About the Air Resources Program

Our Mission

To learn more about the Office’s role in reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change, take an interactive tour via our StoryMap Collection:


StoryMap Collection

DEM's Office of Air Resources (OAR) is responsible for the preservation, protection, and improvement of air quality in Rhode Island. This is accomplished, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by regulating the emission of air pollutants from stationary and mobile emission sources.

The purpose of the Air Resources program is to carry out the policy of the State as declared in Rhode Island General Law § 23-23-2, that is:

“…to preserve, protect, and improve the air resources of the state to promote the public health, welfare, and safety, to prevent injury or detriment to human, plant, and animal life, physical property, and other resources, and to foster the comfort and convenience of the state's inhabitants.”

The major activities of the Office of Air Resources include the following:

  • Inspect regulated sources of air pollution to ensure they comply with state and federal air pollution control regulations.
  • Evaluate applications for new and modified sources of air pollution.
  • Implement an operating permit program in order to provide a mechanism by which all of the requirements applicable to major air pollution sources are clearly identified in a single document.
  • Identify sources of air toxics emissions that may have public health impacts and require those sources to reduce impacts to acceptable levels.
  • Assure the State's motor vehicle inspection/maintenance program identifies high-emitting vehicles and requires them to be repaired.
  • Develop and carry out the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to ensure the attainment and maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • Support and direct the Department of Health Air Pollution Laboratory's operation of the statewide air quality monitoring network.
  • Predict air quality for the following day and alert the public of elevated ozone and particulate matter concentrations.
  • Inventory air pollutant emissions by collecting data from approximately 600 stationary sources in the state.
  • Implement and oversee Rhode Island's role in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
  • Compile the annual Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory to assess the state's progress towards the emissions reduction mandates outlined in the 2021 Act on Climate.
  • Work cooperatively and coordinate with other state agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Office of Energy Resources, the Division of Motor Vehicle, and the Division of Statewide Planning, to address air quality issues.