A message from NepRWA Advocacy Director, Kerry Snyder. August 1, 2022–
As the formal legislative session has come to a close, I want to thank all of our members, friends, and supporters for their advocacy this session. You all have come through on each and every one of our action alerts! With your help, we were able to get increased funding for environmental line items:
- (2200-0100) MassDEP Admin: $45.4M ($5M increase!)
- (2810-0100) DCR State Parks: $85,021,706 ($10M increase!)
- (2000-0101) EEA Climate: $5,425,000 (more than double!)
- (2000-0102) EEA EJ: $1,333,014 (this is a new line item, which used to be combined with EEA Climate!)
- (2300-0101) DER: $4.3M ($1M increase!)
A very special thank you goes out to Senator Mike Rush who secured a $250,000 budget earmark that will allow DCR to conduct a feasibility study to extend the Neponset River Greenway Trail to the Blue Hills and the Warner Trail. Thank you, also, to our legislative delegation who made the increased environmental funding and the earmark possible.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure passage of S.530/H.898 An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought management.
While we had the support of our legislative delegation (including cosponsors Senator Walter Timilty and Representatives Tackey Chan, Bill Galvin, Paul McMurtry, and Ted Philips) AND while we are experiencing drought in 100% of the Commonwealth, the Senate Ways & Means Committee failed to release the bill for a vote on the floor of the Senate.
Climate-Driven Drought is Here to Stay
Our region began experiencing drought in May of this year. We are now in “severe” drought, and there is no reason to think it will end soon. Climate change is happening now and means that we will continue to experience more frequent and more severe drought in the years to come (even as we also experience more frequent severe storms).
We as a state are ill-equipped to manage water supplies—supplies used for drinking water, agriculture, recreation, and wildlife—with the patchwork water restrictions we leave to municipalities to individually develop and enforce. S.530/H.898 would implement the state’s 2019 Drought Management Plan and give EEA the authority to enforce common-sense nonessential outdoor watering restrictions regionally, making them far more effective than what we have now. It’s an essential first step to conserving our finite water resources.
Despite this disappointment, we’ve had many wins this year and we could not do this work without you. You consistently come through for the Neponset River Watershed and its invaluable resources, and for that we sincerely thank you! We will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the Neponset River is restored, protected, and made accessible for the enjoyment of everyone.
Questions? Contact Advocacy Director, Kerry Snyder, at firstname.lastname@example.org