Will Our State Representative Support the Green Budget?

Green Newton is pleased to be an endorser of the Fiscal Year 2017 Green Budget, produced by the Environmental League of Massachusetts. Right now our State Representatives are waiting to hear whether funding for environmental programs is important to you. The Massachusetts House of Representatives is in the midst of making funding decisions for state programs.  Our State Reps can make a difference by prioritizing one of our Green Budget recommendations in his/her requests to House Leadership.  Our funding recommendations focus on state programs that are essential to fostering healthy communities, great parks, and clean, abundant water.

Will you call State Reps Ruth Balser at 617-722-2396 and Kay Khan at 617-722-2011 to ask them to “support the Environmental League’s Green Budget funding recommendations, and urge them to select a Green Budget line-item (see below) to include in their budget requests to House Leadership.  Thank you!

We encourage you to place the call by Friday, February 12.

A healthy environment contributes to communities in many ways — it supports public health, offers places to recreate and rejuvenate, and attracts new residents and businesses. We envision a Commonwealth that: ● is a place where residents breathe clean air every day of the year. ● supports sustainable farming in every region of the state, offering residents access to locally grown food. ● is resilient to the impacts of climate change such as heat waves, flooding, and severe storms. ● ensures that each community enjoys a fair share of environmental benefits and no community bears a disproportionate share of environmental burdens. ● will meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirement of 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

For several years the state operating budget has allocated just 0.6 percent for environmental agencies — less than a penny of every budget dollar.  Below are descriptions of line-items that are key to achieving environmental protections.

Climate Change Adaptation & Preparedness (Line-Item 2000-0101) FY17 Governor’s budget: $300,0002 FY17 Green Budget recommended funding level: $360,000 FY16 funding: $300,000 The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is responsible for ensuring the Commonwealth is prepared to respond to climate change impacts and improve our resiliency. Funding will support municipal assistance, improved data collection and analysis of vulnerabilities, and integrated planning to protect our transportation, energy and water infrastructure and public health. The investment we recommend will support interagency communication and coordination and the creation of a climate preparedness plan. Department of Environmental Protection

Environmental Compliance (Line-Item 2200-0100) FY17 Governor’s budget: $25,054,000 FY17 Green Budget recommended funding level: $35,425,000 FY16 funding: $29,520,600 The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has a broad set of responsibilities for public health and safety, including ensuring clean air and water, managing toxics, reducing solid waste, preserving wetlands, developing energy efficiency projects, and preparing for climate change impacts. In recent years, substantial budget cuts and 30% staff reductions present obstacles to leading statewide planning, issuing permits in a timely fashion, providing technical assistance, monitoring water quality, and conducting inspections and enforcement.

Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup (Line-Item 2260-8870) FY17 Governor’s budget: $12,330,000 FY17 Green Budget recommended funding level: $17,292,000 FY16 funding: $14,409,900 The Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup ensures immediate and effective response to environmental emergencies, such as oil spills, as well as timely assessment and cleanup of sites that have been contaminated by hazardous waste. The Bureau’s responsibilities include coordinating the MassDEP Emergency Response Unit,

DCR Watershed Management (Line-Item 2800-0101) FY17 Governor’s budget: $930,000 FY17 Green Budget recommended funding level: $1,344,000 FY16 funding: $1,120,000 This program manages and protects the drinking water supply for approximately 2.5 million residents of Massachusetts. The division’s mission is to “protect, conserve and enhance the resources of the Commonwealth and to assure the availability of pure water for future generations.” Staff also is responsible for ensuring access to lakes, ponds and rivers that are healthy and free of invasive species. This office provides scientific information, policy guidance, technical assistance, and resource management.