The end of July brought with it great news from Beacon Hill: The state House and Senate approved a significant funding increase for three priority environmental line items. Moreover, these funding levels were signed into law by the Governor!
Our state environmental agencies have taken huge hits in funding over the last decade—losing about 30% of their pre-recession staff. For the first time since the recession, the FY2019 budget begins to restore some of that funding in a meaningful way, which is great for people who want to have clean air, clean water, and properly maintained parks.
A huge thank you goes to the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, a statewide nonprofit that was extraordinarily effective in organizing this year’s lobbying for restored environmental funding. The Alliance carries out statewide rivers policy and lobbying work that is a critical complement to NepRWA’s local-on-the-ground work. Learn more about the Rivers Alliance and how you can support rivers statewide at www.MassRiversAlliance.org.
If you’re interested in joining our advocacy team, please contact Kerry Snyder and consider joining us for an Advocacy 101 training.
Tuesday, September 18th, 10 am – 1 pm
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Headquarters
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough
(A $10 registration fee covers lunch provided during the workshop.)
Additionally, the House and Senate agreed to authorize borrowing to fund certain environmental programs through the Environmental Bond Bill. While the bill doesn’t provide direct funding for these programs, it does authorize state agencies to issue bonds to support critical programs over the next several years. This year, the bond bill includes earmarks for funding of projects that support the watershed in Boston (Mattapan), Canton, Milton, Norwood, Walpole, and Quincy. The House and Senate have approved the bond bill, and it now awaits the Governor’s review and approval.
How you can help ensure continued support for environmental programs.
There are several things you can do to help ensure state support for the programs and projects that you care about and the eventual full restoration of environmental budgets to pre-recession levels.
First, we need to make sure that those watershed legislators who have come through and supported watershed issues know that we appreciate their efforts. Please call or write the following legislators to thank them for their leadership in supporting these environmental priorities. These include:
- Senator Walter Timilty, Walter.Timilty@masenate.gov or 617-722-1643 (A special thank you to Senator Timilty for being the lead sponsor of one of our key budget amendments in the senate);
- Senator Nick Collins, Nick.Collins@masenate.gov or 617-722-1150
- Senator Paul Feeney, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-722-1222
- Senator Mike Rush, Mike.Rush@masenate.gov or 617-722-1348
- Representative William Galvin, William.Galvin@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2692
- Representative Louis Kafka, Louis.Kafka@mahouse.gov 617-722-2960
- Representative Paul McMurtry, Paul.McMurtry@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2582
- Representative John Rogers, John.Rogers@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2092
A brief call or a short note thanking them for their support of environmental issues in the Neponset River Watershed is all it takes! Please make sure to include your name and address so they know you are a constituent, and mention you are a member/supporter of NepRWA.
Second, consider joining our State House team! Team members serve as liaisons between NepRWA and their local legislators, attend all river lobby days and help organize an annual meeting with their state representative and/or senator.
If you’re interested in joining our advocacy team, please contact me and consider joining us for an Advocacy 101 training on Tuesday, September 18th, 10 am – 1 pm at MassDFW Wildlife Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough. (A $10 registration fee covers lunch provided during the workshop.)
-Kerry Snyder, Advocacy Director, August 2018