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Rhode Island fights back against illegal dumping in highway construction

Kaicie Boeglin

News Editor


Feb. 2nd Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that the Rhode Island Superior Court ruled in favor of the state's ongoing criminal case against Barletta Heavy Division. Barletta is a Massachusetts-based construction firm that is charged with legally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated waste during the construction of Route 6/10. 


Superior Court Justice Maureen B. Keough ruled in favor of Rhode Island, rejecting Barletta's motion to dismiss. The State may proceed in the prosecution of its case. Barletta had filed their motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 9.1 of Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, alleging “the State lacked sufficient probable cause when it charged the case by way of criminal information.” An email from the attorney general’s office also stated the charges were first issued back on Jan. 18, 2023. The  Massachusetts-based construction firm and former employee Dennis Ferreira were charged with illegally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated fill at project sites in Providence during the construction of the Route 6/10 Interchange. Officially Barletta is facing two counts of illegal disposal of solid waste, one count of operating a solid waste management facility without a license and one count of providing a false document to a public official. The  firm was to oversee the ongoing $247 million highway construction project that began in 2018.

 


Image via golocalprov.com

Ferreira (age 62) of Holliston, Massachusetts is a former senior employee of Barletta, who is separately facing two counts of illegal disposal of solid waste, one count of operating a solid waste management facility without a license, and one count of providing a false document to a public official. “As alleged in the Information, Mr. Ferreira and Barletta used the 6/10 site as an environmental dumping ground, and not only for Rhode Island waste. Worse yet, they made Rhode Island a dumping ground for Massachusetts waste,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Their actions come at the expense of Rhode Islander’s public health and their environment. Rhode Island’s environmental and public health laws exist for a reason. To keep Rhode Islanders safe, and to preserve our environment. We will continue to aggressively enforce those laws. Because Rhode Islanders deserve nothing less.”


Prior to the State’s case against Barletta and Ferreira, on Dec. 14, 2022, Ferreira pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of making a false statement in connection with a federally funded highway project. U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha announced in June 2023 that Dennis Ferreira was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. Barletta then agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million to the federal government. This trial and verdict took place right after Rhode Island brought their criminal case against Barletta. 

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