NepRWA’s core mission is to protect the water, wildlife and land of the Neponset River Watershed. To carry out this mission, we not only work with individual communities to educate about ways to each of us can ensure clean water and prevent wasteful water use, but we also advocate for changes in public policy.
Policy change leads to broad behavior change. Policies are guidelines or rules that affect how programs are carried out, or how each of us behaves in certain situations. For example, if we educate about the harms of secondhand smoke, we hope that individuals will change their smoking behavior. But when the law prohibits smoking in certain places, we immediately see widespread reduction of secondhand smoke exposure.
Policy change can mean a change to a statute, regulation or private rule, and can also be accomplished through litigation (getting a court to formally interpret the application of existing law).
NepRWA Policy Advocacy in Action
Recently, we’ve been pursuing state and federal policy change to ensure comprehensive protection of our water resources. In addition to joining partner organizations in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerning the agency’s unlawful delay in implementing the 2016 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit, we have been actively engaging state officials to encourage them to support changes to the law, including:
- Petitioning the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to increase fairness in water use by imposing reasonable conservation measures on registered water users under the Water Management Act;
- Providing feedback to MassDEP on their evaluation of water quality on the Neponset;
- Opposing a proposal to significantly change the administration of pollution control permits;
- Advocating for more comprehensive drought management; and
- Urging legislators to prioritize adequate funding of key environmental agencies charged with administering and enforcing environmental laws.
Through our outreach and education efforts, scientific evaluation of water quality and other indicators of watershed health, and advocacy of evidence-based policies at the federal, state and local levels, we are aggressively pursuing our goal to improve our community and achieve a clean and accessible Neponset River watershed.
The proposals to change pollution control permit administration (H.277) and improve the state’s ability to comprehensively manage drought (S.425/H.2115) are still being considered by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
To add your voice, you may contact members of the committee directly to ask them to report unfavorably H.277 and report favorably S.425/H.2115. While we are well ahead of the budget negotiations, you may contact your state legislators to urge them to prioritize funding for environmental agencies when they make their budget requests to the committees on Ways & Means.
Questions? Contact Advocacy Director, Kerry Snyder, at email@example.com
- Are you actively involved in your community’s events?
- Are you the first person to know what’s brewing in your neighborhood?
- Do you know what’s going to be in the Public Notice sections of the local paper before it’s printed?
If so, we’d like to recruit you to be a volunteer community liaison!
Local action is critical to safeguard the environment. A core NepRWA priority is to maintain and grow our partnerships with communities and advocate for local and state action that will benefit the Neponset River and its surrounding lands and communities, and the people who enjoy them.
Our watershed is a big place—it covers approximately 130 square miles of land. It’s sometimes challenging to stay ahead of all of the activities happening in our 14 communities, which include even more diverse neighborhoods. So we’re hoping to recruit some of our dedicated readers, members, and/or volunteers to support our advocacy efforts.
We’re seeking at least two people from each of our communities to regularly let our Advocacy Director know of relevant public hearings, community meetings, development proposals and emerging local issues impacting the watershed.
The perspective of local residents on local proposals is crucial to our advocacy efforts. You bring all of your historical knowledge of town policies, the evolution of various uses of property in town, and have your ear to the ground on the direction in which your neighborhoods are moving. We’d like to harness that insight to inform our advocacy work.
If interested, please contact NepRWA Advocacy Director, Kerry Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org