...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders
CRMC enforcement supervisor to receive AG’s Justice Award
October 17, 2017, PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC)’s Enforcement Supervisor Laura Miguel will receive the Attorney General’s Justice Award on October 18, 2017. She is one of eight Rhode Islanders who will receive the award, which is given out annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to justice.
Miguel has been employed by the Council since 1992. She first served as an environmental biologist, then as a member and supervisor of the two-person enforcement team, where she has worked to enforce the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program for the coastal region of the State of Rhode Island.
“Laura has served the CRMC admirably for more than 20 years, and has always been responsive to violators, applicants and concerned citizens, and respectful of all of the parties involved in each enforcement situation she has had to resolve,” said Grover Fugate, executive director of the CRMC.
She and the other enforcement officer (the CRMC has two to cover all of Rhode Island’s coastal zone) handle 150 to 200 complaints each year, with an average of 100 of those going from complaint, through the enforcement process, to resolution (through fine hearings, restoration, fines, or other legal action). Miguel addresses everything regarding enforcement of the program, from minor infractions (a homeowner mowed their buffer, unaware of the regulations) to major violations (like significant land development without CRMC review, impeding public access, or acts that pose immediate threat to the environment). In any given year, the enforcement team visits all of the state’s coastal communities for reports of complaint, with the exception of one or two.
“I always try to use honey instead of vinegar,” she says of the process of dealing with violators and their agents. “The goal is always compliance, not just punishment.”
“Being an enforcement officer for the CRMC involves skills of negotiation, patience, fairness, a firm and complete grasp of the Rhode Island coastal program’s regulations, and a fearless ambition to enforce them to their fullest extent,” Fugate said. “Laura has made it her vigilant duty to see that the state’s coast is protected, and the CRMC has only benefited from her expertise. She has always sought fairness in addressing violations of the RICRMP, both on behalf of the State and that of the offender. She is a credit to the Council.”
The Attorney General’s Justice Awards were established in 2004. The eight awards are named after Rhode Island’s former Attorneys General. Miguel was nominated and won the honor in the category of Environmental Protection. The reception will be held at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the Office of the Attorney General.