Sen Kallman Honored as "Environmental Champion"

Sen. Meghan Kallman, center, receives the “2023 Environmental Champion” award from Jed Thorp of Clean Water Action, left, and event emcee Bob Walsh, right.


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Meghan Kallman 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.”

“Organizations like Clean Water Action are at the forefront of creating a just, sustainable world for all of us,” said Senator Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, Providence). “From protecting our kids from dangerous chemicals to building good public transit to combating climate change, we’re all in this together and I’m grateful for the work Clean Water Action does every day. It’s truly an honor to be recognized.”

Senator Kallman has been a strong proponent of public transportation which, aside from benefits to traffic, pot holes and community vibrancy, also has a big impact on air quality and pollution. Last year, she championed a pilot program to make RIPTA’s R-Line (the state’s busiest route) free for all riders. This year, she’s sponsoring legislation (2023-S 0234) that would expand that program statewide.

She has also been a strong advocate of Rhode Island’s Transit Forward 2040 master plan, which sets out steps to build a modern, efficient public transportation system throughout the state by 2040. To help the state achieve these goals, Senator Kallman is sponsoring a bill (2023-S 0800) that would establish a transit-oriented development program, which would help build housing around “regional transit hubs” like Kennedy Plaza and Wickford Junction as well as “frequent transit” stops where buses would run every fifteen minutes. Such development will help with housing costs while reducing traffic and promoting businesses.

Senator Kallman has also worked to remove toxins from food and water, especially the family of manmade chemicals known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). PFAS, which are commonly used in everything from food packaging to frying pan coatings to firefighter foam, have been found to cause detrimental health impacts including decreased fertility, developmental delays in children and cancer. Senator Kallman co-sponsored legislation (2022-S 2044A) last year to ban these substances in food packaging. This year, she’s sponsoring a bill (2023-S 0196) that would ban all intentionally added PFAS by December 31, 2032.

“Senator Kallman has distinguished herself as one of the leading pro-environment voices in the Senate,” said Jed Thorp, Rhode Island state director of Clean Water Action, who presented the award. “Securing a clean environment and sustainable Rhode Island means tackling big problems together, and we can always count on her leadership. We’re grateful for all she does for our community.” 

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.

The annual “Breakfast of Champions” took place Friday, May 12, at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick. Also awarded at the breakfast were Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown); Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett); Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol); RI AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Pat Crowley; Providence Journal reporter Alex Kuffner; and Shea High School senior and activist Zachary Pinto.