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Providence Journal Co. v. Shea

Citation: 2 ELR 20500
No. No. 1529-App., 292 A.2d 856/110 R.I. 342, (R.I., 07/11/1972)

State statute construed to require director of Rhode Island Department of Health, as state official charged with the prevention and control of water pollution in the state, to make public the records of the department's water pollution investigations. Such records are to be made public even though the investigation does not culminate in a hearing. Moreover, the public is entitled to know the number of uninvestigated complaints on file and the dates on which they were received. However, the identity of alleged polluters is not a matter of public record until a complaint has been investigated. Then, the record of the investigation becomes public, whether or not the complaint is found to be meritorious and even though corrective measures are still being explored.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward F. Hindle
John H. Blish
Edwards & Angell
15 Westminster St.
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Counsel for Defendant
Richard J. Israel Attorney General
W. Slater Allen Assistant Atty. General
Office of the Attorney General
Providence, Rhode Island 02903