Attorney General Neronha, DEM Director Gray issue statements following successful defense of state law in Johnson’s Pond lawsuit

Published on Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Terrence Gray today issued the following statements following the Federal District Court decision in Soscia Holdings, LLC v. Terrence Gray, et al.:

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to grant our motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Soscia Holdings, the owner of the Flat River Reservoir Dam which controls the water levels of Johnson’s Pond,” said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. “The Court’s decision affirmatively upheld the constitutionality of R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-19.1-1, commonly called the Dam Permitting Act, and affirmed the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s authority to regulate it. Now, DEM can continue its important work enforcing this law, designed to ensure the safety of our state’s dams and the protection of our environment and wildlife. Johnson’s Pond is an important ecological resource, and we are committed to protecting it.” 

“DEM is grateful for the Attorney General’s work in securing this decision, which will empower our agency to fulfill its regulatory roles in dam permitting and environmental protection,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “We look forward to implementing the Dam Permitting Act and requiring that all the owners and operators of dams having a storage capacity greater than one thousand and four hundred storage acres of feet to obtain DEM permits to raise or lower the water levels behind the dam.”