree from the University of Rhode Island and a law degree from Roger Williams University through their joint degree program in 2005. She majored in marine biology at URI, graduating in 2002.

"I'm excited to take on a policy and leadership role in the agency to which I've dedicated my career and shift my focus from the courtroom to DEM's larger mission," Forcier said. "We have many high-level priorities and challenges. These include meeting the mandates of the Act on Climate law, completing a statewide investigation of sources of PFAS contamination, and setting standards for PFAS in ground and surface waters, to name just a few. But having worked closely with my colleagues in the EP Bureau over the past 16 years, I know we have the people power to achieve these objectives and protect and restore Rhode Island's environment."

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online: http://www.dem.ri.gov/
  • Release date: 11-10-2022

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